Eten X600 Review

Introduction and Design
Introduction:

Not long ago the Taiwanese manufacturer Eten announced the successor of the X500. That is the X600, arriving as the phone with the smallest dimensions among all other models of the company, its rivals being the LG KS20 and the HTC Touch. As all Eten devices, the X600 is also runs on Windows Mobile 6, has a built-in GPS with SirfStar III chipset and WiFi. In addition the phone is quad-band, utilizing a Samsung SC3 2442, 400 MHz processor and has 64 MB of memory built-in.

In the box you will find:

  • Eten X600
  • Stylus
  • Extra stylus
  • USB cable
  • AC Adapter
  • Headset
  • Battery
  • Leather Case
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Getting Start CD


Design:

Since the X600 is not a dedicated fashion phone, the design of the X600 does not offer anything more when compared to the HTC Touch and the LG KS20. The manufacturer has accented on the size of the phone, and the design is more youthful than stylish. The X600 is made of red and black plastic, which feels like rubber-coated and gives it the slightly aggressive look. In contrast to the X800, the X600 is considerably more convenient to carry in jeans, even tight ones. We still advise you to carry it in the case with a view to protect it from possible display damages.



You can compare the Eten X600 to many other phones, using PhoneArena's Visual Size Compare tool.

Here as with the rest of the Eten phones, we find a 2.8” QVGA (240x320 pixels) display able to reproduce up to 65 536 colors. The picture is with well saturated and contrasting colors, with absolutely no trouble reading the display even in broad day light. The service LED indicators are located over the screen on the left and right.

In contrast to the X500, 2 buttons are added in the X600 – the first one gives you Start menu access and the second one is an OK button. As a whole, all keys are characterized by a large size, very good tactile feedback and are pleasant and convenient to operate. Another difference from X500 is the lack of 5 positioning D-Pad and the presence of a joystick on its place. You won’t have any troubles working with it since it is very easy to distinguish it from the rest of the keys.

On the left side of the device you will find the volume control, voice recorder and the re-set buttons and the 2.5 mm jack is located in the bottom. The power key and the camera shortcut are on the right. All keys have a good tactical feedback, but are lacking a well distinguished relief and the power on/off blends in with the phone and is impossible to notice. The buttons are not comfortable, but are usable, especially once you get used to them.


In the bottom part of the phone there is space assigned for the microSD slots, USB cable and the microphone opening as well.

The X600 disposes of a 2 megapixel camera with a flash, which is located on the back side of the device. The loudspeaker is here as well.

The phone disposes of a telescopic Stylus for more precise display operations, which is located in the lower right.



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Eten X600Video Review:







Interface:

Eten X600 is a Windows Mobile 6 Professional based device and as a whole, its software and possibilities are almost entirely identical to the other phones using the same operating system. Nothing will surprise you if you have previously used the OS. You should bear in mind that certain problems and positive features are present not only in this phone or the make’s models, but for the models using this operating system (WM6 Professional).

In order to make the phone user friendly, Eten, like the othermanufacturers (HTC, LG, etc.), personalizes the home-screen, utilizinga limited variant of the SPB Mobile Shell software. There is a toolbarin the upper part of the Home screen, which expands when selected.There are four icons by default, but two more can be added and theorder in which they appear can be rearranged. We will examine thetoolbar as preset in the factory. The first icon indicates the batteryremaining, but when selected a menu appears showing the last twelveapplications used. The second one is a shortcut to the World Clock andAlarms menu, the third one leads to the Weather Forecast and the lastone gets us to the Dial Tab, where you can set up to six contacts forspeed dial, characterized by name or picture attached.

In additionyou have one more menu for a fast access to the phone’s functions. Itis activated by tapping the QuickBar (Home)button and consists of nine shortcuts to different applications,including flashlight (that uses the camera LED). A customized taskmanager, including good finger touch control, which facilitatestermination of running applications, has been added as well.

The X600 has the M-Desk menupreloaded, as the rest of the Eten models. It is activated by doubletapping the QuickBar button . This software provides shortcuts tovarious menus of the phone, divided in four tabs: 1) Phone; 2) PDA; 3)Fun; 4) System.

The rest of the interface is standard for this OS.

PhoneBook:

The phonebook is the typical for the OS, which although good, is on the average when compared with other smartphones. The number of contacts that can be added is not restricted and depends only 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 initiates a name and number search on entering a symbol – the more symbols you type, the more accurate the match is – it’s quite useful! This one searches all names entered for the contact, but if you want to find an acquaintance by other field like “company” for example, you have to use the “Search” application. 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 dimensions 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.

The problem of WM5 because of which you couldn’t add an unknown number from the call history to an existing contact, is eliminated here.

Dialer:

As in any normal phone, a number can be input through a numeric keypad. The virtual keyboard is visualized when the Answer button is pressed. Information on the last dialed number will be displayed and you can call it by pressing the green receiver again.


Pressing the buttons you will start imputing the digits of a possible number, but at the same time you will search the phone book as if imputing a text by a predictive text input system. So, to call John you can press 5-6-4-6 and the matching contacts will be visualized in the list.

Organizer:

Alarms can be accessed through the home screen toolbar, by tapping on the clock icon. Three of them are available, and they can all be configured to be active for certain days of the week, assigning 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. We are rather disappointed that their number is limited to three, as it was in the previous version of the OS.

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 electronic calendar, where you can save your aappointments, can be found in the Programs menu. You can use options like: reminder (PRIOR NOTICE 1/5/10/15/30/45 minutes, 1/2/3/4/5/6 hour/day/week), recurrence (Once, Every (same-day-of-the-week), Day (same-date) of every month, Every (same date-and-month) for every year, sensitivity (normal, personal, private, confidential). You can also add attendees (required or optional) from your contacts where e-mail addresses have been added and where meeting requests will be sent.

Examining the calendar can be done by day/week/month/year/agenda and you can choose starting day for the week and the week duration (5-6-7-day week). The appointments for the day are clearly shown in their time limits, so you can see your free time at a glance. This is one of the new things of WM6 compared to WM5.



You have Tasks menu, where you can add to-do items. For a given Task you can set subject, priority (normal, low, and high), start/due date, reminder (to be notified if it’s due), category (business, holiday, personal, seasonal) and write a note. The Task can have recurrence (Once, Every (same-day-of-the-week), Day (same-date) of every month, every (same date-date-and-month) for every year and sensitivity (normal, personal, private, confidential). Examining the tasks in a list you can easily see which of them are finished and which are not. The tasks options can be: sort by (status, priority, subject, start date, due date) or filter (all, recent, no categories, active, completed).

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.

Notes’ are simple notes in which you can input text by the keyboard or by hand as an image. They can be synchronized with outlook.

Search is an application searching in all files in the phone. You can specify certain types of files ( calendar /contacts /excel /messaging /notes /etc ), but the best option is All Data which will rummage everything in your phone.

File Explorer is the mobile alternative of Explorer in Windows environment with computers. We use it to view the phone memory, including the system folders of the device which feels like working on a PC.



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 one of the following touch display methods:

  • Block Recognizer
  • Keyboard
  • Letter Recognizer
  • Transcriber

We think that the on-screen keyboard is the fastest and most convenient way to do it, but if you train the other methods, they can also be quite handy! Combined with the T9 predictive system, entering text with the phone is pretty quick.

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

Connectivity:

The X600 is a quad-band phone, which makes it usable on every continent. Unfortunately the new Eten lacks 3G support, which nowadays is a big drawback.

WiFi and Bluetooth come standard. Bluetooth is mainly used for connecting to other nearby devices, as accessories (earpieces, car-kits, multimedia devices) and for data transfer (transfer of files to/from

Internet:

The mobile version of Internet Explorer is used for internet browsing and loading standard pages in full size is not a problem but you have to scroll horizontally as well as vertically almost all the time. Full-screen usage is almost mandatory when the page has loaded.


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, thus changing its initial look.

As it is a Pocket PC, you can always use third party software to replace the original one. We prefer using another phone/PC). Cable connection can also be used, via the miniUSB port.

Like all other Windows phones, you need to have ActiveSync installed on the computer to connect to it. The program will let you easily synchronize the phone (contacts, emails, and organizer) with Outlook.

With WiFi you can connect to a wireless LAN network covering you, use it as an Internet source and view the shared documents (input \\name-of-computer in Internet Explorer and you will see what is shared).

As it is a Pocket PC, you can always use third party software to replace the original one. We prefer using MicroSoft Deepfish browser instead of Internet Explorer, but unfortunately it is still in beta mode.



Camera:

The camera is nothing special - it is a 2-megapixel unit located on the back of the device, with mirror for self-portrait, but without autofocus.

Starting the camera takes about 4.5 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 8 seconds which is an improvement when compared to 11 for the M600+.

The camera is started by the button on the right side. The interface is pretty straight-forward and there are only few icons when it's in shooting mode: a button for selecting between camera and camcorder mode, a button for switching between cameras, a Settings button, a Close button, as well as information icons indicating 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, the white balance, 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 X600 is not a camera dedicated phone, so do not expect it to impress you with its image quality. Even in a well-lighted area, the pictures look bad due to unrealistic colors, the often over/under exposure and the lack of auto-focus. It gets worse when the light is reduced. Since there is no flash, trying to take pictures in the dark is pointless.

Software:

X600 is equipped with the standard mobile version of Windows Media Player. It is a multimedia player for music and video files. 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.

Surprisingly we discovered, that the Eten plays .avi files coordinated with DivX 3,4 or 5 and with a high bitrate too, which is a very good idea, but unfortunately doesn’t work as we expected. Having run multiple tests with different videos, with high (640x480) as well as low (320x240) resolution, not all ran smoothly and in few of them the sound or the image or both was braking up. This could be due to the limited resources and makes the otherwise good option pointless.

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 installed additionally.

The phone has a built-in FM tuner as well. 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. 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 solved without any difficulties by getting a memory card as there are microSD cards with capacity of up to several GBs. 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.

GPS:

The X800 comes with a built-in GPS receiver and the latest generation SIRF III chipset. The SIRF III architecture allows the equivalent of 200,000 correlations, in contrast to the older ones which used sequential search process and 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.

Each navigation software offers different interface and functionality, and since E-TEN does not come with anything preloaded, 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.



Performance:

We used Spb Benchmark to compare the Eten X600 system performance with the LG KS20 and HTC Touch.

As we mentioned in the beginning of this review, Eten X600 utilizes a Samsung SC3 2442, 400 MHz processor and has a 64MB built-in RAM memory. While using the phone, it performed very good and when scrolling the menus or opening various applications we didn’t have troubles, such as lag. The device did very well even when we tried to chat on Skype and to listen to a song with the music player at the same time.

The sound quality of the X600 is not its strongest point, but it is OK and is above the average. The sound in both directions is clear, but the voices are slightly muffled which make them artificial. Our bigger concern was with the sound in the ear piece, where background noise is present.

Conclusion:

If you want to have a compact-sized Windows Mobile phone with good functionality, take a look at the X600, which has a built-in GPS, WiFi and a 2.8” display. At the same time there are some disadvantages as the low camera quality and the lack of 3G, but still everything is OK, compared to the HTC Touch and the LGKS20. If you are looking for a phone with a better functionality, consider such devices as Eten X800 and TyTN II, but with those we are talking about larger size.


Pros

  • Good display brightness
  • Built-in GPS

Cons

  • Heavier than the competition
  • Short battery life
  • Low quality of the camera

PhoneArena Rating:

8.5

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