# Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Other than catching the PLAY! symphony my other objective while I was in Singapore was to get a new phone. The Dopod C730. And after hunting around a few clueless shops in Funan IT mall for a while where the best response I got from a shop was.. C730? Oh we don't have no C730? Then I pointed at the dummy unit in their display case then the guy goes.. OOOOOhhh.. THAT C730... Then he starts asking everyone in the shop about it and no one seemed to know the answer, while they were still questioning among themselves about the mythcial Dopod C730 I thanked them for their help and walked away to a shop IN FRONT of theirs.. and what do you know? They DO HAVE A C730!!!

After paying for it and popping my SIM card into the unit 2 things immediately became apparent to me.

1. I think I am right on the money when I mentioned that Maxis must have some form of exclusivity deal on the C730. Because in the phone's auto configuration program the settings for all Malaysian telcos are listed so its pretty impossible for the phone to NOT make it to Malaysia.

2. I think my Citibank Visa card has been disabled, cause the moment I turned on the phone I got 2 missed call SMSes. Then as I was fiddling around with the phone a call came in just as I was holding down the HANG UP button to lock the keypad. I call back the number and... sure enough I was thrown into the Citibank voice mail system. They must be trying to verify the purchase... I wonder if they'd cancel my card since they couldn't contact me and might be thinking it's a fraudulent charge... hmmm.. we'll see.

So.. time for a quick review.

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It's a small thin phone which is just as wide as a ten ringgit note.. And it's gonna be a while before I can get use to typing properly with both my thumbs, I can FEEL that it's possible for me to type properly on it, but if you have big thumbs you're definetly going to have some problems with it so you might want to test out the keypad first before making a purchase.

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The main problem with a full keypad device is, how well does it knows when you're typing LETTERS or NUMBERS as you can see there's no dedicated number buttons on the keypad. So far I'm seeing that HTC did a pretty good job on integrating the keyboard with the OS. When the textbox indicates that it needs a number the keyboard automatically goes into it's number only entry mode so you can key that in without fumbling with the FN key, and when it's a normal text box it'll switch back to letters mode.

When dialing if you type something that uses the number keys the OS searches for both matches to their NUMBER and LETTER equivalents. For example if I typed in FREDDY on the dialler it'll search for both contacts begining with the name FREDDY and also the number sequence 52144, pretty nifty.

The C730 gives you all the high speed connectivty options, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, WIFI. Although I haven't used any of them yet since my unlimited data plan doesn't come into play while I'm roaming and I don't really like the idea of being charged per K when I need to test download something from Soapbox or YouTube. :P

The C730 also uses a new method for acting as a modem, I haven't tested it out yet but.. basically it turns the phone into a router that gives out IP addresses.

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The left side of the phone has the power button, MicroSD slot and voice command button. Pressing on the power button gives you a menu that allows you to switch profiles (normal, silent, etc. etc.), bring up the connection manager (to control WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. etc.), Lock the keypad, or turn off the phone. Holding the power button down turns off the phone. The Voice Command button starts the commonly bundled Cyberon Voice Commander program where you can voice control your phone. The non slip grip strip below the voice command button is something I put there myself the problem being that there aren't that many contact points when you hold the phone so it's kinda slippery so I put the strip there for better grip. In fact.. ironically while I was applying the strip I dropped the phone!!! Luckily it was just a short drop.

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The top is where the USB/Headset port is located. Yes... this is another one of those phones which annoyingly doesn't use a standard stereo jack for sound. I tried to solve that problem but it wasn't a perfect solution, more on that in a later post. I don't like the fact that the cover opens by pivoting, feels like it's just a little rubbery connector... I fear it might break eventually.

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The Right side has the Love it or hate it JOGGR control strip, and the camera button. The JOGGR strip is kinda like a touch pad on your notebook, you slide near the up to scroll up, and slide down to scroll down. Double tap on the middle of the scroll bar to send an ENTER keypress, the top for a BACK key, and the bottom for accessing the message center.

Problem with the JOGGR strip is that it's VERY easy to hit accidentally when you pick up the phone, cause unlike a button, just contacting a touchpad tells it you wanna do something. HTC must have choose to use this instead of a traditional rocker/wheel assembly to save space. Might take some time to get use to and even after you're use to the existence of the strip you might still hate it.. luckily you can easily disable it from the control panel.

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The back of the phone is barren with only the camera lens, and the does this thing really work self potrait mirror. The bulk of the rear is the battery panel which I just have to rant about a bit... normally battery doors are either tight.. or spring loaded (press a button and the hood pops open) On the C730.. you press a button, there's a light click and the battery panel pops open. Which would have been cool.. if it wasn't for the fact that the hook on the battery panel which latches on to the body of the phone is just.. a thin strip of plastic, just look at it in the pic below!!

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The battery is a 1000mAh battery. In other words.. it's a pretty whimpy. It's so whimpy that when you set it to latch on to WCDMA (3G) networks your standby time ain't gonna last you A DAY! While it's very likely the fact that my office in a 3G weak area and thus the phone is just stressing itself out switching among GSM and 3G networks still this isn't acceptable. Thus.. I turned off the 3G mode on the phone, doesn't this just waste the fact that it's a 3G phone you say? Well.. there's no frontal camera, so I can't get video calls. And.. when I NEED to access the net at high speeds I can always turn on 3G then and leave it at GSM normally.

Through my normal usage patterns... (I poke at my phone quite a lot, rss feeds in the morning on the throne via wifi, some browsing via waiting for lunch, some calls, etc. etc.)  leaving the phone on GSM should be able to gurantee one day of juice for me. Which is what I want in my phones. Cause if I have to be away from a charger for more than a day.. I would have brought the charger with me.

Good news is that the phone will charge via any 5V power source, and I have plenty of those so I can charge my phone on the go without any problems.

The camera is a no frills 2MP camera, it takes pictures... no macro, no focusing, no light. So.. it's a camera.. but nothing much. As you can see on the pic below (click for full size) It's your typical camera which produces acceptable results when you have enough lighting.

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As is typical with later generation Windows Mobile phones, it only takes videos up to a maximum resolution of 176x144 which is total BULLSHIT!!! Who's reasoning is this to keep it at such a low resolution, I know a video of that size seems to perfectly fit into the display frame of Windows Media Player on the device but was that the reason that it's locked to that resolution? Did HTC decide on it? Did MS specify the limit? Come on lar.. I know video output from phones like this is usually crappy, but why weren't we given a choice to make crappy, higher resolution videos when the device is perfectly capable of doing it?

Well.. we'll see how it turns out. My friend tells me I'll be regreting my decision in a month when the Kaiser pops up. There are only 2 things which I'll miss.. 1. RDP.. 2. A GPS program.. so we'll see lar.. 


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