Software and Features:

There are no surprises when it comes to the main menu, as it has the same categories for media center, messaging, contacts, recent calls, and settings & tools.  A total of 4 themes are included: Slick Black, White, Elegance Noire, and Illumination.  Each theme will change the menu’s overall appearance, but not its functionality.  Other user customizations include changing the font style and size, clock format, and the layout between tab, list, and grid view.  Naturally, you can also use your own wallpaper, but it would nice if it came preloaded with a few Living Wallpapers like we saw on the Gleam.

The only change made to the phonebook is that it can now store up to 1000 contact instead of the standard 500, each with their Name, Mobile 1, Home, Work, E-Mail 1, Group, Picture, Ringtone, Mobile 2, Fax, E-Mail 2, and Notes.  After a contact is saved, you can assign them to one of 999 speed-dial locations.

Despite it having a 2MP camera, the overall quality is lacking, with outside images having poor detail and color representation, due to the auto white balance giving everything a blue hue.  Interior images do not suffer from the auto white balance issue, but look equally as bad, due to the amount of grain and blurriness that is shown.  Since there is no flash, low light images are next to impossible to take.  We should also point out the process of saving pictures are incredibly slow, taking almost 6 seconds to save one to the microSD card, but only 3 seconds to save directly to the phone.  This is a long time to wait, especially, when you want to take several pictures in a succession.  Hopefully a software update will increase the speed of this process.

Camera Settings:
Color Effects:  Normal, B&W, Antique, Negative, Aqua, Green
White Balance:  Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent
Memory: Phone, Card
Auto Name:  On, Off
Preview Mode:  Full Screen, Standard Screen
ISO:  Auto, 100, 200, 400
Metering:  Average, Center, Spot
Icon Display:  Display All, Partial, Guidelines, No icon
Sound Effects:  Say Cheese, Look here, 123, Off
Night Shot:  On, Off
Self Timer:  3 sec, 5 sec 10 sec off
Quality: Fine, Normal, Economy
Resolution:  1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480, 320x240, 160x120
Multi-Shot: Series Shot, Divided Shot, Panorama Shot
Autoshot:  Off, On

The music player has undergone a slight face-lift; with it being silver in color, yet it still categorizes music files into All, Playlists, Artists, and Albums.  When a song begins playback, the album title and song name are shown above the progress bar.  Pressing the right-soft key and selecting “Options” and then “Skin” will allow you to change the view between Simple, Equalizer, Album Art, and Lyrics.  This is a nice feature, considering the Sway is not designed and marketed as music-centric phone.  Unfortunately, when music is played back through the small mono speaker, it is lacking in quality, volume, and range.  When the phone is slid closed, music becomes even more muted, as there are less speaker holes.  The best way we found to listen to music is via a pair of Stereo Bluetooth headsets.  You can use wired 2.5mm earbuds, but this requires you to also use the data-port adapter, which will protrude from the left side.

Other software features include Mobile Web 2.0, VZ Navigator for GPS guided directions, and the ability to download games and ringtones.  However, the device is limited to using the slower 1X network, since the Sway does not support EVDO.  For example, when using the web browser and going to the VZW Home Page, the Sway takes 28 seconds to completely load the page, compared to 10 seconds on the Rapture and V9m.  Where attempting to view large HTML sites, such as, the browser will take over 90 seconds to load and will not display any pictures or graphics.  We also experienced problems when trying to use the VZ Navigator service.  Even though the application could be downloaded and launched, it would sometimes time-out when downloading maps and directions.  When it did work, it would take up to 30 seconds to download directions, instead of 13 seconds with the Rapture.  Clearly, the Sway is limited by not having EVDO capabilities.  We are unsure why this was done, since other devices costing the same or less come standard with it.  But if you are not planning on using the data services, it does not affect the rest of the device.

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