Eten Glofiish X500 Review
The camera is nothing special, and is very similar to that of the M600+: it is 2-megapixel unit located on the back of the device, featuring LED flash and a mirror for self-portrait shooting.
Starting the camera takes about 7 seconds; the time between taking two consecutive pictures at the highest resolution (the time needed for saving it to the phone also is included) is about 6 seconds which is an improvement when compared to 11 for the M600+.
The camera is started by the button on the left 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 resolution, 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 pictures are what we expect to get from a 2 megapixel camera without auto-focus. Overall they are well exposed, the purple fringing is reduced (although this problem is still present) and the colors look realistic, although it is often that single color dominates the other producing a bluish or reddish image.
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. This of course is normal for the great majority of phones (except probably K750 with its Xenon flash).
Indoor images in 3 levels of lightning
X500 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 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 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 three-inch display.
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. We even used it for playing 1411 kbps WAV file. 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.
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.
It's a pity that the RAM is still 64MB and the internal memory is 128, which is same as the 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
Eten adds a few useful programs that more people will find helpful the one with biggest meaning to us is the Backup Utility this can create a backup of your personal data (Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Personal Profile, Network settings, My Documents and Messaging) in just a few KBs (in our case everything BUT the My Documents took only 100KB). It will automatically backup your phone if the battery level is low.
Other applications include multimedia viewers - Image Wizard and Multimedia Manager (a standard image previewer and file browser displaying thumbnails) and a simple Image Maker (a utility allowing for drawing).
If you travel a lot and need to know where you are or how to get somewhere, the X500 can help.
It comes with GPS received built-in, but in order to use it the consumer needs to install 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. HTC Artemis, X500 main rival actually comes with TomTom preloaded, but only features one city map. If you want to purchase full US/Canada coverage maps, the cost is about $110. In contrast with the X500 buying TomTom and maps costs $150 so the actual savings are about $40. The main idea of having TomTom preloaded is not in saving $ - it is giving the consumers the ability to check out the navigation service. Almost all of us have to travel or find an address from time to time, and having full maps in your pocket is just priceless.
The X500 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, we TomTom found the internal GPS and after about 12 seconds we have a location lock! The time it takes for the GPS to acquire its location for the first time is called cold start and the 12 seconds we got was an excellent result. If the navigation application is closed and the 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'll not 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, except 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 offers between 5 and 7 hours, and in our real life test we got exactly 6 hours of continuous GPS usage. This is just great compared to our stand-alone Holux 236 GPS (with SirfStar III) which has about 8 hours, but does not even have a display! That is the reason why probably the company has decided not to include mini-USB car charger in the sale package, which considering its low price is a shame.