Review GSM phone Sharp GX25
Sharp prefers manufacturing devices in a clamshell form-factor to the ones with a traditional mono block design. That's why the appearance of one more clamshell by the company Sharp GX25 in the market doesn't surprise in any way. First the model appeared in Vodafone network and then it'll be released in a non-operator version in various markets. The difference will be hidden only in software but not design.
The model resembles Samsung E700 much, there is something in common in the models, it may be a blue color of the body or its smooth edges. But in fact there are lots of differences at the same time. There are silvery insertions on both sides and they bring some airiness to the device. A VGA-camera, a mirror and a flash or it's better to say a point light source may be seen on a front panel. There is a loudspeaker gap a bit lower, it serves for a reproduction of call signals. An external screen is turned vertically, this disposition is characteristic for Japanese models and is rare for European ones. The screen is monochrome and shows one text line but has a pleasant pale blue backlighting. In the standby mode signal level and battery charge indicators and also time and date are displayed. Various icons assigned to events may appear there and the most useful indicator of bluetooth work.
Capabilities of the external screen are enough in the majority of cases, viewing a caller's number in a one line is quite possible and what more is needed from an external screen of a clamshell? The fact it's monochrome makes the screen more functional and it doesn't fade in the sun.
There is a coupled volume level button on the left side and an IrDA gap under it. On the right side only a handsfree headset connector closed with a rubber shutter may be found. An interface connector on the bottom of the device is also closed with a shutter.
The device with such dimensions (92x46x23x5) and weight of 90 grams is easy to open with one hand. The first thing the draws your attention is an internal screen. The resolution is 240x320 (2 inches). It's done according to a Poly-Silicon technology, 262K. The screen is better than the one in an elder model Sharp GX30. Better characteristics are explained with smaller size of the grains, physical size of the screen is smaller (2" against 2.4").
The phone is the best in the grain quality and there are no any similar ones in the market. Poly-Silicon technology is used by other manufacturers but such displays are not integrated into mass products usually.
Let's remind that behaviour in the sun has always been a weak point of CG-Silicon screens and this device is not an exception. Thus that's hard to descry a number on the screen in a sunny weather even despite its dimensions. Font-size is partly a reason, fonts are thin and nicely drawn (for any menu language). The screen is capable to display about 8 text lines, two service headers and lines with icons. There are no any problems with reading from the screen in an even average sunlight. After using the device a strange double feeling remains. On the one hand it's comfortable to use it in the street but on the other hand sometimes not a single character is seen on the screen.
The keypad is of plastic, a navi button is four positional and processes pressures also. Functional keys are disposed in a circle and that looks unordinary but makes no any troubles working with the phone. Number keys are average in size and have a usual motion, they rouse no cavils. Backlighting is probably the only thing that gets out of the whole style, it's green. Characters are seen well not in all conditons.
A Li-Ion 780 mAh battery is hidden under a back panel. According to the manufacturer it's capable of working for 250 hours in the standby mode and 3.5 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the device worked for about 3 days in case of 45 minutes of talks and 25 minutes of using other functions. If a Bluetooth function is active permanently working time with the same duration of talks will decrease to 2 days. Full recharging takes about 1.5 hours.
Those ones who have ever worked with operator models by Sharp will notice that GX25 is extremely like them in the appearance of the menu and main capabilities. The model is completely similar to GX15.
You can enter the main menu by pressing the OK button. Inside the menu you can use the fast number navigation. In our phone, just like in all non-operator’s versions the original appearance of the menu is present, it is a lot more interesting than the interface from Vodafone. The sub-menus are presented with lists, everything is pretty traditional, there is nothing special. The unusual moment in the interface is that all actions are assigned to left soft-key. For example if you miss some calls, receive SMS. The proper icon will appear on the screen, but you will be able to see the info only by pressing the left soft-key. It will not take long time until you get used to such system, it is convenient.
Call manager. Several functions are included here: phonebook, call lists, fast dialing list.
The numbers from both, SIM-card and phone are displayed in the phone book, the memory type icon is seen in the common list. The first peculiarity of the phone is that the fast search can work not only by one letter or three of them, but by full field’s length. I do not think that anyone will decide to type up to 10 symbols in order to find the required contact, but such feature is present anyway.
The group’s icon is displayed on the left from the contact, in the top you can see the default number, photo (if present) and e-mail address. After you press OK you will see all details (three phone numbers, for each one you can define the type, it is possible to have three cellular phones for each contact). Each contact can contain two e-mail address, the address’s type is specified as well (home, work, mobile, other, unknown). The address is not spread into separate entries, you can enter up to 100 symbols. The text note can be filled with 60 symbols as well. The groups can be named as other possibilities (there are 6 of them). You can assign custom ring tone for every contact.
The contact groups can be powered with custom ring tones, LED’s color, and vibrating alert’s type (enabled, disabled, enabled in tact with the ring tone). Up to 500 contacts can be saved in the phone’s memory (with all fields entered as well, it does not matter).
Whenever there’s an incoming call the caller’s id will be displayed in the internal screen, as well as the type of the number and the number as well, a small icon. After few seconds this information will be replaced with the photo displayed in fullscreen mode (if there is any). The function is made on the highest level so far, you can see all what you are interested in. From the phonebook’s menu you can also send SMS no matter how the number is defined (mobile, home, office).
Summing up the phonebook’s possibilities it is possible to say that it has all the required features, on the other hand it is not overloaded with unnecessary functions and is rather flexible. It can be suited for both business and common users.
Call lists. Traditionally all three lists of calls are present: incoming, outgoing, missed. In each list 10 entries are displayed, date and time can be viewed for any of them. From the stand by mode only list of dialed numbers can be accessed. The peculiarity of the lists is cased by the fact that all equal calls are not summed up, but recorded separately.
The fast dialing is possible for 9 numbers, the choice can be made not only for default numbers, but for any of them.
Profiles. The phone has 5 profiles, for each you can setup basic stuff, and some additional as well: reduction of echo during the talk (unique feature), LED’s backlight color. From the stand by mode there is a possibility to change profiles quickly.
Settings. Main settings of the displays – contrast level, wallpapers a headband during an incoming call. There is a minute-timer, which can be used during the phone call. Finally this menu has all settings for MMS, GPRS, WAP. Plus – Bluetooth settings. I’d like to make a note that the phone supports voice only profile, it can be used for data transmission also.
Messages. You can create joined messages up to 1024 symbols. While entering the text you can use the T9, which cannot be filled with new words. The icons or ring tones cannot be added for SMS messages, because the phone is not supporting the EMS. Since the presence of MMS is here, you will not experience big difficulties. The work with messages is simple and plain, you can create several slides with various objects.
The phone has text templates, which can be used in various messages. The phone is missing e-mail client, which looks rather strange.
Gallery. Here you can view all images, sounds and Java apps, as well as the video stored in the phone’s and memory card’s memory. The total memory capacity is 2.1 MB and that's enough for an ordinary user but little for those who are used to getting all possible from the phone. The device supports such formats as Midi, Wav, SMAF.
Organizer. Up to 8 alarm clocks can be setup, they can be used for certain date or for daily usage. The calculator is convenient, the same can be said about the currency converter.
The melody composer allows creating 8, 16 or 32-tone melodies. Everything is pretty traditional, nothing special.
The calendar is showing the whole month, but for a certain date you can enter up to 3 various entry types (meeting, for the whole day, anniversary). A theme may be assigned to every note as well as start and end time, that's possible to set a sound signal for an event. This is much more advanced organizer than we saw in GX30 (only a small text note).
The Dictaphone allows recording files with up to 30sec length. The number of such entries can be limited only by the amount of free memory
Help – curios section, here you can read short information about each section and keys, ways of navigating around the phone. I am desperate to find out, if a person reached this section by himself – will he need the section?
Camera. A 350000 pixel matrix is integrated into the phone and that allows taking photos with VGA resolution and lower ones (480x640, 240x320, 120x160). Two types of file compression are supported, they are Normal, Fine. There is a possibility to set a timer.
The device is equipped with a x4 digital zoom. Contrast level is adjusted (from -2 to +2), turning off the sound of a shutter is impossible. The quality of the picture is very good.
The phone supports recording video (3GP, MPEG4), the size of a single clip is 95 KB. You have a possibility to turn off recording sound, choose compression type. Video is recorded with a frequency of up to 10 frames in a maximum quality, that's little (the resolution is 128x96 pixels).
The camera is one of the best for this class nut is naturally much inferior to megapixel phones (but the class and the price is different there). There is an integrated picture editor that allows editing taken photos, adding frames and icons to them.The function is curious and entertains well.
WAP. This phone has WAP-browser 1.2.1 (xHTML, wml), it works pretty fast. Unfortunately in case if GPRS connection will be unavailable – the phone will immediately start CSD-connection without any warning.
PC Sync. At the moment the only way to sync the data you’re your PC is via the data cable or IrDA. The software comes from Mobile Action, this solution became popular among manufacturers, for example in case with Panasonic X70 we can see the same software. The software allows uploading new wallpapers, fit their size, edit them. The same thing can be said about the ring tones. You can also synchronize contacts and messages. Actually this software provides the required amount of possibilities. The interface is the same as for GZ30.
The network reception quality does not raise any problems, the sound in the loudspeaker is clear without any noises. The volume of polyphonic ring tone is average (40-tones), it's not heard in a noisy street but may be discerned in the room well. The power of the vibrating alert is average or a bit lower, not everybody will like that.
Functionally the phone is a complete copy of Sharp GX15 but in a different form-factor, with a better screen. Strong points of the device are the presence of a qualitative screen (no similar ones in this class and also the best in the market), fully functional IrDA, bluetooth. Good phone book, qualitative camera are also great advantages of the device. In general we may say Sharp has released an interesting model again and one should have a look at it. The phone looks suitably as a fashion solution with a possibility of data transmission. Official sales in Russia may start in the end of December or a bit later. The price will be about 300-320 USD that looks quite sensible. With the price of 250 USD (if that happens in the first quarter of 2005) the device will be a real bargain.
Published 18 November 2004
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