* Prices may differ from that shown
I have just unfortunately had to buy this phone, as my other lovely pink one has water damage and is being replaced thanks to Endsleigh insurers (read seperate review they are great).
The phone itself isnt too bad looking, its not to heavy, its got a nice silver front (bit scratched). Theres a camera that rotates so you can take pictures of yourself or of other people. Its not a very good quality camera, but it does the job and you can view the pictures ok.
Its a flip phone, so when you open it you get the main screen. When the phone flips open it has an annoying click that is starting to drive me mad. This isnt an electrical click, its just bad design.
The main menu is easy to use as theres a menu key so you go straight to it. Making and receiving calls is simple, as is texting as it has predictive text.
The screen is colour and although the colours arent very vibrant you can definately tell the difference.
The choice of ringtones is very limited, and you cant upload music from your computer. However it does have a plug in for headphones so there must be a download function through the phone.
Its on 3mobile, so I can check my minutes and texts easily through the my3 internet page which is free to use.
Considering I got this phone for 22pounds from CEX second hand, it is quite a good bargin. It has a good battery life, and I can hear callers well and I learnt how to use it in about half an hour.
I cant wait to get my sony ericsson back though, as I miss my mp3 player on it! So boring walking to work now without it.
If you are looking for an easy to use, slightly stylish and cheap phone then this is the one for you.
Well, this is it. The forth phone I have owned since September '04. From the lowly Trium 110p to the NEC e313, on to the Motorola A835, I have a habit of getting cheap phones that break down easily. From this, I decided it was time to get a decent phone. So off I trotted to the City Centre.
Four hours later, and I am lost, cold, hungry, and slightly frightened at all the shoppers running round muttering to themselves. I have searched everywhere for a decent phone, and have only one place left to look... The Link.
Now, my budget was considerably higher than it has been in the past, due to a very nice payday. I had already planned that a hundred quid was the maximum I was going to part with. But for some reason I could not find a good, affordable 3 mobile phone anywhere. Then I spotted this little phone hanging from a shelf.
(Why do they attatch them to a little bolt? They aren't real, and I couldn't even open this one)
The first impression was very good. It was attractive, stylish, and small which was something I did not expect from a 3 phone. It was in my budget range, but still a bit expensive at £85 pounds with £15 worth of credit. Checking the features, many of the nowadays standard functions were missing, such as bluetooth, infrared, pre-installed games, and internal antenae. I was dubious, but I wanted to get home before I became one fo the zombified shoppers and I hadn't found any cheaper phones. So went for it.
The one I bought has a black shiny bit (There really is no other word for it... it is the area below the light that takes up some of the cover that contains a speaker) although you can buy silver and red. I have not seen any other colours yet, but they might be some. There are not any changeable covers from what I have seen, but you can buy cases and all that jazz.
Parting with the money was hard, but then it always is, right? After handing over a thick wad of cash (Well, four twenties and a fiver) I walked out of the store £85 poorer but one phone richer than before.
Aftre getting it home, I emptied the box. Inside I found a phone (obviously, I would have been worried if I didn't), a battery, a charger (which seems universal to NEC phones), a hands-free kit, and a pack containing a sim card, manual, and leaflets for 3. The only disappointment here was that most NEC phones come with 2 batteries, whereas this phone only had one. The battery is different though, and I will mention this later...
The phone looks nice enough with its little shiny bit, and silver-surrounded light. The aerial is a bit ugly, but nothing too important. It is a nice little clam shell / flip top phone to look at, and small and lightweight too.The colours work together well, and the shiny bit has little flecks of silver in it which kinda shimmers in the right light. The clam shell is slightly stiff, so the infamous "flick" is almost impossible to do. Also, the hinges feel slightly unstable to me, although this may only be my phone. Still, they don't seem to be getting any worse, and I haven't owned any clam shells before, so it might be standard.
Inserting the sim card is easy. This suprised me, as I was used to the A835 hit-and-miss door system. The position and positioning is clearly marked, and it fits snugly and tucked away. The battery is slightly harder to insert, and needs to be lined up correctly. The battery does not have a cover, as it is one of those batteries fitted with a cover, if you know what I mean. It fits very tightly, and doesn't come off unless you want it to meaning it won't come loose in your pocket.
Charging it is equally easy. Connecting the charger is simple enough, and a little green light comes on to tell you it is charging. The charger comes as two pieces, but it doesn't take long to put it together. Anyway, I decided to play about with the phone while it was charging, so I turned it on.
The phone almost instantly flashes to life. The bright, large colour screen lights up immediatly, and the logo of 3 mobile flashes across the screen in a "mercury" effect. Soon after the animation is shown, the main screen comes up.
The icons in the menus and on the home screen are very clear, and leave no doubt as to what they can be. Extra buttons can be added to the home screen for faster access. All the icons are full colour. Also, the icons on the home screen can be rearranged, and a wallpaper can be added. You can even add a calender, so you can really go all out to customise the phone.
First thing to do with ALL 3 mobiles is to ring 444. This basically activates the phone. Ok, that was easy enough. While doing this, I decided to check the speakerphone.
The sound quality through the speakerphone is very good, as clear as it sounds through the earpiece. It is a bit tricky to put it onto speakerphone, as you have to access a menu to do so. But since the chances are you will rarely use the speakerphone, this doesn't matter.
The thing that hits out most about the phone is the speed with which it charges. I had only made the call to activate the phone, plus gone on to the browser to download a game to my new phone and played it for a bit, when it finished charging. Took about an hour and a half in total. I was slightly put off by this, as my old phones charged fast but died quickly, but I just got on with playing.
Next stop was the ringtones. Keeping some of the same tones as other NECs, the also change some. I missed the James Bond tone, but was happy enough as I simply uploaded my own. The problem that became apparant here is the biggest fault in thsi phone.... the sound quality.
The speaker on the phone is small, I know, but never the less this is no excuse for such bad sound quality. My 313 seemed good enough, and the A835 blew me away, but this is horrible. MIDI files are too quiet, and MP3 sound very scratchy and annoying. This is definately one for MIDI only. Another thing that kinda bugged me was that it does not support true tones, or MP3 ringtones. Even though few phones do, for such an expensive phone I would have liked it to play my good old Crazy Frog tone.
Then I went on to the camera. The quality is absolutely fantastic! The video can record anywhere up to a minute in low quality, and 25 seconds high quality, and it looks smoother than on any other phone I have seen. The photo quality is good too, although the pictures are small, about half the size of most phones. This is fine though, unless you plan to upload them onto your PC. This also presents a problem with sending picture messages. Most phones support much higher resolution so these pics will appear very small on screen. A nice little feature, however, is the ability to edit pictures on your phone. Although nothing huge, it is a nice addition that I had not seen in any other phone to date.
Texting is an important part of mobile phones, and people prefer it to be easy. On this phone there are many options available while texting: Standard press-button-over-and-over format, T9 format, number format, capitals, all caps, no caps.... the list goes on! Also you can email or send pictures, sounds, and videos via MMS. The characters are easily laid out as well, so texting is very fast.
The battery is brilliant. It can last for a long time from a short charge. Mine has lasted as long as 3 days without being charged, and only being used for short calls and texting. This is great as most other 3 mobiles have atrocious battery life, simply because they have so many features packed into them. As I already mentioned, it is also considerably slimmer than most batteries and as such is much more lightweight than initially expected.
For those seeking furthur customisation than just ringtones and wallpapers, you can change the vibration, and even the pattern which the light and keypad flashes! There are also four customisable "profiles", whereby you choose the volume, brightness, vibration, ringtones etc. of the phone, and then select the required profile at the right time. It is easy to make this phone completely suit you.
All in all, the phone does come across as very good. The functions are easy to get used to, although the keypad is a bit wierd (What is up with the 5 button?), and aside from the ugly aerial it is an attractive and sleek looking phone. However, a considerably large price and a distinct lack of features just knock it off the 5 star rank.
For ease, and skim readers, I will now list good and bad points:
-High quality camera
Seriously, the camera is fantastic. Just thinking about everything I can record, snap, edit.... it's great! You can be the one everyone pesters for "THOSE" party pics!
-Easy to use
It is fast and easy to set up and use, and texting is faster on this brand of phone than any other I have seen.
-Small, light, and stylish
It is far smaller and lighter than most other 3 video phones out there, although not as small as some of the more expensive phones on other networks. Never the less, a nice phone to look at.
The battery is quick to charge and lasts for ages! This is one of the best parts of the phone.
You can use old NEC cables to link it to your PC and transfer sounds, pictures, and videos to and from your phone. You will need to find the software yourself though, through a search engine, a forum, or an online store.
-Poor sound quality
It is truly atrocious. You need to have vibrate on unless there is no noise around, else you won't hear it.
This looks a bit ugly. It isn't a huge thing, just some people may be put off by this.
-Expensive yet lacking features
For a phone that costs £85, it is lacking many standard features. Bearing in mind that cheaper phones have bluetooth and infrared, it is a bit disappointing that this one doesn't.
The memory is 17KB which is good for standard, but not as good as other phones for lower prices. You cannot even buy a memory card for this phone, meaning PC transfer is important.
Well, I did not break this one, but I have a new phone. The reasons for this include the O2 Genie simcard I recently acquired, which is not compatable with this phone (which apparantly, can not be unlocked) and general boredom. The lack of features did get wearing, despite the nice appearance and suprising durability. It just lacks the oomph that most phone have. I guess what I am trying to say is, this phone is very much reccomended for business use, but I certainly would not reccomend this for social purposes.
I have also updated most of this review, hopefully making it a bit easier on the eye! Aside from this, not much else left to say.
Look out for a review on my new Sony Ericsson T630 soon...
www.mididb.com - Some MIDI for ringtones
www.winmx.com - File sharer, for MP3s and the like
www.google.com - For images, or for searching for the software
Also check out - My other phone reviews!
My mom bought this phone as she was desperate for a cheap pay as you go phone with a camera. She bought it for £64.99 at Christmas and as she is bored of it now as my dad has given her his brand new contract nokia phone. Why oh why he couldnt have offered me it I decided to share with you how the NEC 338 has treated my mom.
If we first take a look at the specifications of this phone:
Standby 116 hours.
Talk time 200 minutes.
Video call 130 minutes.
Camera Self timer and 2 x Zoom.
Resolution 220 x 176 pixels.
Now I will take you through some of the more important things you would like to know about the phone and tariff.
Cost for 3 prepay:
Prepay phones on 3 are a little different. When you buy a voucher it will only last for 30 days from the day it is activated on your phone. After those 30 days, the voucher will be wiped and any remaining credit will be deleted which is the one thing that I didnt like about the 3 prepay service. However as my mom usually spent over £20 a month she found it useful that she was limiting herself each month to £15 so she got the use out of the voucher. Here are the voucher prices and what you get;
£15 Voucher this voucher basically gives you £15 to spend on whatever you like. You can text, make calls and download.
£25 Voucher equivalent to 500 minutes or 500 texts and then £1.50 left to spend on whatever.
£35 Voucher equivalent to 750 minutes or 750 texts and then £1.50 left to spend on whatever.
Also you can ask for specific vouchers just for downloading in stores which are available for £10.
As the NEC 338 is only available on prepay I thought it would be useful to tell you those figures.
We all know that the first thing anybody thinks about a phone is how it is going to look. Go ahead and deny it but we would all prefer a nice looking petite little phone to a big heavy brick of a phone any day. The NEC 338 is actually very nice looking for a phone from 3. The most common colour of this phone is actually silver but if you are lucky you can get your hands on the black version which looks really good. Unlike many of the 3 and NEC phones, the 338 is actually quite small and although it is quite thick, it in no way looks huge. It is a flip phone and the display is big and easy to see which was good for my mom as she has a bit of her problem with her eyesight and it is a pain for her to keep putting on her glasses every time she wanted to look at the phone. Luckily this phone displays writing quite large and she was able to see everything without rummaging for her glasses.
This phone is very easy to use. You can make calls by searching through your phone book and just pressing the green button on whomever you want to call. Call records are kept within the phones memory so you can see who you last made a call too, who you received a call from and who called you when you missed it. It will also store call times so you can keep a monitor on how long you are spending on the phone. This is very important especially when you are using pay as you go as you do not want to run out of credit with one phone call. My mom found it useful to get used to how much it cost on her phone by spending a minute talking to people and then phoning up to find out how much credit she had left. This way she was able to monitor exactly how much she was spending and limit herself.
Not that my mom ever used text messages because she does not know how although I have tried to show her countless numbers of times I investigated for myself. This phone texts exactly the same as my LGU8100 and nokia phones. This means it is easy and quick and the fact that nokia phones are the most popular to buy shows that most people will not have a problem with texting on this phone. Text is quite big so is easy to see and predictive text is available. Also by holding down the # key, you can access the symbols so you can add ? or @ or ) to your texts plus many more. On your 338 phone you save received texts to your inbox but also you will have an outbox which is where all your sent texts will go so remember to empty this once in a while. Also there is a draft facility so if you are in the middle of writing a text and something else comes up you can save it to continue later.
On the same lines of texting is picture messaging. Very easy to do. You have the option when you go to text of sending a multimedia message instead of a normal text. Select this and then it will take you to a screen similar to a text where you can add the contact names and then add the picture by searching through your personal pictures you have saved on your phone. The 3 phones usually have this multimedia section set up automatically so you should be able to go straight ahead and use it when you first get your phone.
Using the camera:
Using the camera is easy. Select the camera option from the media section in the menu. The camera on the 338 is rotatable so you can watch on the screen as you take a photo to get the perfect picture. Also it is good for instances like when you are with a friend and you want to take a picture of the 2 of you but there is no one around to take the photo for you. Just rotate the camera towards you and there you are. The camera quality is excellent and as you move the camera around a room, it will keep up with you pretty well. Pictures turn out very well indeed and you can change the type of picture by choosing the brightness, zoom and type i.e. black and white.
Linking in to the camera is taking videos. Video quality to be honest is not the best it could be but for a mobile it is pretty good. Video streaming is impressive and although I am not sure what the total time you can spend videoing something for is I know you can do it for over 5 minutes as we have done this taking videos of the dogs at Christmas. Video calling however is very impressive and although I am sure again that the quality in phones will get better, the 3 phones are excellent at it. The sound and picture quality is great but to get the best picture try to keep the phone still and get your contact to do the same. Video calls are fun but do cost a little extra money so be careful with how long you spend on there. The 338 phone has a nice big screen so you should be able to see the other person clearly.
Like with many phones now, you will be able to download wallpapers, games and ring tones. The good thing about 3 phones like the 338 is that the screens are quite big and you can download full music videos straight to your mobile. 3 have a thing called quickplay video streaming which means that 3 video content is automatically available on your mobile. The quality is pretty good and videos are clear. The thing that does annoy me however is that when you download ring tones they do not last for the whole song and instead will consist of the most popular bit of a song. It is good though as you can download chart releases with real sound which is quite fun to have. The music videos are updated a lot and you can usually find the most recent releases there to download. Wallpapers are fun and you can choose from cartoon ones to photos of celebrities. I downloaded Colin Farrell onto my moms at Christmas. She said it made her smile every time she flipped open her phone.
The 338 contains other normal features such as calculator, a decent selection of ring tones and an alarm clock. It will contain no games to begin with though so you will have to download them if you are an avid phone gamer. Also you can access and send and receive email from your 3 phone although I am ashamed to say that I have not figured out how to use this service yet. Your NEC 338 also contains speakerphone so video calling is great and you have the option to turn it on during phone calls which is good when you want to take a call but also carry on with what you are doing. The speakerphone is not that loud though so try to stick in the same room in a decent range. Also this phone has infrared and Bluetooth capability do you can transfer files easily to another phone or computer.
Me and Moms Verdict:
My verdict is that it is a phone and it does the things you want it to do like phone people and text and it also does more. Although I am not really into the video calling as I do not know that many people who have it, I like the idea of it and it is fun to have it on your phone. The downloads you can get for this phone are very entertaining as there is a good range but be careful as they can become expensive. The only complaint that I would have about the NEC 338 is that I do not like it that the prepay vouchers expire but that is hardly the phones fault but for this reason I would not buy this phone as you can only get it on prepay. However it is a gorgeous, nice looking phone with fantastic features and small too. You could do a lot worse.
My mom types to you now;
I have generally been happy with the phone although I have had problems with the network. I do not understand exactly all the features but I have had a good go at trying to and I have had a nice 9 months using this phone. It has never broken or had any technical problems so I have been extremely lucky. I would recommend.
Ok me again now;
I think you will agree that it is a nice phone to have but come on 3 we need you to change the voucher expirations, maybe make them 60 days so it gives people a better chance at using them. Within the box you will get your phone, a manual, a charger and a hands free kit. Bluetooth sets can be bought for about £39.99 at the cheapest in the shops or eBay will have some bargains.
Thanks for reading.
I must have gadget freak written in some sort of secret code on my front door, that only salesmen can read. Not too long ago, a salesman from Three managed to read this hidden notice and knocked on the door ready to introduce me to the world of 3G telecommunications. Part of the deal he was offering me, was a very smart looking NEC 338, and of course being the techno-freak that I am, it took very little persuasion to get me to sign on the dotted line.
Three days later and my new toy was delivered by Royal Mail, and I excitedly opened the box, to find :
My new mobile phone,
A charger (that came in two parts)
A welcome pack from Three including my USIM card.
The 338 is a smart clamshell design, the main body of which is black, with the flip top being silver. Being from Three it has a discreet 3 on the front. Measuring in at 93.8mm x 47.1mm x 23.3mm, whilst not being the smallest phone on the market, it is certainly a reasonable size. I personally don't like tiny mobile phones, as I would be afraid of losing them. The only thing that degrades the look is the aerial, I'm used to Nokias with their integral aerial, whereas this has one sticking out of the top.
~~~Charging the battery~~~
The battery charges remarkably quickly, even the first time. The first charge took approximately 4 hours and subsequent charges have taken less than 2. The instruction manual states that you shouldn't leave it charging for more than five hours, so I would say this is the maximum time they expect it to take. Unlike my previous phones (which have been Nokias) there is a light that comes on the front of the phone while charging and then goes off once the phone is fully charged, something that I found very handy.
Once charged the battery life, is pretty good, when used for calls and texts. I need to charge the phone every two to three days with reasonably heavy usage. However, using 3G services does seem to drain the battery a lot quicker.
The battery life indicator however is not very accurate, only having three steps, full, half full and nearly dead, which I find a little awkward (with my Nokia 3100 there were 6 steps and I had a much better idea of how much power the battery still had).
It seems to take a long time for the phone to boot up, as least twice as long as my previous Nokia, which can be a bit annoying, as I often have to take my son to hospital, where it needs to be switched off. I'm an inpatient so and so and hate waiting for it to spring back into life, switching off is almost as slow.
The full colour screen looks extremely impressive, is very large and colourful, nicely backlit and displays everything clearly. However it does seem prone to finger smudges and needs wiping quite often.
The actual main screen has a battery life indicator along with signal strength and three balls that indicate whether you are in a 3G area, ( three balls filled in and you are, two and you're not).
~~~The menu system~~~
Although actually very well thought out the menu system can seem a little confusing after having used a Nokia, but after a few uses its become almost like second nature. My only problem being that when I've used the camera, instead of being taken back to the main screen I always seem to end up at the menu.
As someone that is used to Nokia's address book system, it took me a while to work out how to add contacts to the phone. But I got there eventually, and it's surprisingly easy. Simply tap in the phone number and then press the hotkey under add. You then have the chance to enter the name of the contact, type of phone (home, mobile, office), their email address and even a photo (if you have one on the phone). Unfortunately you can only add one number per contact, but different types of number are represented by different icons. (E.g. home is represented by a house). amazingly you can save upto 500 contacts, I don't even know enough people to store 50.
Making voice calls is simple, as it is with most phones, it's simply a case of inputting a number (or finding it in your address book) and then pressing the green start call button. Once the call has been started, I've found reception is clear and the volume perfectly loud enough. Having previously used a Nokia and having to put the volume up to the highest level, I automatically did this with this phone and was nearly deafened. I would say that the default setting is perfectly adequate for volume.
It took me a while to get used to the position of the phone while actually making calls, and it still seems slightly awkward (but is getting more comfortable all the time), I imagine this is just because I'm not used to clamshell phones, rather than a problem with design though.
Ending a call couldn't be simpler, just close the phone and the call ends.
Unfortunately, as I don't know anyone else on the Three network I've not been able to make any video calls, but as soon as I get the opportunity to try this feature I'll update this review.
I've found texting on this phone takes quite a lot of getting used to. The keys are very close together, and there is quite a long wait for it to move onto the next character. I don't personally use the T9 function, as I always end up with suggestions for words that I didn't want. However, I do like the shift key, and the fact that there are a multitude of special characters available, even though it's a bit of a weird way of getting to them.
The camera is very easy to access, via a soft key and you have the choice of using the phone as either a video or still camera. As a video camera, it will record for 11 seconds with sound as the default, although you can set it to record for longer. You can also increase (or decrease the quality) which will affect the default time. From what I can tell you can record and store upto 100 of these short video clips, although I've never even bothered keeping one. The picture quality is actually pretty good and the sound clear.
As a still camera, I would say it's only value is to provide wallpaper for the phone, although the photos look fine on the camera, they are of very low quality with the highest setting being 352x288 pixels, and are really no where nearly the standard of even the most basic digital camera. I also find that the pictures seem to suffer from white out, especially indoors with artificial lighting. As with the videos you can save upto 100 photos on the phone.
The one thing I really like is being able to swivel the lens around so I can not only take photos of people, but also of myself.
The phone comes with a variety of rather naff ringtones as standard, and if you were hoping to download any from your favourite site via WAP (like I was), then you're in for a disappointment. You can only download tones from Three at a price of £2.50 each, which is about average for sites where you need to pay.
As well as being naff, I find the ringtones to be a tad on the quiet side, and definitely hard to hear over the noise my children make. I imagine it would be impossible to hear the phone ringing in a pub or club. Thank goodness for the vibrating alert. Strangely, the one and only tone I've downloaded is much louder, maybe they are trying to make me buy more.
The phone comes supplied with two short video clips, which I think are there to just showcase what it can do. The supplied clips were of brilliant quality, and you can download further free samples from My Three. Just so you know the phone can play a variety of formats including MP4.
As well as video the phone can play music in the MP3 and WMA formats among others, you will need a data cable to get them on the phone though. The sample file, seemed to be of a reasonable quality, and this is something, I'm definitely going to try.
Nowadays most mobile phones come with a selection of games pre-installed. Unfortunately, this phone isn't one of them, there are zero games on the phone. That's right not even one game to while away those hours waiting at bus stops. Of course you can download games at a price from Three if you so wish, but I do think it's a little bit stingy.
It is easy (and free) to connect to Three services by using the green triangle as long as you have a full 3G connection, and you only pay when you actually download. It generally takes 30 seconds to connect and you then have a choice of two menus, one for Today on Three and the other Three Services, I normally connect to the Three services which then gives me yet another menu with lots of options for different mini-sites such as Tunes and Pix, music videos, weather, horoscopes, email and most importantly My 3, where you depending on whether you are on contract or pay monthly you can, check your balance, top up, see how many minutes (and texts) you have left and check the previous months bill.
I've downloaded a few free samples from the site, and have been extremely impressed with quality.
As well as the features above there is a facility for voice recording (for leaving yourself little memos), a calendar, To Do list, alarm clock, notepad, and calculator which are all pretty self-explanatory. There is also the facility to send emails, but to be honest I haven't bothered working out how to do this yet, as my computer does a perfectly good job of this.
The phone feels very durable, but I've only had it for a short time, so it's not been dropped (and I hope it never is). It definitely feel solid and well built.
My phone is locked to the Three network, and I don't think it can be unlocked. It certainly can't take a standard SIM card from any other network, but then with the deal I'm getting why would I want to change providers?
There are a number of accessories available for the phone including:
Mono and Stereo Headset
USB Cable + Utilities CD-ROM ~ £35
All of which should be available from a Three shop (usually located in Superdrug)
~~~Price and Availability~~~
My phone came free as part of a contract package which also gives me 750 minutes of calls and 150 texts per month, however it is also available on Three's pay as you go tariff at the price of £80 from Comet, which seems a bargain if you ask me.
I think I rather like my NEC 338, it looks good and does exactly what its supposed to. I find I can make calls and send texts without any problem, and I have the added bonus of being able to take photos. My only real disappointment was the lack of WAP services, which means I am unable to download ringtones from my favourite free site.
Of course after the previous bad publicity, I was a little concerned about going with Three, but to be honest I've found reception where I live to be perfect. I can even make and receive calls in places that I had no reception with Vodafone.
All in all this phone suits me perfectly, and my poor Nokia 3100 is now looking for a new home.