Product Type: Panasonic mobile phones
Newest Review: ... not justified. What other horrors could there be lurking within the depths of a Panasonic X70? Admittedly, this phone is not the easiest... more
Panasonic X70 - Solid, but average.
Member Name: garyfinny
Date: 01/03/04, updated on 13/01/05 (1686 review reads)
Advantages: Sleek Looking, Good MMS Editor, Bluetooth Capability
Disadvantages: Poor Camera, Battery Life
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 IMPRESSION S
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.
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.
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
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.
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/
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.