Multimedia:

Located on the back is the standard 2MP camera with flash. The application only takes 2 seconds to load and can be launched through the main menu or directly by pressing the camera button on the right side of the device. You can choose to use the use the entire display as the viewfinder (wide view), but it causes images to look horizontally stretched. Because of this, we prefer using the standard mode (normal view) to preserve the 3:2 aspect ratio. Since the camera lacks autofocus, there is only a 1 second delay in capture an image. However, another 8 seconds is used to save the image, and each time it asks if you want to save to card or to phone and then asks if you want to upload the image to the Axcessmypics.com web site. You can disable the “Axcessmypics.com” message, but even though you select “Save to card” in the settings, it will still ask you for the save location each time. Due to this time delay, we cannot recommend the camera for people who are looking to take several pictures within a few seconds.

Outdoor images have good detail and sharp edges, but colors have a tendency to look oversaturated and darker than they should. We also noticed that interior images have a problem when using the auto white balance, which causes them to have a yellowish hue. We were able to correct this by manually selecting the Tungsten or Fluorescent white balance setting. The flash is considerably weak, providing only 4 feet of usable range, and due to the slow shutter speed, images taken with the flash are often blurry.


Camera Options:

  • Flash: On, Off
  • View Mode: Normal View, Wide View
  • Resolution: 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480, 320x240
  • Quality: Fine, Normal, Economy
  • Memory Storage: Phone, Card
  • AxcessMyPics Reminder: Enable, Disable
  • Self Timer: Off, 3 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec
  • Multishot: 1, 3, 6
  • Brightness: 0-11
  • Night Mode: On, Off
  • White Balance: Auto, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Sunny, Cloudy
  • Color Effects: Color, Mono, Negative, Sepia, Aqua
  • Templates: On, Off
  • Shutter Sound: Sound 1-4, Say Cheese, None

Videos can be recorded at maximum of 320x240 resolution and up to 1 hour in length when a memory card is installed. Watching a recorded video on the phone is best, due to the smaller screen size. Once they are transferred to a PC, and viewed at full-screen, you can see how low quality they are, but are still good enough for posting small YouTube videos.

The music player is very simplistic, as it does not have a lot of bells-and-whistles that other devices may have, but does perform its job quite well. It is capable of listing music by All Songs, Playlists, Recently Played, Artists, Genres, and Albums. Once the song begins playback, the display will show the current track information, as well as icons for rewind, play/pause, and fast-forward. There is also the option to minimize the player to the background. This way you can perform other functions while the music is played, such as sending and reading text messages, accessing the WAP browser, and even taking a picture with the camera. This is a very useful feature and we would like to see it available on other phones. The only area of disappoint regarding music playback is that it uses the earpiece speaker, which greatly limits its quality and volume. However, using a stereo Bluetooth headset or wired earbuds will provide you with a more enjoyable music experience.

Alltel’s Axcess TV program is more closely related to Sprint’s TV service than Verizon’s V Cast, since it is capable of streaming live TV via an EVDO connection directly to the phone. There are a total of 43 channels available, but only 7 of which are live TV broadcasts (MSNBC, ABC News, Fox Sports, Fox News, Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet). The remainders are pre-recoded programs, just like V Cast. Since it relies on EVDO for streaming the video, the image quality is lacking and only supports 176x144 resolution and 15fps. The pales in comparison to Verizon’s Mobile TV service, which operates on Qualcomm’s MediaFLO network and is capable of streaming live TV with 320x240 resolution at 30fps. Regardless, this feature is only designed as a temporary means of entertainment, as most people would not consider watching hours of TV on a phone’s small screen.

Software:

As with most Alltel phones, the Glimmer uses Qualcomm’s BREW format for applications. One of the most useful is Alltel Navigation, which is used for GPS guided directions and cost $9.99 per month. It is equivalent to Verizon’s VZ Navigator, except that the user interface is less graphical and doesn’t look as refined. We were able to use Alltel Navigation around South Florida without problem, as it offers 3D maps and voice guided directions, but lacks the accident re-routing that is on VZ Navigator. There are also options to search and find local gas station prices, restaurants, banks, hotels, movie theaters, malls, clubs, hospitals, and post offices based on your current GPS location. Additional applications and games can be downloaded for a fee directly through Alltel.

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