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GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

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Well, the interface of Windows Mobile is something that can give almost anyone proper nightmares, especially if you haven’t used it for a long time, meaning you´re still not get used to its peculiarities. Version 6.5 that has been released recently, improves on certain aspects and if anything, at least the home screen is finger- friendly now. Getting deeper into the interface, however, means you will face the much the same lists of tiny letters and unhandy controls. The difference to iPhone, Android and webOS is still enormous. All these younger operating systems are really easy to get used to in several minutes and even a young kid can handle them with ease. If, however, you kid manages to wrap his or her mind around Windows Mobile, you should take them to a school for gifted children.

The home screen of GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 without personalization - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The home screen of GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 without personalization - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

The home screen of GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 without personalization



That´s why the interface customization packs for Windows are not just advisable, but mandatory feature. It seems at GIGA-BYTE are well aware of the fact, although they seem to have taken a slightly unusual approach in the particular case of the GSmart S1200. Instead of coming up with a single customization pack like Samsung and HTC, they stake on variety and provide not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations to cover the true face of Windows Mobile 6.5 professional. So, what you have is:

-    Live Nature
-    Smart Zone
-    Meng-Landscape
-    Meng-People
-    Meng-Folk
-    Chinese Painting

GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

GIGA-BYTE stake on variety and provides not just one, but six Flash-based interface customizations



The latter four have been influenced by the Chinese culture and are really well drawn. You can see the Chinese motives not just in the wallpapers, but in the icons that resemble the small tiles used in Mahjong games. The Meng packs allow access to five home screens, one basic and four additional ones that you can switch between by sliding your finger up- and downwards or to your left or right. They host eight shortcuts each, leading to various functions. The wallpapers change depending on the particular time and some of them are pieces of fine art. The one that comes with Chinese Painting remains the same, but its backlight fades or intensifies depending on the time of the day. There are cranes flying around on the screen every now and then, which looks really cool. You have three more screens with shortcuts on them and one dedicated to widgets that we are going to discuss later.

The Chinese Painting interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Chinese Painting interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Chinese Painting interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Chinese Painting interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

The Chinese Painting interface



Live Nature changes its appearance depending on weather and time – sometimes clouds will appear, or you will see animated rain, shining sun etc. All this happens on the background of a lushly green meadow, birds and airplanes pop up every now and then and sometimes you get to see even cows and snails. As a whole, this is a really amusing interface. Sliding a finger upwards opens a menu of three tabs that features shortcuts to almost all functions. The widgets are in the opposite direction.

Live Nature changes its appearance depending on weather and time - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
Live Nature changes its appearance depending on weather and time - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
Live Nature changes its appearance depending on weather and time - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
Live Nature changes its appearance depending on weather and time - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

Live Nature changes its appearance depending on weather and time


The menus of Live Nature - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The menus of Live Nature - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The menus of Live Nature - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

The menus of Live Nature



And last, meet the most complex interface, the Smart Zone. It consists of one main screen that hosts a large clock, weather forecast pane and 8 additional sub-screens dedicated to various applications. To get to any of them, you must first open the home screen or enter a menu that shows all of them.

The Smart Zone interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Smart Zone interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Smart Zone interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Smart Zone interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Smart Zone interface - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

The Smart Zone interface



As a whole, we always appreciate variety and this is one of the aspects that we do like about the interface of the GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200. Unfortunately, many screens do not equate to superior functionality. As we have already emphasized on several occasions, the things you see most often are just shortcuts and not active applications. The difference to the HTC´s TouchFLO 3D interface is huge, where almost all things you need are placed on the tabs of the startup screen and you rarely need to leave it. In the case of the GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200, the home screen is just something that makes the navigation (finger friendly) to various functions (most of them not personalized) easier. Moreover, you just can´t figure out what´s on the next screen before you get there, so you will have to remember where the functions you need are, so as not to waste too much time searching around.

GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review


The widgets are just another painful revelation about the interface. Judging by their implementation, we are under the impression that the designer team at GIGA-BYTE has heard they are all the rage these days and whipped something up in a slap-dash manner. The widgets are, well, huge and the 3.1-inch screen of the GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 can host up to three without them getting overlapping (there are just 7 anyway). Actually, just the two clocks and the one dedicated to weather forecasts are active; the others are simply shortcuts.

The Widgets of GYGA-BYTE GSmart S1200  - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Widgets of GYGA-BYTE GSmart S1200  - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
The Widgets of GYGA-BYTE GSmart S1200  - GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review

The Widgets of GYGA-BYTE GSmart S1200



The list of shortcomings, however, doesn’t stop here. The GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 comes without accelerometer. “Well yeah…”, you will say, “but Windows allows me to switch the screen orientation manually”. This is true indeed, the thing is the shiny interface packs don’t exactly work in landscape mode, which leads to certain troubles with the keyboard that we are going to tell you about in the part dedicated to messaging.

GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review
GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 Review


Finally, there is no way we turn a blind eye to the sluggish operational speed of the phone. The transition effects stutter and this really ruins the overall impression, not to mention that menus take at least 2 seconds to open. The GIGA-BYTE GSmart S1200 is significantly snappier when running the standard Windows Mobile interface, which simply means the Flash packs have not been properly optimized. As a whole, the shiny and amusing interface will entertain you for some time, but once you´ve gotten used to it, all you will need is comfort of use. Ultimately, the interface lags far behind its rivals in terms of ease of use.

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posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. ELINORCLEMENTS29 (unregistered)


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GIGABYTE GSmart S1200

GIGABYTE GSmart S1200

OS: Windows Mobile Professional 6.5
view full specs
Display3.1 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (301 ppi) TFT
Camera3 megapixels
Hardware
Single core, 528 MHz
288 MB RAM
Size4.17 x 2.05 x 0.45 inches
(106 x 52 x 11.4 mm)
3.62 oz  (102 g)
Battery1010 mAh, 4 hours talk time

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