Saturday, February 07, 2009

Benq E72 Smartphone: An exercise in downsizing...

My Toshiba Portege G910 gadget phone died last week. Its still in warranty and will be fixed, but its demise caused me to reconsider what it is I need in a phone. As I've said before, I used to have an i-Mate Jamin which I loved. Its primary failing was the lack of a keypad which made text entry on public transport near to impossible. So when, after two and a bit years of loyal service, it expired, I replaced it with the Toshiba which did all the stuff that the i-Mate did but also had 'mobile internet', GPS and a full QWERTY keyboard.

But. The Toshiba was a brick and not very user friendly in practice. It also crashed quite frequently and couldn't play videos. GPS was good (and very handy when driving through Germany last September). And although the keyboard is fantastic (best keyboard on a PDA that I've ever used) it is still quite clumsy for use on the go as it requires two-handed operation...

So. I've decided to downsize. The things I'm looking for in a phone are the abilities to:
  • make and receive calls, preferably in a user-friendly manner
  • send and receive texts and photo messages
  • sync contacts and appointments with MS Outlook
  • wi-fi for checking e-mail and basic web browsing (generally checking to see if trains are running late in the morning)
  • playback videos (nice, but not essential)
  • play music (similarly)
Also the ability to view MS Word documents and other e-mail attachments would be nice, but is not essential.

Things I don't really need in a phone:
  • GPS. If I ever need this (rarely) I can dig out my Portege (when its fixed).
  • Touch screen. I know this is the way things are going, but I found the touchscreen actually slowed down the process of doing most things on my previous phones. Give me buttons and well designed menus anytime.
  • Mobile internet. I rarely used this. GPRS and wi-fi were fine on the i-Mate.
So. I thought a 'Windows Mobile Standard' smartphone might be more suited to my needs than a 'Windows Mobile Pro' PDA phone. Its cheaper too.

So I got a Benq E72 phone from Expansys for £99 (actually £89 as I had a voucher; I have another if anyone is interested). SIM free, so my old Vodafone PAYG sim could go in.

Initial experince is great. It does all I want it to, is tiny compared to my previous PDA phones (actually smaller than any of my previous just-phones) and plays videos fine (with freeware divx player; I never liked the pre-installed windows media player). I'll let you know how I get on...

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At 7:36 pm, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...

June 2009.

Four months on and I'm still loving this phone. Downsizing was a great move. ;o)


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