By October 23, 2008

Velocity Mobile 103 and 83 review

My introduction to Velocity mobile went along the lines of:

Matt… "Can you have a look at a Velocity from me?"

Steve… "What’s that?"

Matt… "a new windows mobile, of course!"

At this point you are probably in the same boat as me, never heard of them, so let’s have a look at the new kid on the block with a little background.


Velocity Mobile, in collaboration with Inventec Corporation of Taiwan, designs and engineers 2G and 3G mobile devices and data cards based on Qualcomm and Samsung platforms. Its expertise spans market analysis and evaluation, design, software, quality assurance, sales and marketing and after-market support.

Established in 1975, Inventec is one of the world’s top three Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) for notebook computers with over 25,000 employees and revenues of more than $8 billion in 2007.

LONDON – September 10, 2008 – Velocity Mobile, a nine month collaboration between one of the world’s largest notebook computer manufacturers and a team of veteran wireless designers and engineers, today announced the retail availability of its first touchscreen phone, the Velocity 103. Built on the belief that the simplest solution is the best solution, the Velocity Mobile 103 combines an easy-to-use Odyssey Interface, Velocity Over The Air updates (Vota) and a sleek and attractive design, to change the way people think about and use smartphones. The unlocked Velocity 103 is available for pre-order online now through Expansys for £334.99 and will ship by the end of September.

Matt unboxed the 103 and the 83 earlier this month but we’ve had to hold back on the video until we got the ok from Velocity.


Velocity Mobile 83 and 103 Unboxed


So lets start with the Velocity 103.


What’s in the Box?

The box itself is a smart design with a smoke effect semi transparent cover that allows the phone to be seen through the packaging from the off. In the box itself

  • The Velocity 103
  • A suede feel, soft touch pouch (which is very tight fitting)
  • Getting started disc and Quick user guide
  • USB to mini USB sync and charge lead
  • The annoying 2.5mm plug headset with inline controls
  • 2.5mm to TV lead

I am not sure that this is a standard production unit or a test unit, it seems finished, and so I do assume that this is as you will receive it as is in retail form.


Velocity 103 Specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Qualcomm Mobile Station modem tm MSM 7201 400 MHz chipset tm
  • GSM/EDGE 850, 900, 1800, 1900
  • UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA 850, 1900, 2100
  • 2.8” 640X480 VGA Touchscreen, 262K Colours
  • 256MB ROM, 128MBRAM
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR
  • WIFI 802.11b/g
  • GPS NMEA 0183 / AGPS Compatible
  • 2.0 Megapixel Camera fixed focus
  • 0.3 Megapixel front facing camera for videoconferencing
  • TV/VGA out
  • MicroSD expansion slot
  • 1410 mAh Battery
  • 113x58x15mm
  • 130g weight



On the top of the device is a nifty and useful power slider button, sliding it to the left locks the device and keys, slide back to the right unlocks, slide to the left and hold prompts a shut down pop up. A little unusual, but welcome adaptation of the power button, it is handy in that it unlocks simply without multiple screen presses etc.


Velocity 103 top view


The right hand side of the device is the annoying microSD slot, annoying in that it looks as though you can pop it open and hot swap your cards, however there is a small tab that tucks under the back cover, meaning that you have to remove the back cover to open the slot cover. Don’t try to prise the cover open like I did thinking it was just new and therefore tight! Below this is a non telescopic stylus which is on the small side and is very similar in size to my Diamond stylus.


Velocity 103 right side


The bottom of the unit holds the miniUSB connector slot, and a rather fiddly back cover lock, microphone and reset button, followed by the 2.5mm headphone and video out hole.


Velocity 103 bottom view


On the left is the camera button at the top, up and down volume buttons, and a ‘Velocity button’ this will be covered later, and is configurable.


Velocity 103 left side


The Back holds nothing but the camera lens with portrait mirror and speaker grill.


Velocity 103 back view


Around on the front of the phone is the now preferred 2.8” VGA screen which is 640×480, at the top of which is the earpiece with an LED indication light for battery and signal. Left of this is the front facing camera.


Velocity 103 front view


Underneath the screen is the more customary, minimal, button layout, holding just the Send and End buttons flanking a small clickable trackball.

The phone itself feels reasonably solid, I must admit that the buttons don’t feel like they inspire confidence in particular the side buttons along with the back case lock, could have been better made. When the back case is removed this also feel on the flimsy side. It is on the larger end of the mobile spectrum, being similar height and width to the Omnia and Asus P750, as well as being 15mm thick.



  • VOTA – Velocity over the air updates
  • VGA Screen
  • Clear call quality


  • Flimsy back case and buttons
  • Basic camera
  • Dull?


Velocity don’t seem to have messed around too much with the usual Windows mobile software, the additions of mention are:

VOTA – this enables a live check on the up-to-date software upgrades, data connection permitting. This operates quickly and with the on board speed available was easy to use, straight out of the box there was an update available which was downloaded and installed with no issues whatsoever. I couldn’t find an option to make the checks automatic or periodical which would have been an improvement.


The only really unique point on this phone is the Odyssey Interface, as described by the makers,

‘Our interface is designed with purpose, not just to look cool. Its designed to look and feel familiar, to have interactions that you are used to and provide features that meet specific or multiple needs all optimised to the form factor of the device.’


In reality it is a nice feature where you can have your favourite/ most used program or files at the swipe of the screen, I found that this was a little hit or miss, and the preferred method was to use the Velocity Button the side of the unit, which worked much better. Also the ability to call on this function while in any screen was helpful, and was easy to use and a handy edition.

As I mentioned previously I am not sure if this was a pre-retail unit but I did have issues with a few of my regular Third Party apps, such as being unable to load MyMobiler, SMS Chat took a few attempts to load and in the end havd to revert to a previous version to get a good response. Yet others like my favourite TouchPal etc worked fine… this of course, could be that this is not a final version unit, or could even result in more regular VOTA updates.

The call quality and signal strength where fine and better than some. The 1410 mAh with moderate use lasted around the day, day and a half Mark. The camera is exactly as you would expect for a 2 megapixel fixed focus unit, this is not a dedicated camera replacement by any means, and definitely not in the realms of the 5,8 10 megapixels options appearing all over the place.

There is as mentioned a TV out, the options available are NTSC, PAL, PAL-M and PAL-N and on top of this the leads are included.


For me the Velocity is slightly too big and slightly too dull, (this is a great way to describe this PDA, thanks Matt). It is nice to see a predominantly British company having a go and I have another device from the same people to do a mini follow up on, when I have the time to explore its features, but I think this unit is still work in progress, the Camera is a major disappointment in this day and age.

Most of the other points I have covered off in the Software and overview sections, additionally…

The trackball works well, unfortunately I am not a fan of the trackball in the first place very rarely used it.

The slider on the top of the unit is nice to have, being used to the Lock switch on my Asus, I have been used to having this available, and in my review more devices should include this.

The 400 MHz chipset works very well and is speedy and efficient, it is somewhat let down at times from the slightly unresponsive screen, which again works well in the main, but occasionally requires 2-3 taps.


This is a difficult one as it is not as expensive as the current run of ‘top end’ phones, available at the moment. The 103 is not perfect, but it is capable, the specs are not bad overall. The VGA screen is great and on the whole the unit is quick and efficient.

The downsides for me are the build, the camera and I am not convinced that this phone has a USP (Unique selling point) that makes it standout enough in a crowd to scream ‘Buy me’. Looks wise it, again will not make itself instantly recognisable, going for the minimalist option is fine but I still prefer my gadgets to have loads of options and buttons, personally.

There is the company alternative in the form of the Velocity 111, which unfortunately we haven’t had a chance to play with yet, but I think I might be more interested in that form that this one.

If you are looking for a ‘cheaper’ unit with VGA, good speed, good call quality and you are not that bothered about having the latest known device, than have a look at this phone and draw your own conclusion, for me the negatives far outweigh the positives, unfortunately.


Following on from the Velocity 103 review – a Mini Velocity Review

Along with the Velocity 103 I was also given a Velocity 83, which was only a test unit and therefore is not yet available for a full review, so here are a few notes. Even the box itself is empty apart from the basic charger.


Velocity 83 Specification:

  • Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
  • Samsung S3C2442B
  • 64 MB DDR SDRAM, 128 MB NAND Flash for OS & storage
  • 2.8’’ diagonal Display
  • 240×320 pixel TFT LCD 65K colors
  • Class 10 GSM/GPRS/EDGE on 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz bands
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g (Option)
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • USB 2.0 OTG High Speed 11pin mini USB
  • 2.5mm stereo audio jack
  • GPS – Sirf (GSC3FLP)
  • Camera – 2 Mpx fixed focus
  • Two MicroSD
  • Battery – 1130 mAh Li-ion
  • Dimensions – 112 x 59.5 x 12.1mm
  • Weight – 103 g with battery


Around the velocity 83:

I did like the feel of this phone it is just about the right size to hold with regard to width and thickness, and the back, covered later, made it a nice comfortable to hold and use. In that respect it was nice to see something different that works.

There is nothing to be found on the top, no nifty slider here.

The left side is the home to a small start button, two further buttons of up/down volume, followed by the ‘velocity button’ which is used to bring up the Odyssey Interface covered earlier or customisable. And the covered Mini USB slot.


Velocity 83 left side


Opposite on the right side, is found the Power on button, reset button and the dedicated camera button, all of which are on the small cheap side they are not nice to the touch but purely functional.


Velocity Mobile 83 right side


The back is interesting not for the fact that it only holds the meagre 2MP fixed focus camera, but because of the feel and texture, I would describe it as being similar to a golf ball dimple effect, which works well in both feel and grip, not to mention that it remains fingerprint free.


Velocity 83 back view


Underneath is just the stylus holder.


Velocity 83 bottom view


The main face of the unit holds the 240 x 320 QVGA 2.8” touchscreen. Below which is the D-pad (not dial), and the basic send and end buttons.


Velocity 83 front view


As you can tell this is designed once again to be minimal, smart design, for me it is minimal to the extreme, as I have spoken about before I prefer my devices with a few more buttons.



Unfortunately I was not able to carry out a full review on this unit as it was purely a test unit, maybe in the future people who get time with this unit could update us as to the retail differences. What I can remark on is that this phone comes as with the new interface mentioned above, there was no VOTA but I would assume it would be included on the final version.

I can say this device also surprised me for be remarkably fast, with good reactions and speed, maybe this was because it was not loaded with the usual paraphernalia included on finished versions. But it was impressive, perhaps that is as good a reason as any for not dumping loads of applications and tweaks on a phone and let the buyer customise?

Also most all of the Third Party apps that I tried to install failed and the included software was also minimal. I can say that the voice calls where absolutely fine as was the signal strength and overall functionality of the phone.

This unit is due to be released in Q4 of this year so time will tell what conclusions can be drawn once it is finished. I am interested to know where it will fit in the price bracket, as it hasn’t got the VGA or quite the same spec as its sister the 103, and therefore could be a neat option for an even ‘cheaper’ device with a reasonable spec.


Reviews by: Steve

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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