GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 Review

3
Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA.

Introduction:


In these days of economic troubles it’s hard to balance work and personal life. Do you feel like you have a million things to do and still need to find time for friends and family? It seems the folks from GIGABYTE think that’s an issue worth considering and took on the task. The result is the budget savvy GIGABYTE GSmart S1205, a dual SIM Windows phone. Double the SIM cards means double the connectivity – and if dual SIM and Windows Mobile are what you are looking for, then you will barely find any alternative on the market.

That alone makes the GSmart S1205 a handset worth examining. However, it also packs some useful features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, 3MP camera and a bunch of in-house made Flash-based themes to customize its interface.

Design:

The phone has balanced looks that GIGABYTE claims to reflect the idea of duality. To tell you the truth, one needs to have a really great power of imagination to see this kind of stuff in the GSmart S1205's design. Still, The S1205 is packed with features, but it seems the producer manufacturer was too eager to show off and forgot to optimize performance on par with the functionalities.

The overall construction is balanced and symmetrical, although the matted plastic back cover gives it a cheap look and makes the build feel less solid.



You can compare the GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The resistive screen is fit enough at 3.2” but the 240x400 pixel resolution does not make for a smooth picture. Screen legibility is average. It is passable when indoors and looked straight at, but suffers significantly when you put it to the test of an awkward viewing angle or direct sunlight. Below the screen there are five buttons, the three on the bottom have a distinct feeling when pushed and seem solid. GIGABYTE has added a stylus – and we are really thankful for having it. It comes out from the bottom and increases typing speed on the on-screen keyboard significantly. The battery cover is easy to remove, while the two SIM card slots are nicely placed above the battery itself. They are securely locked with a small latch.


The volume rocker which also works to navigate through the menus is nested on the left and the unlock button is on top. Unlocking is something that you do every time you reach for your phone and it is a shame that the dedicated unlock button is so hard to press. GIGABYTE had the same issue on the S1200, but unfortunately it is still present. On the right, we see an unprotected microSD slot and the camera key. The 3.5mm jack on the bottom makes it easy for you to hook up your favorite headphones and enjoy the rhythm, while the standard microUSB slot right next to it is also a a good decision.




GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 360 Degrees View:





Interface and Functionality:

The GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 features the oh-so-familiar Windows Mobile 6.5 interface which is a silent nightmare to navigate with your fingers. There is no room for comparison with contemporary operating systems like Android and iOS. It should still be noted that GIGABYTE made an effort here. Along with the usual Windows Mobile look, we have three in-house made themes which are part of the so called Smart Pack. This is a collection of themes we already saw in a previous model, the S1200. For those of you already familiar with that model, you will see nothing new in the interface here. GIGABYTE seems to implement the same themes, it is only that their number is now down to three.

The picturesque Chinese theme, the supposedly advanced Smart Zone theme and the weather sensitive Live Nature theme all seem to be tailored more for fun than for heavy use. The transitions in those themes are slow and it is often hard to predict what a certain move would bring. It takes a lot of getting used to and some of the features like widgets were implemented in a way that left us wondering if functionality was ever considered. Actually, holding the square button allows us to quickly switch back to the standard theme. The presence of such a shortcut hints that usability was not the main focus for the additional interface packs. At the end of the day, we felt happy to go back to the traditional Windows Mobile theme despite its drawbacks.


It takes a couple of seconds to realize that tilting and turning the phone does not work - you probably guessed it right, there is no accelerometer. You can still change screen orientation with a couple of clicks but we had trouble doing this in the fancy interface packs. Calls is where the GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 shines with its dual-SIM functionality. It is one of very few smartphones we've seen that sport two SIM cards and the Windows Mobile platform. The two coverage bars for the SIM cards take up a tiny spot on the top of the screen and a dedicated button gives access to a variety of phone settings for each one of them. Selecting which card to use for a call is simple as it is done through the menu soft key while a certain contact has been selected. You can also choose which SIM card to be your primary one (for quick calls) at any given time.


The phonebook, as well as the organizer and messaging, are the same as in every other WM6.5 phone. Rich in features and hard to use are the keywords here. One of the main problems is dealing with the small graphical elements and annoying resistive screen..

Camera:

The GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 has a 3-megapixel camera without flash or autofocus. It takes almost no time to load, and when fired up, one can play with its image quality, white balance, scene selection, exposure, effects, ISO sensitivity and so on. The quality of the pictures is low on the overall, but differs greatly, depending on the lighting and weather conditions. On a sunny day, images do look bearable, although some areas are over-exposed and detail is lacking. On a mostly cloudy day however, those photons were just not enough to produce some passable results. 
Surprisingly, the 3MP cam allowed for some pretty decent VGA video recording at 30fps. The video is perfectly smooth and totally usable... for a VGA video, that is.





Gigabyte GSmart S1205 sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution.

Multimedia:

Windows Mobile can do a lot to entertain you on the road but it’s not only the platform that matters. The screen is fit for watching as much as a whole film. This being said, it does not mean that you should expect to see vibrant colors out in the sun or anything fancy. The 240x400 pixels WQVGA resolution is downright far from impressive. Out of the box, the GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 managed to play only MPEG-4 coded videos with resolutions of up to 720x480 pixels. However, installing some third-party software should get you DivX, Xvid support and more. The microSD card slot can fit up to 16GB in extra memory, plus it is on the side of the phone, so you can quickly change cards.

The built-in speaker is loud enough for most occasions however it misses depth of sound, just as the headphones in the kit do. Luckily a 3.5mm jack on the bottom makes it easy to plug in your favorite headset and play. FM Radio is also on board with standard capabilities and live recording.

Software and GPS:

With the S1205, Windows Marketplace for Mobile is just a couple of clicks away. This should not fool you though – those clicks can take a lot of your time. The apps in the Marketplace are nowhere near what you'd find for other popular platforms. We tried the popular Facebook app, but unfortunately it could not render any pictures properly, at least for a normal period of time. Apart from that, installing apps was straightforward and easy.



The device comes with preinstalled Internet Explorer with the familiar browser features. It’s far from being perfect so we resorted to Opera Mobile 10, which loads pages a bit slowly, but ones loaded it pays you off with a really smooth scrolling and zooming experience. This way we could make full use of that Wi-Fi functionality.


Office functionality is excellent as usual on the Windows Mobile platform. There is full support for the Office suite (including 2007 Office files), as well as PDF files, both of which we highly appreciate.



Even though there is no pre-installed software to test the GPS, we tried Google Maps and it was able to pin-point our location without a problem. Sluggish navigation on the maps once again proves to be one of the biggest drawbacks on this platform.



Performance and Conclusion:

Call quality with the GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 is just about average. Voices in the earpiece were considerably sharp, but still loud enough to know what they are saying. The handset’s microphone performed satisfactorily and on the other end of the line we sounded clear, although not quite natural.

The manufacturer rates the 1320mAh battery as being capable of providing juice for 4 hours of 3G talk time or 6 days of stand-by.The GIGABYTE GSmart S1205's key feature is of course the dual-SIM functionality, which saves you the hassle of having to wear two devices with you all the time. It's also a full-featured Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone, which makes it one of the very few offerings to combine these two characteristics. However, it is obvious that the manufacturer has not put a lot of effort into polishing its creation. Many of the other features like widgets, for example, seem to be included just for the sake of it. In addition, the 128MB of RAM do not look sufficient for the weight of Windows Mobile and the performance is sluggish with noticeable lags. Add to that a not so responsive resistive screen and a hard to operate on-screen keyboard, and we could hardly recommend buying the GSmart S1205 to anyone falling out of the dual SIM Windows phone target group.

But of course, this doesn't mean that the GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 is far from being the best handset in its class... where it competes only with the Acer DX900, which sports a smaller screen, but better overall design. So, if you're on the lookout for a 2-SIM WM phone, don't miss checking our Acer DX900 review as well, to see which one fits you better.

Software version of the reviewed unit: V1.0 2009/12/31

Operating system version: 5.2, Build 21840.5.0.60

GIGABYTE GSmart S1205 Video Review:




Pros

  • 2-SIM WM phone
  • Decent VGA video recording
  • Full Office suite compatibility
  • Budget-savvy

Cons

  • Low quality, resistive display
  • A bit bulky
  • Camera photos are not good
  • Laggy

PhoneArena Rating:

6.5

User Rating:

8.2
2 Reviews

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless