Sunday, February 29, 2004 7:05 AM bart

Mobistar launches SmartPhone (and I have one :-))

About two weeks ago (on my birthday :-)), Mobistar has released the SPV (Sound-Photo-Video) E200 SmartPhone on the Belgian market. Last week, I acquired this device and it's working pretty well. A first review for all of you who're interested in this device.

Technical specs:

  • Running Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003
  • Integrated camera (640x480 pixels, 4x zoom)
  • 32 MB of RAM; SD slot available for extension of storage
  • Screen of 176x200 pixels with high resolution (65K colors)
  • USB, Bluetooth and infra-red ports
  • Tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • GPRS-enabled (class 8)

First impressions:

It's great to see the Windows Mobile operating system running om those little devices. The software available on the device can be compared with the software on Pocket PC devices but since the device has less RAM and a limited form factor, it's not possible to run apps such as Pocket Word and Excel. Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger are out there on the SmartPhone OS which is a great thing (e.g. with the hands-free set and an SD-card you can take your music with you). ActiveSync makes the synchronisation of contacts, calendar, mails, etc really simple to do (in comparison with classic mobile phones). The GPRS connection works fine, so if you want to check mail when you're on the road or you want to look for something on the net, just go ahead and connect (of course it's still rather slow). MSN Messenger is also useful in my opinion but unfortunately it has not all the options of the desktop edition (note: I installed MS Portrait on my Qtek 1010 phone a few weeks ago which is really worth to check out if you have such a device, it can be used as a light-weight Netmeeting tool for low bandwidths).

I'm new to MMS in fact, so it took a bit time for me to find out how this thing works but it's relatively simple to kick off with. The integrated camera for pictures and video has a nice quality and is useful as an alternative for digital cameras if you don't want to carry a bunch of devices with you. Thanks to a button on the left side of the phone, you can make photos or videos without having to navigate through the menu. The synchronisation of the images to the pc is fairly easy as well using the ActiveSync software (included with the device and available as a free download on-line) with the file explorer that connects to the device (note: a USB-cradle is included with the phone).

Advantages:

  • Light-weight device and relatively small (really pocket-sized device)
  • Great resolution on the screen, great colors
  • Good sound
  • Customizable device with a lot of multimedia features
  • It's running the Windows Mobile 2003 operating system which works fine
  • Synchronisation with the desktop pc using ActiveSync
  • A lot of advantages of the Windows Mobile 2003 OS are in there
  • Communication over bluetooth and infrared did not cause any problems
  • GPRS connection can be handy and thanks to tools such as Internet Explorer, mail, MSN Messenger you can get the power of such a connection
  • Development using Visual Studio .NET 2003 works relatively well (although the .NET Compact Framework for SmartPhone has some limitations due to the limited amount of RAM)

Disadvantages:

  • Limited form factor in comparison with Pocket PC Phone Edition devices
  • 32 MB RAM is limited (don't try to play music when you're using ActiveSync for example); although for 'normal use' this is enough
  • Input using the numeric buttons (the "SMS-way of working")
  • Navigation with the scroll-button can be annoying sometimes (not 100% flexible button but it has improved a bit already)
  • Rather low battery life if you're using the device intensively
  • Startup time is rather long (> 30 secs)
  • Some of the software (such as the camera software) is not written by Microsoft which has some disadvantages in the field of integration (e.g. beam a photo from the 'Multimedia Album' via infrared is not possible)
  • The control of the sound volume is not completely clear: the sound icon in the 'system tray' displays the status of the phone sound but other apps are still producing sound (such as Windows Media Player or games); this sound volume can be adjusted using the buttons on the left side (I have to admit that everything has become clear right now)
  • Pure Mobistar-device currently (but that's the same with Proximus Qtek for example)

In my opinion, this is a great device in comparison with earlier releases of SmartPhones on the market (thanks to the new Windows Mobile 2003 OS). I like it!

Alternatives:

If you want to have a device with the format of a classic mobile phone but with the advantages of Windows powered pocket devices, this device is what you're looking for. But if you don't want to do a lot of input when you're on the road and don't like the SMS-way of working to input text using the numeric keys, a phone such as the Qtek will be a better choice since it's a Pocket PC with phone support (and not a phone with Pocket PC advantages as the SmartPhone). The input with the stylus is easier if you like the "PDA style" and Pocket PC Phone Edition devices have all of the advantages of Pocket PCs. Being a developer experimenting with a lot of technologies and mobile devices right now, I have tested both devices (Qtek 1010 and SPV E200). The SmartPhone has limitations for the development due to the limited form factor and the reduced amount of RAM (e.g. no support for datagrids). I didn't play around with Qtek 2020 (http://www.pdashop.nl/product/2739) already which was released recently by Proximus, so I can't compare Qtek 1010 with Qtek 2020 right now.

Link to Mobistar: http://www.mobistar.be/nl/discover/index.html (look for the SPV link)

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Comments

# re: Mobistar launches SmartPhone (and I have one :-))

Thursday, July 01, 2004 3:05 PM by bart

for Italian fans i've find one, the best site with all arguments is http:www.pda-phones.net they have also some links where to buy the other Qtek, 8080 that is smaller, is not big like a pda but is like a normal phone, the same windows ce but smaller

# re: Mobistar launches SmartPhone (and I have one :-))

Thursday, July 01, 2004 3:06 PM by bart

for me it's ok here i've founded more instruction in italian

# re: Mobistar launches SmartPhone (and I have one :-))

Thursday, July 01, 2004 3:07 PM by bart

excuse me for the error i made, i repost the link here
http://www.pda-phones.net