I am somewhat of a Mobile Phone mangler. I have gone through mobiles for one reason or another at a rate of about 1 per year (Sad But True). I was previously a proud owner of a SonyEricsson t68i, totally content with its extremely low SAR rating of 0.33 (Thats the bit that fries your brain by the way), and with its ability to take knocks. What I didn't like was the poor voice quality it offered in my main areas of home/work (I'm with Orange btw), and the constant demands from callers that I should 'SPEAK UP!' I'm somewhat a quiet speaker, and the voicepiece of the t68i, together with its low powered voice/ear combo (hence low radiation) meant I wasn't heard very well. So off I went on the net to find an alternative, a Clamshell phone that would bring the Microphone closer to my mouth. Of all the offerings out there, from Samsung, Sharp, NEC etc. the Panasonic gd87 seemed to offer me what I wanted - Great Build, Great screensize, Great Camera, and good software. Plus, all my walkmans had been panasonics (as was my car stereo) so you could say I was a bit of a Brand Freak. So lets get the opinion going: Design: Standard clamshell fare, though the aerial has me wondering if it could have been hidden away somewhere. The Battery clip is visible, so there is a potential there for it to become lose, but I doubt it and wouldn't bet on it doing so. The Exterior lcd screen is nicely placed, if a bit too small. The Callers name/number doesn't scroll when it flashes up, but thats a minor point. Build: Absolutely spot on. The hinge clicks like it will last forever (like a VW car door ;) The buttons seem like they are built to last too, and the screen can take a few good knocks without issue. Beats Nokia hands down imho. Features: - Camera - much better pictures than a sony t6810 or any nokia I've seen. The problem is, like all phonecams, it needs great lighting. So if
anything, the camera is still gimicky, but it will take off for sure (check out what 3 are doing!) - Sound - great polyphonic sound. I went from beeps to this. At first I was flummoxed, but soon found some .midi files that I downloaded. I now have everyone from work ringing to the tune of KnightRider, and Friends from Airwolf. Ah, the 80s..heh. - Caller ID - as mentioned, the outside LCD doesnt scroll, but thats fine. The best bit is the 'grouping' feature. You can group callers into groups that can have their own Sound/Tune, and Colour (Orange, Green or Blue). When they ring the outside LCD turns bright Orange, Bright Green, or Shocking Blue. Excellent Visbile notifications. I like it. - Phonebook - very difficult to get numbers into it. Say someone called you, its easy to add them to the phonebook. But say your friend called you from home, and you already have their mobile in the phonebook. You cannot 'insert' their new home number into the existing entry, nor can you 'copy' the number into it. However, you can 'ENTER' their number into the entry as their home number. Bizarre. - SMS - worst part of this phone. The T9 software is very bad, it doenst capitalise after full stops, nor does it let you edit the dictionary. Also you cannot go back and change a word, you have to delete it all before it lets you toggle between options. Battery - Poor, it wont last a good 3 days on standby with no calls. Shame really. SAR - approximately 0.65, which isnt great. I do worry about that level, and for that reason I am keeping an eye out for a lower SAR clamshell phone. As a phone, I like it, the microphone is great, and noboby complains about my quiet voice. The speaker is top notch too, its clear as crystal. The build is solid, it will last. If you can put up with a bad SMS and Phonebook, this is a very funky, trendy, attractive phone to have. I would recommend you go to www.ex
pansys.com and get the FoneDataSuite CD, it will let you edit the phone book on your computer, so you can manage it with ease. Summary: Best Clamshell out there, despite some bad software gripes.
I bought this phone eight months ago now as a little treat to myself coming up to Christmas. Initially I was well pleased. I had one of those camera phones that everybody was talking about - and on top of it all, it was THE latest gadget at the time (I am a bit of a gadget freak you see!) But the honeymoon soon ended, and little niggling things started to creep in on my happy relationship (with the phone that is!). I'll start with the phone's good points. It's got a camera, which is the main good point really. The picture quality is quite good, but the images aren't large as the Nokia camera phones. There is quite a large amount of storage available on the phone, and so far I've only had to transfer all my images onto my laptop once (via built in infra-red port, a standard feature nowadays.) The images DO look a little disappointing on the big screen though, especially since I've bought a proper digital camera since to compare them! There are numerous features with the camera also - three "effects" namely black and white (interesting), negative (a gimmick) and sepia (what's the point?), a reasonable zoom option, night-time shooting (don't think it makes a difference) and close-up option (again, seemingly useless). The phone itself functions well in it's capacity as an actual phone - good talktime, and a very quick recharge time (under two hours!) even when completely dead. It looks quite sexy, and it's very light (probably the lightest camera phone on the market.) But here are where things start to go wrong for Panasonic. The text messaging, Lord above the text messaging is a disaster!! Those keys are so incredibly annoying - you actually have to make an effort to press them correctly. In nearly every text message there comes a point where the phone simply will not recognise a letter that you have definitely pressed and then skips it, so that the word you are typing become
s miss-spelled and the T9 predictive text will not recognise the word. Because the display lags behind what you've typed (especially so if you're a fast typist like myself) you end up several words later having to erase all the way back throught the gibberish on-screen to correct the mistake. Highly irritating indeed. The ring tones are simply terrible. Like others have said, only one of the tones is interesting, the rest are simply bothersome. One of the is actually the sound of a racecar speeding past! Pathetic! The game (Herding Sheep) is cute for two minutes and then just looks plain silly. I'm not much of a fan of mobile phone games anyway, but still to include a really dismal one is a let down. The alarm clock has been of particular annoyance to me as it has resulted in me being late for work on three occasions! The problem is that when the phone is in silent mode (vibrate alert only) the alarm will only result in the phone vibrating. If the phone is not resting on a solid wooden surface (which will make one hell of a rattle!) it WILL NOT WAKE YOU! Once I was an hour and a half late for work because of this. This is simply unacceptable. Other phones' alarms will ring whether or not the phone is on/off/silent/etc. When it does ring, the alarm is loud enough to wake you. Many people find the new feature of setting the phone to switch on/off at certain times to be a good idea, but ask yourself, how are you likely to make use of such an item? I get up at 6am and turn my phone on, I go to bed at 11pm and turn my phone off. How is this feature supposed to improve my life huh? The Vodafone Live! service (Irish version) is boring. The usual news/weather/sport/chat/charts/etc is available, but why pay for something most people get free at work on the internet anywa? Or just buy a newspaper - much cheaper. Ask yourself what you did for news before the advent of GPRS/WAP and stick to that because it was probably a lot
cheaper! Finally, the phone seems to have a tendency to switch itself off for no reason also. This could simply be a fault with my phone (I've dropped it a few times), but it's upsetting nonetheless! So looking back, I am sorry that I bought this phone. As soon as my contract has run out I will be selling it and buying the simplest Nokia available (hopefully I'll get my hands on a 6210 again, which was my last phone, and was MUCH more reliable).
I have had this phone for a year now, I really thought that I would be entering the new age of technology with the Photo features. I would soon realise that there is a long way to go if the manufacturers are going to get people to use it as often as text messages. But the problems just start there. Originally the phone seemed better than the Sharp GX10i. The picture was and is sharper, the menu is easier to see and handle. The polyphonic ring tones were of a better mix, and best of all, the Sharp is thicker and bulkier than the Panasonic. There could only be one winner. Couldnt there? Aside from the troubles we had with Vodafone in setting up Vodafone Live (Which still is not working, although they kindly gave us £50 in compensation), the phone quickly became boring and there were a few glitches that need to be sorted. Lets start with the fun stuff, the games. Errr well sort of, one game, which is very boring and holds your interest for about, ohhh, 2 levels. Its a sheep dog game that is slow to respond and serves no real purpose. The ring tones are ok but there is only one very nice fast dance type track on there, and after that, who cares about the rest. The buttons when texting will get on your already frayed nerves, you press the button, but does D appear? No!! In fact any letter can be missed even though you swear you pressed it. It?s not easy to get used to all the hidden menus either. The main menus themselves although clear in design take a lot of getting used to, some sub menus are well hidden. Well to bring this review to a close, the phone has other minor defects as well like the stupid click noise when you take a photo, and you cant turn it off!! Anyway, this phone is ok I suppose but really, save your money and wait for something that will be much better. Me? Well I am going back to Nokia, see you soon.
Overall I was very impressed with the specifications of the phone and although it lacks the more up to date Bluetooth technology you need the cash to buy those expensive extras to benefit from this feature anyway. Infrared comes by means of a port on the front face of the phone, below the camera. This means easiest connection to a laptop would require the phone to be kept open. The first thing you will notice is how easy the menu system is to navigate. Easy thumb operation of the directional and select keys takes no time to get used to. The initial animated graphical menu has nine icons which by default starts on the centre one for camera activation, you may never need this option as there is a camera option on the main display by pressing the top right, usually cancel, button. The phone is fully configurable, to a degree I was not entirely expecting. The group ring tones and graphics are standard these days but would you expect a timed power on/off setting? Full colour images of the people who you are calling or are calling you is pretty smart and the ability to pass contact information between compatible handsets will appeal to most. Voice dialing, I always look for, also includes voice memo for those little things you think of and want to remember. Only one pre-installed game, sheep herding, sounds strange but its fun for a while, downloadable Java games are available through third parties not yet on Vodaphone. Wallpaper and ring tones are also available but as yet only the wallpaper is available directly from Vodaphone at the time of this review. The sound output is crisp and clear making the polyphonic ring tones a pleasure to listen to, the default tones are ok, but I am sure the search will be on soon for some more distinct, personal tones will begin. Your pictures, downloaded wallpaper and tones are all stored in a data folder and are easily accessed. As for the photos you take there are several effects and frame
s you can apply to the image to liven them up. The digital zoom works well for those close ups of your favourite things. The expected battery life takes a drastic dive when using the online features; this is to be expected but a little disappointing. Took my phones on time down to two days, with minimal use of the service and power off between 10pm and 7:30am. As a phone only it does perform to the expected standby time. Don't rush out and buy the flash looking carry case either, I did and needed to modify it radically. The plastic sleeves that hold the phone in the case hold the phone in place well however they also prevent the phone from closing properly and will most likely lead to unnecessary battery drain, as was the case with mine. Please note that buying SIM Free is not as attractive as it sounds as many of the phones features require more than the standard PAYT sims are not enabled for WAP, GPRS...check with provider before making your purchase. Full technical specifications can be found at the Official Panasonic webpage http://www.panasonicmobile.com/frame/e_eng.html As for the Vodaphone Live service, nothing could be simpler. The handset comes pre-configured so there is no need to spend ages looking for setup instructions, just connect and go surf. You can also configure e-mail via the Vodaphone site to a number of accounts which are then listed as options when you logon to the WAP site using the phone. A small complaint is there are no free SMS alert services that are not charged at an unreasonable rate. I know that this is now the normal thing but I was previously on a PAYT provider that did offer free alerts, I will miss them. 24 pence per incoming text, if you were getting daily news/entertainment/sport alerts would soon raise your costs considerably.