i-mate Smartflip Review1
Smartflip is a standard Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone and the software review as a whole will not be a review of the phone, but rather of the operating system used in many different models.
The operating system is generally similar to that for pocket PC telephones and to the computer desktop version but at the same time it is considerably different. For all that, it will be easier for people who are more experienced with such appliances to navigate in it.
The home-screen can be personalized in several ways, but we will consider the one called ‘Windows default’: in standby it is active and contains links to various applications; after the system information there is a bar with large icons representing links (unfortunately even after holding the cursor upon them no information appears as to what they link to) and under them - hour/alarm, upcoming appointments from the calendar, profile and availability of new messages are visualized.
The ‘main’ menu is visualized as a grid of nine icons (with shortcuts from the keyboard), which change their appearance when pointed at. Unfortunately they look rather ‘square’, somehow plain and not eye- catching. Since the menu contains more than 9 icons instead of scrolling you will have to go to the next page by using the ‘more’ option. You can get back by pushing the keyboard ‘back’ button. Submenus are visualized as lists and have digital shortcuts as well.
Applying various color schemes can somewhat personalize the appearance of your menus.
As a whole the navigation is logical and one can easily orientate oneself. The telephone processor does a good job and navigation in the menu is fast, without tedious delays.
As a whole the phonebook is well structured but we can make some critical remarks about it as well: its capacity depends solely on the available memory, which means that in practice you can save an unlimited number of contacts. For each there are numerous fields to be filled, including several phone numbers and e-mails, as well as personal photos and melodies to be shown and played at the time of a call. All the contacts are visualized as a list with an indication on the right as to the type of the number (m – mobile, w – work, etc.).
Looking a contact up can be initiated from two locations (the contact list and the home screen) and in two ways – typing digits for NUMBER or typing letters by pressing each button once (a predictive text input system is activated). Looking up contacts from the contact list is rather unenjoyable: your exact input is not displayed until you arrive at a case of no concurrence, which does not quite make any sense – if you thought you made a mistake when typing, there is no way to make sure you did, so you must delete everything and start anew.
From the home screen the entered digits are displayed. The concurrences (regardless as to number or name) are visualized below and the exact concurrencies are highlighted. As opposed to Blackberry Pearl if the concurrence is of a word, the text you are typing in will remain in the form of digits and will not change. As a whole looking up from here is convenient, fast, trouble-free and leads to good results.
The organizer under Windows is relatively well set. Its design is intended to be readily compatible with the Outlook on your computer, therefore there is a full functionality. A few clicks are enough to add notes to the calendar for a certain day (one can add reminders, too) and those that are near in time will be visualized on your home screen.
There is not much difference when working with tasks either – you can easily add a new one or assign a ‘completed’ status to an old one. Though it may seem a bit strange to us, there is no option in the organizer to simply add ‘notes’, which is a part of the computer ‘outlook’ and of the ‘elder brother’ – WM for Pocket PCs.
The calculator is in the ‘Accessories’ folder and inexplicably has no graphic interface whatsoever. It is usable, but inconvenient and unenjoyable to work with. There are neither more complicated ‘scientific’ options nor a converter of measurements.
You can add only one alarm and at that you will need to go through quite a number of menus – settings – clock & alarms – alarms – and unfortunately there is no setting there for the sound, but for the time only. We consider this to be quite inconvenient and while we were using the phone we were not able to make a single successful attempt to set the right sound for the alarm, so that it would make a distinct sound (this can be done only through ‘profiles’).
Smartflip has the option for voice commands, but they are quite simple, especially bearing in mind that this is a smartphone: after holding the button on the left side you must say your voice tag that has been attached to a certain contact beforehand; the phone does not support speaker independent recognition so you will have to ‘fiddle’ with recording separately for each contact you might wish to use. This is quite elementary and we personally would never bother to use it.