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Review Panasonic X300
It is clear that the Panasonic Company made the European market its target. This fact became obvious at one of the recent CeBIT exhibitions where Panasonic booth attracted a number of visitors, although not being the biggest one there. The key to such attention was a range of intriguing phones of original design and unusual set of functions.
Panasonic X300 was definitely one of the capturing models at the CeBIT exhibition and we are glad to present it finally at the mobile-review.com. One of the most special features of this phone is the integrated digital camera that implies a very original way of operating it. Well, let us review everything in order.
The dimensions of Panasonic X300 are 92x49x21mm with the weight of 87 grams. These parameters do not differ very much from the other models of Panasonic. On the one hand, the dimensions are very convenient - gentlemen can always carry the phone in the front pocket of their shirt not suffering from any discomfort.
On the other hand, ladies tend to simply loose these phones in their purses. Thus, we cannot fully appreciate the dimensions of the phone. Overall, the purchasers will have the last say after they put the phone into the hand palm to judge whether the model is too tiny in size. In any event, it will not seem big to you.
In our opinion, the size and the weight of the phone are very well balanced - you will never get tired of holding the phone in your hand. The rubber inserts on the sides of the phone will not allow the mini phone to slip out of even damp hand.
The convenience of practical use
All in all, the dimensions of the phone do imply the minor size of its buttons, which means that the main users target group will be of men since the buttons are too small. In addition to that, the keys are located too close to each other. You mostly suffer from this while creating the SMS-quite often would you press “4” instead of “1” etc.
The double-positioned scroll key is well put aside from the other operating keys, so you will not face any problems here. I doubt there are any additional advantages to mention about the keypad of this phone.
On the left side of the phone, you can find the shutter of the digital camera. However unexpected this is, but it is where the shutter is located - not on the backside of the phone like in all other present-day mobiles. The shutter is equipped with a tiny mirror for the self-portraits.
The shutter slides open when you press the button underneath the viewfinder. If you push downward with a bit more force, the LCD display of the phone opens up 90 degrees wide. When we turned the phone towards us with the display open, we had a revelation of deja vu. True this is, with the display opened up, Panasonic X300 strongly reminds you of a tiny digital camera. Some people actually do tend to take the phone for the camera. The only thing that speaks of the phone’s belonging to the mobile family is the keypad with the numbers on it. On the right side of the phone, you will find the only button that activates the photo mode and allows you to make a shooting. You will come to appreciate the convenience of this button while using the camera with the opened display.
The display of the phone is only 35x35mm in size with the resolution of 128x128 pixels. It can reflect up to 65 000 colors’ fades.
The image’s quality on the display is outstandingly good; you should recall as a comparison the previous Panasonic’s phone Panasonic G51 (G50), which displayed a picture of mediocre quality although being equipped with the colorful display. The quality of the display in Panasonic X300 can be compared to the one of Samsung C100.
The STN technology of Panasonic X300 allows you to see well all the data on the display even in the artificial light. However, you will have to make a certain effort to read the information under the sun. Unfortunately, the phone lacks the screen savers and in the stand-by mode, the only thing you will see on the screen is the date and the time that are not even very legible.
The menu of the phone does not remind of any menu previously used in the Panasonic’s phones. I would rather compare it (giving way to Panasonic X300) to Nokia’s menu. When entering the menu, the user will see a kind of a circle with the names of options and icons on it that will take you to the general lists of local menus when you press them.
The main menu is designed with the great taste. Judging subjectively, the animation of the menu makes the work with the phone more enjoyable if not even easier. However, this “fun” design means that the phone is mainly meant for those, interested more in the form, not in the content of the phone. Let us review each of the offered functions in details.
It is interesting how the first function displayed by default on the phone’s display is the My Phone folder (that offers different settings). I will just jog your memory by the fact that most manufacturers tend to bring the mode of SMS creation to the first place and by no means the settings. Well, let us get back to the topic.
When opening the local menu My Media you will see all the media files you created-standard images, video clips, the audio recordings. You can send/receive all of this using the MMS and of course use the pictures as the wallpaper. You do not stand a chance to send the multimedia data anyhow but using the MMS since Panasonic X300 is not empowered neither with IrDA nor with Bluetooth.
This is where you can make changes in the musical aspect of the phone. It is remarkable that you can set an individual volume of the speaker for every one of the phone’s subscribers. You can also change the standard volume of the service signals, of messages of incoming SMS, and of ring of the alarm clock. It is also noteworthy how you can adjust different ring tones and melodies for the subscribers already put into the phone book and for the unknown ones. Of course, you can choose various sounds for the alarm clock and for the signal of the received SMS.
This function allows you to make changes for the display. For example, for the wallpaper you can use the images from the phone’s memory, the pictures taken with the digital camera or the images downloaded from the Internet.
There are only two animated screen savers, which come out when you switch off the phone. When you turn on the phone, the Panasonic band is displayed.
You can select different languages for the T9 dictionary and for the menu’s interface. Mobile-review.com obtained for testing the Panasonic X300 meant for the sales on the European market. Consequently, we cannot talk of the home localization here – this model does not have the Russian encoding. However, the phone that is to enter the market for the sales in Russia will offer Russian language just as all previous models did.
The ring settings are standard. You can split the list of subscribers into groups identifying a ring melody, its volume, and the backlight of the display for each.
It is equally convenient to use the phone book from the phone’s memory and from the SIM-card. When creating a new contact you can choose whether you wish to save it on the SIM-card or in the phone’s memory. If the latter one is the case, you can also add to the file (in addition to the home and mobile numbers) e-mail address, memos or else include a contact for one of the subscribers’ groups.
The in-built memory allows you to save up to 500 contacts. You can access the phone book by pressing the operating key on the right.
Three games-Puddleland (one of the Lode Runner types), Quadball (Tetris type), and Exode (a variant of the “Brick Game”) are included into the phone by default and you cannot delete them.
The easy to use WAP-browser Openwave Systems is offered in this model. The small screen resolution (the display can read five text lines only) slightly troubles the convenience of working with this browser. GPRS 8 (4+1) is provided for the data transmitting.
You can create up to 11 bookmarks and even several profiles for the data transmitting. This would be especially helpful for those using the service of more than one operator to send the information.
Digital camera of the VGA standard that allows obtaining the images of the maximum resolution of 640x480 pixels is one of the greatest phone’s features. You can make video clips of 320x240 pixels resolution (CIF).
There are two ways to activate the photo mode: you can do it either through the main menu or by pressing the special key (already mentioned above) on the right side of the phone.
The integrated memory of 3 MB capacity lets you save up to several dozens of pictures of the best quality and approximately 20 video clips that would not be more than 15 seconds in length.
The quality of the obtained image does not really differ from what in-built digital cameras from other manufacturers have to offer - the pictures would be of almost the same brightness with the same color’s specter. Even with the “cool” way of using the camera (that reminds you of up-to-date video cameras) taken into account, the camera is not functionally superior - it just resembles the integrated VGA cameras of the majority of the mobile phones.
This is where you can create both - common SMS messages and the multimedia MMS messages. It is unusual that the first type offered to the user by default is the MMS one. According to Panasonic, the SMS (that are more in use anyhow) are less popular than MMS. However, you will get used to this feature and the creation of the SMS will not be a problem.
The ergonomics of the phone taken into account (small keys and their very close location to each other), I would say that the creation of the messages on the Panasonic X300 keypad is not an easy task. You can save up to 240 SMS messages in the phone’s memory. The memory for saving the MMS is dynamically shared by applications, pictures and video clips in the “operating space” of 3MB. It seems that with the frequent exploitation of the MMS and other multimedia functions of the phone, the offered memory capacity might not be sufficient.
All other options of the menu function are standard and do not call for any discontent.
All the settings that have to do with the technical options of the phone - ring tones (pricing, number displaying, etc.), safety setting (PIN and PUK codes and everything that comes along), and the forwarding of the calls are kept here. You can definitely choose the network. Everything is nice and clear.
All the programs that we can call “the applications for the day and events planning” are kept in this folder.
The appointment, the alarm and the ring are offered in the calendar as the three types of the events. For every note, you can set the starting and the ending time of the alarm and the frequency with which you can hear it. In this case, if you set a corresponding memo in a calendar for some chosen date, the marked day of the event will be highlighted with the special color.
The Scheduler function allows you to view all the memos from one bookmark without roaming around the calendar. In addition to that, you can save in the Notes folder the most important files for which you do not need an alarm.
Talking of the time setting in Panasonic X300 available in this menu, I have to mention a very interesting and a very rare function of an automatic on/off phone switching at the set time. This will be extremely valuable for those, who want to save the battery for longer. On the other hand, you can set five different time settings for the alarm clock with an option of repeating them in the chosen weekdays.
No exceptional functions are offered for the calculator, which is not necessary in any event since the most important thing is the convenience for the user. The currency converter is available.
Melody Composer is another nice, simple and not overloaded program. You just have to enter the notes and select an instrument to create a melody. You can save up to five self-composed melodies.
All that is left to tell is about the durability of the battery and the ring tones of the phone. Panasonic X300 is equipped with the Li-Ion battery of the 780 capacity m that can work up to 2.5-3 days when the phone is normally used every day (several SMS, approximately 15 minutes of talk, and the active use of the menu). It takes less than two hours to charge the battery.
The integrated dynamic in Panasonic X300 provides a truly great sound of 40-tone polyphony. You simply cannot miss the incoming call nor when at home neither in office or even on street. Of course, to be on the safe side you should set the vibrator (which is also of a good force) when in club or in some other loud place. The speaker in this phone is not only of good force-it is also of a good quality-you can well hear your interlocutor without any distortions.
Panasonic X300 left a very decent impression on the author of this review. The phone is definitely noteworthy, original, and attracting with its pop-up display. The design of the phone is advanced although not revolutionary with the ergonomics more applicable for the ladies. On the other hand, it is troublesome to include the phone into any specific category. The phone functionally belongs to the middle class although the Pop-up display and the way of using it makes path to the top-end category for the phone.
Panasonic X300 will be put on sales in Europe at the end of August-at the beginning of September 2004. The approximate pricing will be 300 Euro. The record sales for this model are difficult to foretell since the main category of purchasers is hard to identify and the price (with the moderate set of functions kept in mind) is not justified. At the end of the year, the price of the phone will fall approximately by 50 Euro, which should positively effect phone’s sales ranking.
Published 02 August 2004
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