Casio G’zOne Ravine Review
The Casio G’zOne Ravine doesn’t really bring anything new to the table in terms of the included software, but we did notice using the software is faster than the previous models. The Main Menu is typical for a Verizon phone with categories for media center, contacts, messaging, recent calls, and settings & tools. There are also four themes included (white, wireframe, trek, and clash), as well as being able to display them in a tab, list, and grid view, where you can even replace and move menu items around on the grid. The external clock on the front display can also be inverted between black and white lettering.
You can store up to 1000 contacts with their name, multiple phone numbers, IM screen name, physical street address, ringtone and picture, as well as adding them to one of 999 speed-dial locations. There is also a separate PTT list where you can add up to 500 PTT names and numbers.
One thing we’re glad to see on the Ravine is the inclusion of the G’zGear program, which is also included on the Rock. It is located in the Tools menu, but can also be accessed directly by holding-down the CLR key. The Earth Compass shows a red line designating North and your current direction and degree heading (0-360), while World Nature tells you what Earth features are in your direction, such as the North Pole or Mt Everest. Walking Counter tracks your steps on a daily basis and shows them on a graph, including miles walked. Tides shows the current tide levels for cities around the US coast line and Current View displays an animated graphic of what the tide level would look like. Going into Sunrise/Sunset shows how many hours there are until the event, and even a day/night chart. Lunar Phase, as the name implies, shows the current phase of the moon (from full to new-moon), and Cosmic View displays the current location of the sun, moon, and earth in relationship to each other. The Star Gazer is similar to the Google Sky Map program, as it shows which stars and constellations are in your area based on your GPS location and direction. All of these features are nice as each one has a useful function for the outdoorsman.
The Casio G’zOne Ravine does come with an HTML browser, though we found it to be quite limited. When going to large sites, such as PhoneArena.com, it breaks the site up into smaller pages called Optimized View, which to us is not true HTML. You can choose to turn the Optimized View off, however in doing so most large sites will not fully load and it becomes difficult to navigate. Because of these browser limitations, we can only see using it on occasion; not on a daily basis.
The included 3.2MP fixed-focus camera on the Ravine does a better job than the Rock’s 2MP camera, but it does lack the autofocus that is found on the Brigade. Images that were taken outside using the Ravine produced adequate detail, but color accuracy is a bit off, as is the white balance. Bright areas also have a tendency of being overexposed, but the purple fringing that we saw with previous models appears to be gone. For capturing pictures indoors, image quality is reasonable as long as there is plenty of light, but in low-light conditions it is difficult to capture and the single LED flash doesn’t help much. Video recording is limited to 320x240 resolution at 15fps, so this is really only good enough for playing back on the phone, not on a large PC monitor. We were also able to playback an MP4 fila at 320x240 pixels on the Ravine.
Included memory on the device is 235MB, of which 197MB is available to the user. You can also install a microSD memory card up to 32GB to provide plenty of room for storing music and pictures.
Most other features remain the same that we’ve seen from other Verizon devices, such as the appointment calendar, text/picture/video messaging, MP3 music playback, VCast video streaming, and VZ Navigator for GPS guided driving directions. Other messaging options include Mobile Email, which will allow you to send and receive email through your standard POP or IMAP accounts, and Mobile IM for connecting to people in your AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo! buddy lists. Also included on the Casio Ravine is a new program called Social Beat that allows you to connect to your accounts for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google Talk, and GMail, as well as RSS. We tried it with Facebook and were able to view our feed, wall, inbox, and friend’s list. You can also post your current status and even upload a mobile photo.
The Casio G’zOne Ravine uses the Verizon EVDO Rev A. network for PTT connectivity. This allows the connection time between the devices to only be about 1 second or less, with voices also taking about 1 second to transmit. Using the PTT on the Ravine works quite well, as the orange PTT button is easy to find, and the stereo speakers on the bottom edge produce loud and clear voices. We also like the fact that it can be used with the phone open or closed.