By February 12, 2009

Mobinnova ICE review

Once again Matt comes up with a device that I have never heard and I get the obligatory ‘Want to have a play?’.

This time the phone in question is really obscure, as it is the 1st venture for Mobinnova that I have come across.

Looking at the spec and the User guide (I’ll explain later) this device certainly packs a punch and should be a real winner, it is nice to see a company ‘have a go’ and try something a little different, but will it turn out to be a flop or a success?


The Mobinnova ICE


As I have already mentioned I have never come across Mobinnova before, so a little background, the company is based in Taiwan, they are reported to be Sony Ericssons new partner in developing and producing the new speculated Xperia 2, ousting HTC.

They do offer other models such as the PP5400 Full QWERTY slider which is kind of G1 looking, the PP5401 and PP3400 fixed QWERY blackberry style phones. The ICE is trumpeted as the flagship as let’s take a look…

What’s in the box? (This is covered in Matt’s Mobinnova ICE unboxing video.)

  • Mobinnova ICE
  • Stereo headset with miniUSB connection
  • USB to MiniUSB sync/charge cable
  • AC adaptor with European connector
  • Leather case with magnetic closer and belt hook
  • User Guide and Getting started CD

Mobinnova ICE Specification:

  • Dimensions: 114 x 53.5 x 13mm
  • Weight: 120g with battery
  • Networks: Tri Band WCDMA/HSPA
  • Europe/Asia/Americas – WCDMA/HSPA 900/1900/2100MHzHSDPA providing downlink *speeds of up to 7.2Mbps
  • HSUPA providing uplink speeds of up to 2Mbps
  • Quad band GSM / GPRS / EDGE GSM850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • Display: 3” WQVGA flat TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen
  • Secondary display: 128 x 96 OLED panel
  • User Interface:  mobiToday, mobiFeel and mobiShift controls
  • Camera: 3 megapixel autofocus camera with dedicated shutter control. 2nd camera for video calling
  • Memory: 256MB ROM / 128MB RAM. microSD expansion slot with SDCH support
  • Wireless: WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • Radio: Built in FM Radio with RDS/RBDS function
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR / A2DP for use with Bluetooth stereo headsets
  • mini USB 2.0 plus TV-Out CVBS + L/R audio
  • Navigation: Built in GPS/AGPS
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM7201ATM (528MHz)
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows Mobile® 6.1 professional
  • Battery: 1080mAh rechargeable Lithium-Polymer battery
  • Talk: Up to 6 hours
  • Standby: Up to 160 hours

Looking around the device

On the top of the ICE there is the power button and a mute button which switches the device from ring mode to vibrate mode.

Mobinnova ICE top view

Mobinnova ICE top view


On the left hand side is the miniUSB and not a lot else. Slightly in the wrong place again as with quite a few of the recent devices I have reviewed, not conducive to being able to hold easily when plugged in.

Mobinnova ICE left side

Mobinnova ICE left side


On the right there is the volume up/down rocker, unusual for it to be on the right and not seen before to my knowledge, there is also a customisable camera button and below that a MicroSD slot.

Mobinnova ICE right side

Mobinnova ICE right side


There is nothing on the bottom, apart from a tiny microphone hole.

The back on the device holds the 3 megapixel autofocus camera with dedicated shutter control, there is no flash or portrait mirror. Also you can find the rear speaker. As Matt mentioned there is also the back, slide off, cover which hides the completely useless reset button, why put this under the cover?

Mobinnova ICE back view

Mobinnova ICE back view


The front of the device is home to a whole host of goodies from the earpiece and VGA camera, down to the 3” WQVGA flat TFT-LCD touch-sensitive screen, and also a second screen which I will cover in the review. Aside this secondary screen is the send/ end keys which are the only buttons to protrude through the flat shiny surface.

Mobinnova ICE front view

Mobinnova ICE front view


My first impression of the ICE are similar to that of Matt’s in that it is very Omnia looking and not unlike a certain apple phone either. It is long and slim, comparing it to the Omnia, which is 112x57x13mm, it is very slightly longer (2mm) with the same width and depth. It certainly dwarfs my Diamond which is a full centimetre shorter.

It is very sleek and smooth, for me a little too smooth and slippery. It is very pocketable and as you would expect a real shiny fingerprint magnet. That said it is responsive and positive in all aspects, such touching the screen and pressing the buttons.

I have to apologise here as I am not sure if this is a prototype or an import but all the instructions and user guides appear to be in Spanish! And there is no UK plug adaptor for the AC charger. Fortunately I managed to download the correct manual from their website. (Yes, I am that guy who reads the manuals!)


  • Very responsive
  • Sharp clear screen
  • Innovative UI


  • Useless reset button
  • Poor stylus
  • No accelerometer
  • For me, the secondary navigation screen
  • On screen text size



Again as I mentioned in the Introduction, it is nice to see a company trying something different. With regard to the software this unit is Windows Mobile 6.1 professional and therefore familiar to most. The difference that I can see from normal are – World time which allows 5 or so, separate world time zones to be set and these can then be dragged to the today screen to suit. Weather World also allows 5 or so cities to be set for weather updates, unfortunately for the life of me I could not get this to function, OK for London and Taipei, but not my home town.

For some reason that I was unable to solve the ability to ‘add city’, the icon was greyed out and that was that.


A ‘Control Centre’ which houses a shortcut to settings. An FM radio. Mobifriends, this is a contact application which can be added to the ‘Today’ screen, I liked this and it is a novel twist on the normal contact apps, you can easily add favourite contacts and on selecting this contact, Mobifriends opens with the options to email, text, MMS, IM or video call.


MobiGPS downloads GPS information in the same way as QuickGPS and is customisable as to what schedule you prefer. Mobitoday launches the ‘Today’ screen pictured above. On top of these it is pretty standard with the likes of Office Mobile etc.

As Matt commented on besides the normal interface there is also a smaller bar that sits underneath the standard screen taking up some of the screen space, these accommodate shortcuts to Telephone, Applications, Mutimedia, Settings and Today. All nice to have as an added extra, but at the loss of screen real estate.


One small quirk here is that when you rotate the screen to landscape, these icons don’t rotate but remain in their portrait orientation, looks weird.

Whilst on the subject of Landscape, there is an accelerometer, but for most applications that I tried, switching between portrait to landscape is done thorough the manual settings option, only, the exception to this is in camera and pictures mode which automatically turns to landscape. Third party applications that I would expect to rotate simply didn’t, I even tried to install some of the Auto rotate programs that are about to no avail. It does state ‘Marketing Demo’ on the box so maybe not quite the finished article and I am sure will soon be worked around. I could not find any reference on how to adjust, tweak or activate this in any of the software.

At this point another gripe, the stylus is rubbish! It is too small even when pulled out to the full telescopic length, it is still just over 3 inches long and very narrow.

The small separate screen underneath the main 3” screen has 2 main functions, navigation and information. The first if these is the Navigation, a 5 way navigation pad as with a normal D-pad. In information mode it alerts you of things, in the way of different icons, like the battery charge status and message receipt etc when in standby. This is not the best, it is dimly lit and not that responsive, I feel that a smaller phone overall and the omission of this would be preferable, sorry.


The rest of the everyday functions work well, the call quality is good even at low signal strength, GPS works as expected, there is no bundled software, but Google maps looks great and the Qualcomm MSM7201ATM (528MHz) handles everything thrown at it with easy as we have seen in quite a few devices lately, it is fast and reliable. The camera is OK, at 3 megapixels it’s not the highest of spec, but it is functional. Battery life I found to be above average for this type of device, not great, just above average, a full day of normal/heavy use will finish it off.

Another point I don’t like is the size of the text on the screen, probably due to the 240 x 400 WQVGA, but even set on the highest available, it does not look right, it’s OK and readable but I have definitely seem better and would prefer a larger option with my failing eyesight. Thankfully the vibrating feedback on most screen touches aids poor old souls like me.

The phone keypad is also a bit naff as seen and with the addition of the above mentioned toolbar underneath it does make the screen very busy.




Unfortunately there seems to be more moans and groans about this device than positives, I don’t mean this to be the case, the Mobinnova ICE is more than capable, I think that for me I have highlighted the negatives as the rest the phone is fairly unremarkable, I do applaud Mobinnova for trying to be different, and I look forward to their partnership with Sony Ericsson, and can’t wait to see what they come up with in the way of the proposed Xperia 2.

I am positive that a lot of people will like the device and be happy with the design, use and overall functionality. For me there is nothing to make the ICE really standout from the rest, it looks as though it will be priced with the other average devices available, so you pay your money and make your choice. My opinion…. nice try but could try harder!?


Review by: Steve

[ Post Tags: Mobinnova ICE, Smartphone, Windows Mobile, unboxing video, ]

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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