Eten Glofiish M700 Review

Introduction
Since we, in PhoneArena.com, believe that the Windows Mobile phones’ market should feature more competitors, the Taiwanese manufacturer Eten has long been of interest to us – despite the fact that the present leader HTC is doing well, even without external pressure. Eten’s potential could be seen as early as the time of their M600 and G500 models and has now been developed in their new ones. X500 marked the start of the Glofiish series and being the first, it incorporated the best sides of two of its ‘predecessors’ – WiFi and GPS. M700 looks like a logical continuation of M600 (and M600+), but also belongs to the Glofiish series. Just like the X500 it has a wireless LAN, navigation, and an FM radio. However, it is a little thicker in order to supply the consumer with a full hardware QWERTY keyboard, which slides sideways like the ones of HTC (Wizard, TyTn, etc.). Unfortunately Eten did not go so far as to include 3G support, and this is still their main drawback.

Typically for Eten, the phone set is plentiful, giving you everything you might need. It is packed in paper that one may call ‘luxury’, which simply makes a good impression. The only thing one needs to buy is a micro SD memory card with the desired capacity.

In the box:
It was a most pleasant surprise when we saw the leather case of M700; Eten obviously have learned their lesson from X500 – the new one is normal, attachable to a belt. You will no more feel the embarrassment of having nowhere to hang it and dropping it as a result. Not only is it attachable, but features a double mechanism as well – it is up to your choice to either pull on the belt or secure it by a button.




Externally M700 reminds the first Glofiish phone (X500), as well as its predecessor from the M series (M600+), being an unusual hybrid of both. Its corpus is grey and sharply pointed, which counts to the futuristic and aggressive look, contrary to the soft and rounded shapes of M600+. In a standard ‘Pocket PC bar” this is the first Eten phone equipped with a slider – pulled sideways to reveal a hardware QWERTY keyboard.

The slider does not have a supporting mechanism, so its full closing and opening can be done solely by hand. However, that is not the main inconvenience – there is a most irritating scraping at doing so. Eten simply had to apply some sort of open/close mechanism – it is indispensable for achieving a smoother slide! Almost every time some of us used it, they involuntarily pressed the ‘Voice Commands’ key – perhaps the central location of the side buttons is not quite appropriate.

It is entirely of plastic and despite having more functions than M600+, it features the same weight and is even thinner. Disposing of a real keyboard at all times, however, comes at the price of a body, thicker than that of X500. Manufacturing is ‘solid’, but unfortunately the plastic that it is made of has a slightly ‘cheap’ feel at touch.

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Being a pocket PC phone, its main navigation relies on the touch-sensitive display. It is the same as with X500: 2.8 inch size and QVGA resolution. Its brightness is comparatively high, colors tend to have a reddish tinge, but that is not a thing to worry about. At stronger daylight it is still visible, though reading on it is rendered difficult, the more so in case there is dirt on it. As with the other models, a light sensor to automatically control the display brightness is not available. We strongly believe that this feature will soon become indispensable for all higher-class phones.

As you have already noticed, the unit has two keyboards. When closed, it features six buttons, a navigation one, and five more on both sides. At the top of the front panel there are two shortcuts (to GPS and M-Desk) with changeable functions; at the bottom – the two software buttons and the answer/reject ‘receivers’. The latter, apart from being quite small in order to keep with the shape-design (the right and left curves), are rather ‘concave’ at touch because of their location between the protruding D-pad and the rounded phone edges. It makes their use displeasingly difficult; they can be pressed by the very tip of the finger only. Manufacturers must never forget the fact that these are the most frequently used phone buttons and therefore should be most convenient to press.

Despite the small size of the navigation button, its usage is trouble-free. The effortless all-directional motion can initially deceive you that the confirming D-pad button functions as a joystick, which is not the case.


On the left there is volume control rocker and just next to it – a Voice Commands button. Their proximity often causes pressing by mistake. The option to change its functions is also a merit. On the upper right side is the Power Button and on the lower – the camera shortcut. Both are rather hard to feel at touch.

Once you open it there much more than 11 keys – 41 are added. They are all square and quite close to each other, which is compensated by their comparatively large size. A bit hard to press, they have a tactile response; the keyboard as a whole is convenient for typing. It is nicely lit in blue – but this is true for the main key characters and 3 decorative lines only. The alternative characters are not lit at all, which renders them totally unusable in a dark environment, unless one learns their exact positions by heart. In our view this is a serious shortcoming.




On the lower unit panel there is the mini USB slot and the one for micro SD cards, the latter replaceable without a restart (‘hot-swappable’). The stylus, whose telescopic structure most often enables its automatic stretching, is located in the right corner. On the lower left side there is the 2.5 mm stereo headphones jack socket. Their cable also serves as an aerial for the FM radio.



The software part of M700 being literally the same as that of X500, we will use the respective text. The only difference will occur at assessing the device performance. One must bear in mind that all this stuff is fairly similar (if not outright identical) for numerous Windows Mobile 5 PPC phones, therefore some problems (or good sides) will also be a common feature for most of them, not only the Eten units.

Interface:

As a Pocket PC Phone running on Windows Mobile 5.0 the M700 is identical in software to previous Eten models – the X500 glofiish, the M600(+) and the G500. It also has customized homescreen with shortcuts to many applications, which is very handy for easier access to almost everything the phone has. They are big in size, with scroll buttons to the right which give access to all of them, making 55 in total!

It comes very close to desktop computer with a Windows XP and is suitable for people which use the computer more or less. More often than now, navigating through the menus and using the device is relatively quick and enjoyable thanks to the powerful processor (400MHz clock rate).

The added software by “M-Desk” is quite useful. By default it is launched by the right shortcut key in the upper line. This software provides shortcuts to various menus of the phone, divided in four tabs:

• PHONE

• PDA

• FUN

• SYSTEM

As a WM PPC Phone, М700 can be customized in many different ways and the easiest one is changing the visual themes. If you have to use more advanced software, the phone can be adjusted to perfectly suit your needs.


Phone book:

The phonebook has no restriction on the amount of contact that can be added – it only depends on the memory available. When you open the phonebook all contacts are displayed as a list; each field consists of the name and the number of the contact, while a letter placed beside them indicates what the type of the number is (w – work; m – mobile, etc.). Pictures are not displayed even if there is one attached to the contact.
The line displayed at the top of the screen is a search field, which starts searching through the names and numbers on entering a symbol – the more symbols you type, the more accurate the match is – it’s quite useful! There are tabs with different letters (divided in groups of three) just below it. This way you can arrange the contacts so that only the ones beginning with a given letter are displayed. These two search features are quite handy and they make finding a particular contact in the phonebook very quick.

Too bad that’s not the case when adding a new name to the phonebook; the device offers way too many capabilities, including multiple work and home numbers, but there’s only one for mobile –something quite inconvenient as that’s exactly where we wanted to add multiple numbers to. The numerous address, e-mail and other address fields confuse you even further – it would have been a lot easier if the most frequently used fields are highlighted in some way. We would choose this to be done with the Name, Picture, Mobile number and e-mail fields and thus finding them would have been easy, eliminating the need to go through the long list.
Personal photos and ringtones can be assigned to each contact; there’s no restriction on the size of the pictures but they are visualized in very small size even on an incoming call – we think they are useless. You can also add a note to each contact.

Another major drawback is that a Missed Call number cannot be added to an already existing contact. To do this, you first have to add it as a new one and then Cut and Paste the number into the contact you want. These complex manipulations not only lose your time, but there’s also a chance that you lose the number. That’s what we experienced. We cut the number, then copied another text by mistake, and the number was gone. That’s a problem with all WM PPC phones, not only with Eten ones.



Dialer:


Dialing is done after pressing the ANSWER button, no matter which menu you’re currently in. A large numeric keypad is visualized, featuring buttons that are easily pressed even without a stylus. Speed Dial and Call History are the other two shortcut buttons. The first one is a standard one as particular number is assigned to numbers 0-9. The Call History is a list displaying all call activity of the phone (incoming/outgoing/missed). You can easily dial a recently used number when viewing this menu.

Organizer:

Alarms can be directly accessed through the home screen. They are three, and they all can be configured to be active for certain days of the week, and you can also assign names and different sounds to each of them. All alarms can be active simultaneously, and overall they are easy to use and do what they are supposed to. Maybe they should have been a few more, as we wouldn’t mind having five plus alarms in our pocket computer.

The next tab in this menu is the clock; there is a field called Visiting next to it which can be used as a World Clock – select another location and the phone starts using its local time. The clock has an option to be displayed on the title bar of all the menus, which is handy.

The Calendar can be viewed for a particular year/month/week/day. Appointments are easily added to a certain date and alarms can also be assigned to them. When viewing a particular day, hours are displayed in red and blue background respectively for the “light” and “dark” hours of the day, instead of indexing them with PM and AM – this is done for saving your time.

Tasks are added via the Task menu and each of them can be assigned a date for activation and a priority; you can easily indicate that a certain task has been completed by placing a tick next to it in the list with all the tasks – thus it will not be displayed on your home screen as uncompleted.

The Calculator is simple but its buttons are relatively big and can easily be pressed with your fingers. Features like scientific calculator and unit converter are still missing.

The phone features a complete set of voice commands which are also speaker independent. The voice commands menu is entered by pressing the small button on the left side; after that you can easily select or find a particular contact there. Digit dialing is also supported; it’s quite possible that the phone has a problem recognizing your contacts’ names, but that also depends on the person who’s using it (although it’s speaker independent).

For better voice recognition, different commands can be trained, as well as the names in the phonebook. “Training” is actually done by recording a voice tag for each command or number.

Messaging:

Different message types are placed in a single menu - SMS, MMS and e-mails. There is nothing unexpected here. Entering text is done by the QWERTY ore one of the following touch display methods:

• Block Recognizer
• Keyboard
• Letter Recognizer
• Transcriber


We think that if you don’t want to open the real QWERTY, the on-screen keyboard is the fastest and most convenient way to type. If you train the other methods, they can also be quite handy! Combined with the T9 predictive system, entering text with the phone is really quick.

In addition comes “Easy Keyboard” that is a variation of the standard on-screen keyboard – not very impressive one.

Everything is standard in the e-mail menu; there’s an option for downloading headers only and you can also set a limit in KB per message. EDGE data upgrades the old GPRS but still we miss 3G UMTS on this phone, which rivals have already launched - UMTS/HSDPA on the HTC TyTN (Cingular 8525).

Connectivity:

Just as the X500, here Eten has used standard separate connectors instead of an proprietory one. miniUSB for connection with a computer and for charging, and 2.5mm stereo jack for music. This means you won’t be able to use accessories from previous models (except the glofiish X500), but will be able to use a great variety for other Windows Mobile (and not only) phones. This is very wise decision that we greatly welcome!

The supported version for Bluetooth is the latest up to date – it’s v2.0 + EDR and supported profiles include: Headset; OPP; GAP; A2DP (Bluetooth Stereo Audio). Compared to previous Bluetooth versions, much higher transfer speeds can now be achieved thanks to EDR (Enhanced Data Rate). Theoretically, power consumption is also reduced. The A2DP profile is useful for stereo audio streaming with a compatible device

The phone features an integrated Wi-Fi module for wireless Internet connection. You can easily connect to a home/office network, or any public place where “hotspot” service is supported. Wi-Fi transfer speeds are much higher than GPRS ones, and using it for Internet and streaming, as well as VoIP services such as Skype, is not a problem.

Sadly, the Eten M700 is still a 2G only quad-band GSM/EDGE phone. If it supported 3G data (UMTS or HSDPA) it would be able to browse the internet through the carrier's network with much faster speed.

Internet:

The mobile version of Internet Explorer is used for internet browsing; loading standard pages in full size is not a problem, because of the relatively high resolution (320x240 pixels) of such devices; to achieve even greater comfort during browsing, we prefer using the display in landscape mode (in Eten phones this can be easily done using the M-Desk application). Full-screen usage is almost mandatory when the page has loaded.

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There is also One Column View option which eliminates the need for horizontal scrolling but increases the need for vertical scrolling. The page is narrowed and thus it changes its initial look.

Camera:

The camera is a simple unit with average performance. We thought it is the same as that of the X500 because it is 2-megapixel unit located on the back of the device, featuring LED flash and a mirror for self-portrait shooting, but its performance is weaker.

The camera becomes operational within 7 – 8 seconds and it takes nearly 13 seconds to record a photo at maximum resolution, which brings it nearer to the 11 sec. of M600+ and farther from the 6 sec. of X500. A work that slow is a real disappointment.

The camera is started by the button on the right side. The interface is pretty straight-forward and there are only a few icons when it’s in shooting mode: a button for selecting between camera and camcoder mode, a Settings button, a Close button, as well as information icons indicating the status of the flash, the picture/video size, and how many you can take with the memory available. Taking pictures is done by pressing the button which launches the application. The Settings menu is designed using big-sized icons; there is a capability for setting the size, white balance, the flash mode, the shooting mode (whether it is Portrait or Landscape oriented) – these are all standard settings. There is an option for automatically stamping the Date on the picture. As expected, various effects are available: Normal, Negative, Gray, Retrospective, Mirror. We think that the Mirror effect is the most interesting one.

Overall, the interface is quite awkward to use and there is almost no functionality when the camera is in shooting mode, which makes taking pictures even more sluggish. The flash status and resolution icons could have easily been made to act as buttons used for changing the corresponding settings!

The camera performance is poorer than expected or than the average for 2 mega pixels. There is a lot of ‘noise’ even on outdoor pictures, ‘devouring’ the otherwise little available detail. Frequently the more illuminated parts are over-exposed while the darker ones look even worse because of the increased ‘noise’. Indoor photographing is of even poorer quality, almost without any detail. The LED flashlight is not strong enough.


When we tried taking a picture using the flash in total darkness…”something” was seen in the pictures but the quality (if it could be called this way) was way below the necessary minimum to be worth discussing it. The pictures are awful and framing them is also almost impossible because the flash does not light up until the shoot button is pressed.

Media Player:

M700 is equipped with the standard mobile version of Windows Media Player. It is a multimedia player for music and video files. MP3 format is supported, as well as AAC, WMA and WAV. After updating the library with files, all supported types are found, and they can be added to playlists. This function is not well implemented and organizing them is quite hard. Songs can be viewed by artist, album and genre, as these are taken from the ID3 tag of the files.

The supported video formats are MPEG4, WMV and 3GP, while the quality of the latter is pretty low. They can be viewed in fullscreen and the picture quality is quite good and looks very nice on the (near) three-inch display. We advice you getting your video files in MPEG4 H.263 for previewing on the phone. Unfortunately the better H264 codec is not supported.

The options buttons (next/previous, Play/Pause, etc.) are small and inconvenient both during Music and Video playback. When audio files are played, the video visualization window is still displayed, which is a lapse as it only takes up place on your screen. You can have these problems solved by adding new skins for the Media Player or by using another player, which can be additionally installed.

During the test we noticed that the multimedia player does not come as a heavy load for the phone, and we used Skype to chat while it was playing in background. Music can be played with the integrated speaker, but that’s only suitable if you use it as a ringtone. If you want to listen to the music you can use the headset included in the package, as well as Bluetooth Stereo via the A2DP profile. The headset jack is a standard 2.5mm stereo and for better sound quality you can attach regular wired headphones, using a 2.5-3.5mm stereo adapter.


The phone also has built-in FM tuner. This is a nice old-school addition to the music player which helps for music on the go and can also bring you the news in audio format without the need of complicated new advanced technologies like internet streaming.

The interface is very colorful and looks attractive. The buttons are well sized and easy to press. You can easily save your favorite bands and we are happy to see that there is no dumb limit of 10 stations for example – you can save 50 bands for three locations, or total of 150 bands. We are very pleased of it and used it with pleasure.

Software:

It’s a pity that the RAM is still 64MB and the internal memory is 128, which is same as the X500 and M600 and half the memory of the M600+. Internal capacity can be expanded through the microSD card slot placed on the bottom of the phone.
WM for PPC provides unlimited capabilities for installing software. The only restrictions are the memory available and the hardware of the phone. The first problem is easily solved by getting a memory card as there are microSD cards with capacity of up to several GB. Every PPC comes with programs that are modified, “pocket” versions known PC applications. Such programs are the mobile versions of (Microsoft) Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Explorer, Media Player, etc. Many more could be downloaded from third party sources.
There are numerous programs created for this platform, almost as much as the ones intended for PCs with Windows operating system. The most popular are the various utilities for personalizing the PPC, multimedia players, file explorers, Instant Messengers, etc. Skype is an interesting software which is a VoIP program known with its PC version. It works flawlessly and you can use the Cradle or WiFi for providing Internet connectivity

GPS:

If you travel a lot and need to know where you are or how to get somewhere, the М700 can help. It comes with GPS received built-in, but in order to use it the consumer needs to put navigation software. Many titles are available on the market, and for our tests we used TomTom 5 which will set you back about $150 with Maps.

The М700 comes with the latest generation SIRF III chipset. Compared to its predecessors, it allows faster time to fix, lower power consumption and higher sensitivity. The SIRF III architecture allows the equivalent of 200,000 correlations, in contrast to the older ones which used sequential search process allowed a few hundred to a few thousand only. This increases the GPS sensitivity and allows it to work in many indoor environments, through urban canyons, and under dense foliage. SIRF III chipset supports both WAAS in the US or EGNOS systems in Europe for even better accuracy.

For our tests, we used TomTom Navigator 5.21. The installation went very smooth. After starting the application for the first time, the TomTom found the internal GPS and after about 15 seconds we had a location lock! The time it takes for the GPS to acquire its location for the first time is called cold start and the 15 seconds we got was an excellent result. If the navigation application is closed and then restarted, the GPS needs just a little over three seconds to reacquire its location.

Each navigation software offers different interface and functionality, and since E-TEN does not come with anything preloaded and I won’t go into great details about it. The important thing is that the ETEN's display is adequately large and bright, and offers pleasant map viewing in most conditions, expect in super-bright direct sunlight. Thanks to the fast 400 Mhz CPU, the phone has not problems whatsoever rendering or scrolling maps. Route calculations are also extremely fast, and were about 40,000 route calculations in about 3 seconds. Most navigation software packets also offer voice guidance, which sounds just excellent through the ETEN's rear speaker.

Eten has done just excellent job with the battery times. For instance, the G500’s could be used for navigation with the screen on for only 2.5 hours. The new X500 in our real life test we got exactly 6 hours of continuous GPS usage, while using the M700 gave us 8 hours. This is just great compared to our stand-alone Holux 236 GPS (with SirfStar III) which also has about 8 hours, but does not even have a display! That is the reason why probably the company has decided not to include car charger in the sale package, which considering its low price is a shame.



Performance:

We used Spb Benchmark to compare the M700 system performance with other PocketPC Phones.


As far as the usage of the device as a phone proper (talking) is concerned, M700 does a lot better than its Glofiish kin X500. Sound level is definitely better; the microphone displays a high performance, and what you hear is also louder than average. Sound quality is high in both directions and the voice reproduction – more realistic compared to other phones. Unfortunately signal reception is troublesome: at weaker signal locations conversations will be impossible. Thanks to its Samsung 400MHz processor it operates faster than many other PPCs (some of them use half the power) and can handle harder operations like VoIP telephony.

The phone is powered by 1530mAh li-polymer battery. According to the manufacturer it will run it for up to 7 hours of talk time, or 8 days of standing by. We are pleasantly surprised by the 8 hours of time, using it as GPS navigation, which is an improvement compared to the X500. During the test, the display was ON all the time!

Conclusion:

M700 is currently the only phone incorporating enviable specifications in a relatively small body – GPS (navigation), WiFi (wireless networking), QWERTY hardware keyboard, and regualar 240x320 display! The quad-band unit boast a 400 MHz processor; however, it does not feature a 3G (third generation) network support. We are pleased by the fact that sound quality has improved, but there are still the unsatisfactory signal reception and the poor photo quality. In case 3G is not of primary importance to you, we highly recommend the M700, despite the number of small drawbacks.

Pros

  • WiFi, GPS and QWERTY in one
  • Strong performance, thanks to 400 MHz processor
  • 8+ hours of GPS battery time

Cons

  • Lack of 3G
  • No backlight for alternative characters on the QWERTY

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

User Rating:

7.5
3 Reviews

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