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Now that Panasonic has stopped making mobile phones which do not have third-generation technology, it is interesting to take a look at what they have come up with in the past given that their current offerings on the market amount to zero. But, do the users wish that Panasonic stayed away from the market place, or came back with a bang? On the strength of the X70, let us attempt to answer that question.
I managed to pick one of these phones up on Ebay about eighteen months ago for 35 GBP. Admittedly it was locked to Orange, which limited its market somewhat, but was I about to experience the disappointment which drove seven out of ten of the original purchasers to return their X70s to the supplier? Such a statistic was told to me when I was in my first job in the mobile phone industry by one of my colleagues who had been working with them for quite a while (especially with Orange, who had supplied the majority of them to customers), and he was not impressed at my new acquisition. Bearing a few battle scars, and smelling distinctly of cigarette smoke, my new method of keeping in touch with the world had not got off to a good start. Mind you, I actually managed to sell my X70 for more than I paid for it about a month or so later, so there must be a market for them out there still!
The X70 is a small flip phone with two screens and a rather unfashionable external antenna. I thought it actually looked rather nice, and the external aerial did not really bother me as the phone was so small in the first place. Another advantage seemed to be that the keypad was quite large, especially the select button, which is massive. It is one of the few phones, I think, which actually looks better on the inside than the outside. It would have looked even better if the plastic cover which used to cover the charger port had not broken off before the phone came into my hands...
As a phone, the X70 was not actually that bad at all. The internal screen is large and bright, and displays a reasonable 65,000 colours at a reasonable resolution of 132x176 pixels. The same resolution, in fact, as the much newer Siemens S75. The keypad has relatively large, well-spaced keys which make dialling easy, and accessing the phonebook is not very hard either. The ring volume is loud enough, and Panasonic did put quite a few ringtones into these phones to provide aural satisfaction for most users. In fact, the phone will support MIDI, WAV and AMR files, as well as being able to use any of these types of files received via Bluetooth or infra-red as text message alerts, ringtones or alarm ringtones. I seem to remember an option to assign contacts individual ringtones too, which was quite nice.
Reception and battery life seemed fair to average, especially given what sort of the state the phone was in when I got it (the battery was starting to get a little bit loose through overuse, so it would sometimes turn itself off, but only occasionally), so that was fine. So far, then, the seven in ten return rate is really not justified. What other horrors could there be lurking within the depths of a Panasonic X70?
Admittedly, this phone is not the easiest to navigate I have ever come across. As Michael Oryl, editor of www.mobileburn.com pointed out when the phone was new, the Bluetooth function is inexplicably buried somewhere in the office tools menu, and the phone has to go into a special receive mode in order to accept any incoming files. This means that the phone cannot be used at all during an incoming file transfer. As the files which the X70 can store do not appear to be very large anyway (I had difficulty getting the phone to accept anything larger than files 100kb in size), I suppose this is not so bad either. The phone also worked fine with my Siemens HHB-600 Bluetooth headset. Infra-red was also quite puzzling, since whilst being the usual slow speed, it also required holding the phone sideways to send or receive anything, since the infra-red port was on the front of the flip, just about the worst place I have ever seen to put it. However, these factors are still not that bad. Let us to return to general usage to see if anything else springs out to allow the phone to deserve its terrible reputation.
Like many phones, the X70 has a 3x3 grid main menu. This is where the similarity ends, however. Underneath this grid main menu, amazing, are sometimes up to two more grid menus. The fact that the grid menus on my Orange branded phone all used identically coloured and identically sized icons did not help very much either. Of course, many people respond better to pictures than mere words, but it still could have been much clearer than this.
Text messaging is also slightly substandard since the phone does have a character counter, but does not say how many messages will be sent until right at the last stage, and thus those with a small number of free texts will not enjoy that unnecessary credit reduction having gone over by a few characters. There is also a pecularity relating to the actual behaviour of the central select key during the messaging feature. It will record the function it carried out last time (for example, delete, forward or reply), and the next time that it is pressed on a message, it will give the user the option again at the top of the list, rather than the options staying in pre-defined order. Surely the way to do this is to use the central select key as an 'OK' button and to have the left softkey as an 'Options' menu like on every other make of phone? Not according to Panasonic, who decided to make the left softkey redundant in this instance. Still, this could be worse. The keypad is responsive, and the phone is overall quite fast, so the actual writing of the messages is not too bad.
The camera, however, is something of a joke. Even if it has a flash, the pictures are appalling and terrible resolution (352x288 pixels). They would be fine for contact pictures or for Multi-Media Messaging, but they do not cut the mustard for a supposed 'photo phone'. Better are the other colours that the monochrome external screen can flash (as well as the flash LED), including blue, purple, red, green, yellow and orange. These can also be set to flash upon different events, such as calls, text messages, alarms or seemingly anything else! The phone can even be set to flash different colours for different callers, so if your mother rings, it can flash red, so that you know what to do... With a combination of vibration, a custom ringtone and a special LED flash, receiving calls turns into a much more interesting experience!
The Panasonic X70 does not deserve its jaded reputation amongst people in the mobile phone industry. The user-interface may have quite a few unusual aspects to it, and some of these can be quite frustrating, but they are not as bad as some I have seen. The camera may be appalling, and the phone may not have the best build-quality or battery life I have seen, but both of these are no worse than average, really. Some people will actually rather like its slightly dainty looks and flashing lights, and I do not think these do it any harm at all. For 35 GBP, and immediate resale value, I do not think that you can go far wrong with the X70. I certainly enjoyed the one which I had.
Joseph Lloyd (tomshanks)
This is a great phone fully packed with features such as bluetooth and infra red. It also has gprs and WAP capabilities, ideal for surfing the mobile web or checking on email.
As it has a large screen it makes this task easier.
The choice of games is limited though and you are only able to download one more. If you want any more you have to erase the first download.
It is lightweight and also a clam shell design therefore preventing calls being accidently made whilst the phone is in your pocket.
I highly recommend the phone to anyone who is looking for an internet ready phone.
The choice of ringtones is good and you can download many more.
Buttons are a good size to ease typing especially if you have large hands.
Why this phone?
I got this phone given for xmas 2004. It was on my wish list as I had tried to get it on contract previously and was turned down due to having no credit history. I had a good look around all the phones available at the time and judged this to be the best for features and looks.
The phone is rather small for a flip phone. It's only 2.5cm deep with the door closed which I think is diddy compared to other ones that I was looking at. I'ts 10.5cm long (including the ariel) and 4.5cm wide. Its not a teeny tiny phone but it's small enough to fit comfotably into my trouser pockets and easily lost in my bag. (along with everything else!)
The phone is all silver with a shiny metalic silver around the display, camera lens, light and mirror on the cover. The battery and headphone ports are protected by a grey rubber. The phone looks very stylish until you've had it for a few months. I'm not the sort of person who treats my phone with infinite amounts of care. Im not overly clumsy but I do drop them and drop things on them sometimes. As a result the cover is now chipped and scratched. The paintwork scratches easily through general wear and tear and starts to look scruffy before long. You cant change the cover so you're stuck with it Im afraid. Though my nail technician friend nail varnished her's to make it look very groovy. I wont be trying this as ill get it alover the screen knowing me!
Menus and features
The phone is so easy to use, it baisically tells you what to do on the screen (good for all you Nokia fanatics!). All the features and menus are easy to find because they are exactly where you expect them to be.
There is a comprehensive settings menu so you can change absolutely everything.Even the colour that flashes on the cover's display when you get a phone call or SMS etc.
The phonebook is brilliant. You can have up to four numbers per name, three email addresses, their title, company name, a note about them, a photo, put them into a group (thats a type of contact e.g. family, friends etc) and you can specify a ring tone for when they call you. You can set up voice dialling and switch between the phone's memory and sim memory. You can store up to 500 contacts in the phone book.
The games menu allows you to update your list of games for free, buy games and play the games stored on your phone.
The Web browser isn't bad either. You can't browse for free if you're on pay as you go and so you need to chose how you pay. I use GPRS which charges you for the amount you download. You can set it to WAP which charges you for the amount of time you are using the browser. There is a huge range of info and a full list of websites that you can visit. You don't have to only visit mobile websites as you can enter a URL and visit google and ebay for example.
The messaging is easy to use. You can send SMS or MMS or e-mail and change your message settings. You can access your voicemail from this menu and your data folders (pictures and ringtones). It is very easy to send a message as the phone almost tells you what to do. The only problem I have is that when I'm typing a message I always press the red cancel button and end up at the main screen. The phone doesn't save what you have written until after you send it and you can't store a message half way through typing. Very annoying on a friday night kick out time when I'm a little sozzled, as you can imagine!
The data folders contain anything multimedia on your phone. Any photos you take are stored in "My Pictures" where you can move them to another folder and change their name. Ring tones and voice recordings are stored in "My sounds". There are 5 user folders which you can rename and use to organise your photos into categories. There is also a Themes folder which contains the colour themes for your phone's display. The phone has good memory capabilities for storing multimedia and contacts, just not games.It says you can store 900 files but I currently have 134 files and this is taking up62% of the available storage. Therefore it depends on the size of the files you are storing. The storage is 4MB.
The organiser contains your business card which you can send to your contacts or via bluetooth and infrared. There is a syncroniser so you can transfer your phonebook and schedule to your PC. There is a currency converter, alarm clock, schedule, voice memo recorder and calculator. The organiser also contains your connectivity menu for Bluetooth and Infrared dial up. This is pretty hard to get the hang of so refer to the user guide for more info.The Bluetooth isn't the best as you cant use it to browse through folders on other people's phones.They also can't look through your files so you have to send them whatever they want and get them to send what you want to you.A little faffy but not too bad. Both Bluetooth and IRDA connect very fast and send data quickly.
The camera takes some very good photos for a little phone. In poor light the photos are grainy but what do you expect for a phone? There is a light on the phone which is not as good as a camera flash (does anyone expect it to be?) but it does help with the quality of the photo. You can also edit your photos to change the effects (Black and white, negative or sepia) and the size of your photos. You can also add frames to your photos. The user guide says that the camera is 132 x 176 pixels, what this means I don't know but it's something im sure you may want to know.
If you follow the manufacturers instructions regarding the battery's first charge you will have no problems. My mum has the same phone and she didnt. She takes it off charge before it has finished, never lets it go flat and didnt give it a proper charge in the first place. 3months later she has to charge the phone once a day, supprised? No me niether. My lovely battery lasts me 3-4 days and I do alot of texting and play the games alot when I'm bored at work. I once left the games alone to see how long the battery would last. I couldn't not use my camera as normal (I did try to leave it alone, honest!) and I made a couple of short phone calls and texted as i normally do. It lasted 6days before it started saying "please plug me in"!!!
Games and multimedia
The games aren't too bad as long as you're not a major mobile games player. The phone doesn't support Java so if you want a phone for great games, look elsewhere. There is a fairly good range of games available. The phone stores a list of games available on your handset which you can update for free each month. Games costs vary as Orange provide special offers every so often. Generally the games cost £3.00. The quality of the game is ok for a mobile phone but I have seen better. Orange send you SMS's offering you new games but sometimes these games aren't available on your handset
The sound recorder is located in the Settings- Alerts menu. It is fairly good quality but can sound a bit scratchy when you record music to use as a ringtone.It has loads of storage as far as ringtones and pictures go but you can only have two games and one of those is permanent (You cant delete it or swap it for another).
Value for money
It cost daddy darling £190 new on Orange but you can now buy it for about £120 new. if you shop around (for example on ebay or amazon) you can get it cheaper.Right now i saw it on amazon for £60 which is an absolute bargain. Obviously if you get it on a contract you can get it for free. The network isnt the cheapest for calls on pay as you go but customer services have been faultless for me and there are offers and incentives that you can subscribe to.
The afore mentioned messages getting deleted halfyway through typing and premature aging of the cover are the only major problems I have had with the phone. The only other problem I have had is that the signal can be quite poor. Sometimes if I have low signal it wont let people ring me which is a bit of a pain. But at least Orange text you when people have tried to ring you and not got through. It has never caused me any problems and I found it very easy to use. Ive dropped it plenty of times and it has never froze or anything like that. hense the strong rating on the robustness bit.
Something to think about
At the moment there are better (expensive) things on the market.... but think of this. Christmas or birthdays coming up and all you hear is "muuuuuummmmm" or "daaaaaaddddd" or my personal favourite "antie reeeesssooowwww"...
It's going on Amazon for 60 quid. It looks good, they can take photos, they can record their own ring tunes, they can show off to their mates with a slick phone that didn't cost you £300!!! And that's all i have to say, I had alot to say didn't I!!!
Oh must mention, i have posted this review on other sites under the same username that i have here so don't think ive copied it off someone else!
I bought this phone on contract in March 2004, and to be honest I counted the days until I could change it when my contract ended.
Not being a huge tech minded person, the selection was made on looks. Having been told many times, dont judge a book by its cover it should be dont judge a phone by its looks! In this case the functionality and user-friendly capability was absolutely useless.
Ok Ill start with the case. Oval shape, pretty much the same as most of the flip phones out at that time. In dark silver, it did differ slightly to its competitors, who mainly plumped for the platinum silver.
I was disappointed by how easily the case chipped off, even with little use. After using the phone, I usually popped it back in my bag or had it on my desk beside me at work. So I would say that was general use, but to look at it after a few months you would have thought I had used it as a football in the local park. Chips and scratches covered it, making it look extremely sorry for its self.
Next opening the phone. I think that they call it the clam style phone; it opened nicely and felt nice in your hand when making calls, an essential aspect if you like to chat a lot
The key pad was ok, nothing special thats as good as it gets!
User ability I found it hard to find my way around the menu, it wasnt easy to follow and straight forward as I had expected. I thought that a Panasonic product would be well designed and easy to use silly me!
I even had to change the phone a few times, because I found that the screen would crash and cut itself off. Most annoying when you need to make a call or text someone.
Sending text messages wasnt straight forward, like on Nokia or Samsung phones. I kept pressing the exit button and quiting the text, having to start again annoying!
The camera was good quality at that time, but it has been far surpassed by newer models. However it has got a light that can be activated and its actually quite bright.
Ok, thats it. I havent got very many good words to say about it. I usually pass my phones on to other members of the family, but in this instance Im not bothering.
I've now got a Nokia 6170 - a much better phone!
I REALLY like this phone, i've had mine for a year now and after recently purchasing a hellish Nokia 7600 (JUST READ MY REVIEW!!!) I feel I must write about this little jewel! Ok so it doesn't have all the features of some phones, but the fact that it is SO easy to use, has a good camera and doesn't look bad has to count for alot. I would love to have a sim card to still use mine because I truely miss it. If you can get one of these at a good price and just want a basic camera phone then please buy it, it is far better than ANY other phone in its class.
Hi, thanks for taking the time to read this review (it?s my first one). Feel free to rate it or leave your comments, I?ll reply to them as best I can. INTRODUCTIONS So, let?s first introduce our product, the Panasonic X70. Released in the Autumn, 2003, the X70 is the successor to the Panasonic GD87 mobile phone. The GD87 was a massive success, breaking into the mass-market domain (appearing on the majority of UK networks). Panasonic gained credibility; a step up from the ground floor as their previous models, whilst functional; only had minimal impacy on the market. But, since the success of the GD87, many other competitors have moved into the same territory, deciding that silver, clamshell phones with integrated cameras are the way forward. With this in mind, can the X70 manage to achieve the heights of success it?s earlier cousin managed one year previously? FIRST IMPRESSIONS The X70 takes it?s styling much from where the GD87 left off; it?s quite similar, but more refined. Overall size is around 20% smaller, whilst the weight is just 8g lighter, giving a solid, denser feel. The external LCD has been rotated by 180 degrees to provide a nice clock screensaver as well as display the status of the phone. Open the phone up, and you?ll reveal the screen and keypad. The LCD is bright, and can display over 65,000 colours simultaneously, the same as the GD87. The keypad is tactile and pleasant to use. It?s backlit via six very light blue LED?s, much like the keypad on the Nokia 8310. Navigations around the menu are conducted via a central d-pad, which is becoming an increasingly used feature. On the f
ront on the phone is the camera, which comes with the small mirror for taking self-portraits. A nice addition is a flash, to be used in poor light conditions. The infrared port is also on the front flip of the phone. The external LED is only monochrome (only displaying black characters) but the colour of the backlight can be changed to suit your mood. AFTER USAGE: The phone itself isn?t too tricky to use. As said before, navigation is conducted via the central d-pad. The UI (User Interface) has stayed pretty similar to previous phones, meaning that if you?ve only had experience from other phones, you?ll have to take some time to get used to it. The phone uses a good, detailed phonebook system, with each contact being able to have multiple phone numbers, email addresses, and even web-site details. You?re able to set further details for each contact, such as what ringtone to use or whether you?d like the vibrate to be on or off. Call quality is good on UK networks, callers can be heard and the microphone is adept at picking up sound. However, the phone lacks an external volume control (standard to most phones) so adjusting the volume of a too quiet or loud caller will take some time. Sounds are ok on the phone, with built-in polyphonic ringtones, if you get fed-up of those, the phone will support MIDI files in 16 channels. The camera is easy to operate; and with the flash and zoom functions means that it should be able to take a photo just about anywhere. The on-board memory is 4MB ? not tiny, but not massive either. The focus is ok; better are the variety of shutter noises that can be selected. Actually, the camera was the biggest let-down on the phone. Simply put, it hasn?t really been improved from the GD87. The additions, flash and
zoom, only have limited advantages (unless you spend all your life in a dark place). Picture quality is the same. Pictures look ok on the phone, but are outclassed by images taken by the Motorola V600 or Sharp GX20 (both released around the same time). Also, the photos cannot be resized from their default image size of 176x120; so they?re not much use on a website, unless you like really small photos. This resolution is worse than older phones such as Sony Ericsson T610, Nokia 7250 or even the first cam-phone, the Nokia 7650. CONNECTIVITY The X70, by consumer demand features Bluetooth, which allows the phone to wirelessly interact with other Bluetooth-enabled devices. The Bluetooth works well and is definitely a positive inclusion. However, I found that extended use of the Bluetooth function seriously damaged the battery life; from the manufacturers original quote of 12 days standby, with average use you?re actually looking at two to three days of use. Infrared is supported as well; but the placement of the IR shield made it difficult to use with my laptop, whose IR port is just above desk level. It would have been better to include it on the side of the phone, an advantage of which would be you could use the screen at the same time. Internet is supported, meaning you can use the X70 as a modem (top speed 28.8kbps), and POP3 support is included, meaning that you?ll be able to get your email on the move. You?re able to specify more than one email account and even have signatures for your mail; useful given that your replies aren?t going to be long anyway. The phone also features WAP 2.0 via GPRS, but the lack of decent applications on WAP means you?ll probably not use this frequen
tly. EXTRAS The X70 features the best MMS editor, or picture editor that I?ve seen. After you?ve taken a photo, you can frame it (not literally) with numerous funny settings, like a heart shape or a beach. Also, you add text, edit text, and even create a slideshow. Perfect for adding captions to drunk people and sending them on to friends, there is unlimited fun to be had here. The phone also features a fully-fledged organiser as most do nowadays. It?s possible to not only book meetings but also set alarms for days way into the future. To be honest, I didn?t use this much but it seems pretty standard. There are also five bundled games with the phone, three provided by Atari, with some classic games such as Space Invaders and Centipede, and a blatant rip-off game called Crazy Cobra (otherwise known as Snake). The games are fun to play for a while. The phone doesn?t support Java, meaning that you won?t be able to download the large range of Java applications available. A system called In-fusio is used, however, whether this proves to be a more successful platform for development remains to be seen. AVAILABILITY Currently the X70 is available on O2, Vodafone and Orange networks. Prices do vary, but I would expect the phone to cost very little or nothing when signing for a new contract; maybe £50-100 on an upgrade. It?s not available as we speak on Pay as You Go, but it?s very likely to be released as a high-end PAYG phone in the near future, pricing at below £200. For the latest price alerts, join our Yahoo Group at http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/lowestpricepayg/ CONCLUSION: The Panas
onic X70 gets a rating of THREE STARS. It?s by no means a bad phone, and is good-looking and fine to use. It would have been great six months ago, but there have been simply not enough enhancements. Competition has caught up, and the X70 finds itself been outclassed by phones such as the GX20 and V600, both of which are capable of shooting video and have much better cameras. The phone is good value for money, especially if you can get it on a contract for nothing, or a cheap upgrade. But if photos are your thing, there are better phones out there.