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The Sharp GX-10 is a compact flip phone (clamshell). Its a fairly old phone and it doesn't come with half the features that you get on new phones (eg: Satnav, gaming, touch screen etc). However, whilst those features are great, its not what everybody wants.
I, like many, just wanted a basic phone for talking, texting and maybe taking the odd picture, and I think this is a good choice.
Built-in 110K pixel digital camera with 5 exposure levels and a 2 stage digital zoom with storage for up to 80 digital pictures. Actually the picture quality is remarkably good.
Colour LCD screen
16 chord polyphonic ringtones
JavaTM: You can download applications and games.
Other features: Feature rich external and flip up displays and side volume control, camera shutter release and call answering.
Comes as standard in Silver only.
The weight is 110g and it measures 27 x 94 x 49 mm
The buttons on this model are raised so its really easy to text. The screen is fairly small and is colour. I think the battery life is outstanding and I often dont have to charge it for days at a time.
One bad thing about it is the casing, it chips pretty easily and kind of looks a mess now.
Sharp phones aren't very readily available in the UK anymore which is a shame as I find them reliable and extremely easy to use. You can still pick these handsets up on ebay etc - I think its a good starter phone or good for an older person due to ease of use and fewer confusing features!
I just obtained the Sharp GX10 free from Vodaphone with a new account.
What I want from a phone is to talk, so don't expect me to comment on the camera or test messaging, games etc. I will say that I don't expect a phone camera to be any good and I wasn't dissappointed. I use a digital camera for the simple reason that I have more control over my pictures and if i want to send them anywhere, I e-mail them. It's tough sending a phone picture to people who don't have camera phones (or am I missing something? it doesn't matter) and it has to be lots cheaper even if you have a dial up connection.
Apparently the expectation of the manufacturers was that they'd make 48p a minute every time someone took a picture and sent it to someone. The supplietr told me that most youngsters take the pictures and then show them to their friends, they never leave the phone.
It appears that when I list my real desires I get the camera whether i want it or not, but fortunately Vodaphone don't require you to take the pictures option in the account and I also ducked out of the text service, I can recieve but not send which suits me fine. That isn't to say that "free" means free. It just means that I don't really have the option of not having a camera if i want the other features.
So what did i want?
Tri band: I settled for dual band, but I would value tri band more than a camera. But not at £59 extra for the GX10i.
Infra red so I can:
(a) connect my PC to the internet from strange hotels (the phone charges make even mobile phone charges seem cheap and many hotels have strange facilities if they have them at all) and that's because I want my email in my PC where i can read it and not in the phone where i doubt if I can. Don't foget, for some pople emails are more than just text. I use emails for fax to email service (incoming) and for file transmittion so most of my emails require the PC for composition and proper filing.
(b) synchronise my Outlook address book with the SIM card.
All very well, it has infra red and a good organiser structure.
I expected the necessary software would be on the CD rom.
It wasn't, all it contained was a driver for the infrared modem. In fact, why send such a basic file on a CD and not load all the other support files on there aswell?
There is a handset manager on the Sharp web site but for the GX10i, not on the GX10 site. As a down;load file, they don't include all the help files in all the languages. Now that's very odd.
They have carefully set up a variety of country web sites, so why can't i get the english langauge help file with the downloads from the english web site? Why weren't they all on the CD?
Incidentally, the web site was very poor.
Even with braodband I was getting very very slow downloads which frequently locked up.
In the end i finally managed to download from Australia as the only English language site option open to me. The handset manager download has several languiage files for help, but not english.
The help file logs you back to the internet site where there is no help file, just the phone manual which is, as another reviewer says, incomprehensible, especially for setting up the infra red.
I was advised by the phone shop that the GX10i handset manager would work with the GX10. It doesn't. It might work with the GX10i, but I have no way of knowing.
In anyevent, it doesn't matter since this would have to be the very worst handset manager I have seen. The graphics are amateurish and the functionality pitiful.
It supposedly allows you to upload images, but no evidence of any other functions.
Instead, I downloaded a trial version of another progam which worked first time and allowed me to successfully upload my outlook contacts. The Sharp program still doesn't work. Apparently it may work if i first connect using cable, or so the supplier says and he has a cable he lends out to his customers to get them past this hurdle. Frankly, this is a nice looking product but badly packaged and supported.
About now i was much disillusioned and wasn't surprised to find some simple ommissions.
Another reviewer has mentioned that when you open the lid you still have to press a key to answer the call... a sad oversight.
But for lacking simple software functions, that isn't the worst.
I went into the profile manager and selected "car" expecting that when I plugged in my "hands free" kit (a eupemism for an earpiece) that, like Motorola, Nokia etc, a new menu would open or that in the car progile i would find the "Automatic Answer" option.
I didn't. This means that it is not truly a hands free system since to answer a call you must either open the lid and press a button (any-key answer excludes the top two keys, so you can't just blindly press lterally any button) or you try and answer using the two side buttons which usually are for volume adjustment (this hint was found somewhere in the manual for the GSX10i, i don't know if it is in the GS10x and i haven't bothered to try it so the side keys may or may not work. It doesn't matter. The simple thing is that it is such a simple feature that has been around for years in other phones that it ought to be standard.
Its just software, but it isn't there.
Oh yes, Voice dialling and voice answer/end would be nice. Forget the cameras, concentrate of a phone that meets its primary functions.
On the plus side, I liked the menu and appearance and I liked the battery life claimed. I like the feel of it.
I will be taking it back and "paying extra" for a better phone.
I got my GX10 free last April, well it wasn't exactly free I had to pay £60 I seem to recall and Vodafone gave credit for the amount. I would rather get cheaper calls then a posh phone as I use the phone for making phone calls and occasional text message. As a phone it is very good it transmits clearly and you can hear the other person on the other end really well with no interference. The keys are large and easy to use and the phone book is easily accessed using up and down arrow keys although to make a call you need to press the dial key twice, once to select the number the second time to dial. I think this is a pain although I guess having to select the number first minimizes error Writing text is so easy on the large screen, as with dialing the keys are quite large and need to be pressed quite firmly so selecting characters you do not require does not often happen. however editing text is a pain, you can only select gaps or full words using the left or right arrow keys so if you want to get to the top of the screen in a long sms it takes a while. I taken 6 or so photos but can’t get them onto my computers. the gx has an ir eye that happily communicates with my computer but because their is no software available there is nothing you can do with that function. aparently there is software available on the net but i have I failed to locate it. MMS messages fails and i am not sure why. i spent days trying to send up my e mail address from mms but i could not get the @ sign to appear in the address line. i eventually used phonebook to set up a e mail address but it still will not work. I bought a leather case for the phone but it was a pain to answer the phone if it was in the case. so i carry it in my pocket. The phones' silver outer casing has stood up poorly to living in the pocket although I made effort not to have keys and coins together with the telephone. still the case is now scratched and does not look to
good I would like a little light to flash on it so in the dark I could locate it easily. I am looking to change provider at the mo, nearly changed to Orange but a free text offer finished £15 for 30 mins is too much. Thanks to Mrs Canada for suggesting an edit
Signal is rather poor but overall good mobile - Advantages: excellent built-in camera, great polyphonic ringtones, GPRS works fine-wherever you are - Disadvantages: short battery life, has no hands free loud speaker, scratches easily
I'm not a big user of the mobile phone; I only got my first one at the end of 2000. The phone in question was a cumbersome Phillips phone with nothing flash about it however I'd probably still be perfectly happy with it. However at work there was an incentive running for overtime, this meant that you worked a certain amount of hours, got paid for it but you would also receive a Sharp GX10 mobile phone on Vodafone. Now at the time these were £300 on a 'pay as you go' deal. However I understand they've dropped in price slightly over the last couple of months. The first thing that struck me about this phone was the weight, it's incredibly light and you're probably no even going to notice if you keep it in your pocket. It's a silver metallic design with a small LCD window on the outside to display time etc. Flip this baby open and you're greeted with a full colour LCD screen and keypad. It's from here that you can do what you need to do. I'm sure you've seen these phones on those Vodafone TV adverts so no doubt you're aware that you can play games and send picture messages using the phone. Let's get one thing clear, the camera on this phone is pretty crappy. I've seen results from other mobile cameras and this one frankly pales in comparison. You'll have to have a very steady hand to make sure your picture has any detail in it. It's no a case of point and click as the chances are that you'll just get back a blur. If you take this into a club or social situation then it isn't going to be much use. Weeks ago I took it into a bar, the pictures that resulted looked like the subjects had watched that videotape in that movie 'The Ring'. But I'm no too fussed about the camera, it's a nice addition but one that doesn't bother me a great deal. It's good for taking pictures of things you want to use as the background for your screen. The operation of the
phone is easy although some of the menus can be cumbersome and not very friendly to the user who wants to use it out of the box. I've found myself resorting to the instruction manual for the simplest of tasks such as previewing the phones ring tones. The majority of the phones functions are buried in sub-menus and you can be left hunting for what you want. This can be annoying to say the least. A lot of people use these phones for texting. The keypad on this phone is pretty responsive so writing can be pretty quick if you're adept at it. You make sure you disable the autotext function otherwise you'll be pulling your hair out. This function is completely worthless as it tries to complete words as you're tapping them in. It's a shame that 99% of the time it gets it wrong. It'd also no that straightforward to send the thing, as you have no clear on screen instruction. As for the phone part well calls are easy to make and receive. You can also store a lot of numbers and records in the phone book with home/mobile numbers as well as other addresses being stored under one record for one person. The ringtones included are fairly dull. This has polyphonic capability so no doubt you'll be downloading TV theme tunes as your ring tones. This phone makes use of the Vodafone Live service for access to that kind of content. Most of it is overpriced but there are a few sites where you can download tons for free. The sound re-production is excellent and clear. When the phone rings your attention is grabbed as a light flashes, you can also set it to vibrate if need be. As for battery life well I tend to keep mine on from around 8am-8pm every day, this normally means I'll have to charge it once a week but you have to also bear in mind that I don't use the phone a great deal compared to people who have contracts etc. On average I spend £15-30 a year on mobile phone costs. The phone comes with a charger and you just have to
plug it in and it charges automatically. The phone also comes with software to hook it up to a PC but there is no data cable. Buying one will set you back £40 which frankly is a rip-off if like me you know how much these things cost to produce. Aside from the camera and the ringtones you have some games. Often when I'm bored I'll play the Air Hockey game as it's incredibly addictive. There's also a Penalty Shoot out game that is pretty lame as well as some 80's arcade style games in the style of tetris. You can download games to the phone and it comes with one shoot-em-up game. This is decent but the keypad makes it pretty hard to play for an extended period of time. So the Sharp GX-10 is a decent phone that does its job for me. It's stylish, has some fun extras but for those who look for all the latest features on a phone it's probably not worth looking at.
Firstly it looks gorgeous! its sleak and a great technological jump since phones like the popular nokia 3310's. Body: Flip open silver case. Large full colour screen with flat surface buttons and a bright caller id screen when closed. A very sexy phone. Voice: Polyphonic ringtones are such an advancement on the mono bleeing from older phones. If you want the wow factor you have to hear and have polyphonic ringtones, which sound like music! (nearly). I couldn't seem to work the sound recorder to record my own sounds and the composer is only for the musically minded as it is way to complicated for me. But if you can read music then its great. It certainly turns heads when it rings. Features: Live: Vodafones Wap service. Good choice of downloadable games but a bit steep at £5 a pop. Live! has an extensive amount of stuff but most is paid for. Or you could go on regular wap: You can find free (polyphonic ringtones) and surf the net. Camera: The phone has a digital camera which takes great pictures in three different sizes. You can send them too and the pictures are of supurb quality, not what you would expect from a phone. Java games: You can play games till you hearts content! Comes with stormy sight, other to be purchased at leisure. These are great like nothing you've ever played on a phone! Old classics like Bubble bobble and puzzle bubble which are just too addictive. MMS: Multi media messaging is a great step forward. You can send pictures, sound and text all in one message! To other mobiles or email addresses! You also have the usual features such as address book, text messaging, (actually ringing people up) now thats novel!
i got my gx10 after a month using the eriksson t300 (which was awful) im so much happier now i have got a real beast of a phone and i cannot find anything wrong with it!! the tones are more then loud enough ( not like some polyphonic phones out there trust me i tried a few!!) the games are cool and the screen is the best i have seen!! all in all i think i have got a great deal on the £250.00 i spent getting this phone on pay as you go i recomend it to all
The Sharp GX10 is a clam style flip phone from sharp, being compact , smart and stylish it's a sure contender. With a built in 110K pixel digital camera offering 5 exposure levels, a 2 stage digital zoom with storage for up to 80 pictures it also boasts a Thin film Transfer TFT colour LCD making every picture look fantastic. Vodafone live! handsets offer a new world of colour, sounds, picture messages and information on your mobile. With this revolutionary new service from Vodafone, everything you need to keep in touch is right in the palm of your hand. As well as a smart, easy to navigate screen, you can also take, send and receive full colour pictures. Not only this the handset includes, incredible new ringtones that have to be heard to be believed, a downloadable Games Arcade, mail, email and a fun online messaging service... all helping to bring mobile technology to life! Features: Weight 107g Talktime 3.4h Standby time 200h WAP Yes GPRS Yes Dualband Yes Triband No BlueTooth No MMS No Mobile Java No Vibrate Yes Voice Dialling Yes Infrared link Yes Games 1 MP3 Yes Speaker Phone No Phonebook 600
My GX10 was such a disappointment that I returned it after only 10 days. A real lemon of a design. But more of that later. As mobile phones get sexier and more versatile, one thing stands out: nobody comments much on how good they are as telephones – almost all the focus is on the non-telephone features, such as being a miniature games console or an electronic Filofax. This review is no different. AS A PHONE: So, first things first: The GX10 works fine as a phone. You can talk into it, you can dial numbers on it, receive calls, and it copes well enough with low signal areas. Also I found it nice to hold and to use, though some will find the keypad fiddly. On the downside, the battery life is truly poor (and remember, the published battery life is MUCH more than you get in real life when you are using it, playing games, experimenting with the ring tones and so on); and the vibrate is weak, so I often missed calls (not a problem with any of the three other phones I have owned, so this really is an issue). I usually keep my phone in a holder on a belt clip, and the holder Vodafone sold me was awful – it would not stay in place. And finally the flip is NOT an active flip. No, despite Vodafone’s advertisements to the contrary, when it rings it does NOT answer the call automatically when you open it up (Vodafone has since corrected its advertising). There are three features missing from the phone functionality which would make it complete for me: it does not have a speakerphone (unlike the almost identical Panasonic GD87, which does); it won’t work in the USA (the GD87 will); and it does not offer voice dialling. Finally, as a phone, it is quite a lot heavier than most modern mobiles, and it is definitely a lot thicker. Whether that matters to you is personal. AS A CAMERA: Most of the published reviews (and there have been a lot of them, as Vodafone is really pluggi
ng this model for some reason) go on about how poor the picture quality is. I didn’t think it was so bad, actually. Of course, it does not take pictures that you’ll want to enlarge, but if you accept its limitations it is neat and easy to use. Well, it would be easy to use given that there are almost no settings to choose. Just remember it is intended for simple snapshots of well-lit friends standing oh-about-so-far from you and you won’t go far wrong. Forget about zooming, close-ups, decent landscapes and so on. Of course the biggest advantage is that the camera is built in; this makes it immeasurably better than an external accessory camera (I got an external one for the replacement phone, and I never have it with me!) AS AN ORGANISER: This was a huge let down. Its useless. To be fair, the advertising does not emphasise organiser functions – but it does mention them. You know, calendar, alarms and so on… I was really looking forward to using these. Don’t. Here are just four reasons why these functions are cr*p: 1. You can set up alarms to ring at a particular time. However, you cannot store text with an alarm – so you are left to remember why you set the alarm. “No problem,” you think, “use the calendar function instead”. Well… 2. When you set up calendar entries, you can key in text with them (obviously) but you can’t get them to ring an alarm. In fact, you cannot set a start or end time for them either. So what is the point? 3. You can only enter a maximum of three calendar entries per day. If you want to remember more than three appointments per day, tough luck, a GX10 won’t help you. Just go ahead and … remember them yourself. 4. This is the “killer:” while you are making a telephone call there is no way to use the calendar. Imagine that. Someone calls you to arrange a
meeting; if you rely on your GX10 as a calendar you’ll have to say “erm, I’ll have hang up to check, then I’ll call you back…” It’s worth pointing out that these major software design blunders are not universal. With Nokia phones for example, none of these problems apply. And the Panasonic GD87 suffers from only some of these problems. Finally, you cannot use the organiser without switching on the phone. This means you cannot use the organiser in flight, in hospitals, or anywhere else that prohibits mobiles. The same problem applies to the Panasonic GD87 and Nokias. If you need to use an organiser without switching on the mobile, look at a Jornada 928, O2 or (I think) SonyEricsson P800. There is just one bright point on the organiser front: the calculator. This is nicely designed, much better than Nokia’s, with an on-screen display of what each key does. Top marks. AS A PC MODEM: The GX10 comes complete with an infrared port for PC or PDA connectivity. This port is important if you want to use it with a PC or PDA, as the phone does not offer Bluetooth. Unfortunately, the infrared port just does not work as a modem (despite Vodafone’s initial advertising that it would – does this sound familiar?) I checked with four shops, and the reaction was unanimous – “Oh, you want to use the infrared port, sir? I’m afraid it doesn’t work, you’d better bring it in for a refund.” Very good service, but it should never have happened. One enterprising store offered to sell me a PC-to-GX10 cable connection kit instead. OK, I said reluctantly, let’s see it. Well, forget it! The cable kit is larger than the phone itself – thick, unbendy cable with a serial plug on one end (yes, serial not USB!) and a black box in the middle which is nearly as big as the phone. What WERE they smoking when they “des
igned” this? AS A TOY: The colour screen is as good as it is made out to be. I’m not into games; but the supplied games seemed really weak. Of course you can pay to download more games, which may be an attraction to some. The menu system is excellent, easy to use, as is the unusual control. I’ll call these functions “toy” functions because if you notice them they are not doing their job. Top marks (well, nearly) for “poser” value. I suppose I should have predicted this, but I didn’t. Friends who saw my GX10 during the few days I owned it were absolutely fascinated by it. I thought the GPRS connection was slow, but I can’t be sure without testing it properly. I loved the many built in ring tones, as did everyone else who played with it (I did warn you, battery usage gets heavy). Some of them are complex and very impressive (a multi-instrument arrangement of, I think, Mozart’s 40th symphony was superb). I settled on the realistic-sounding cuckoo clock (and got a few amazed glances on the train when it went off!); and I loved the “sneeze” sound, but it was too quiet. If you have nothing better to do, and a few spare months, you can “compose” your own tones – you can even create new synthesiser wave-forms for the sounds, which must be amazing. And if you want to be discreet, there are several banal tones built in too. AND THE USER MANUAL… Sharp should hire someone who knows how to write manuals. The manual is long and detailed. I expect it is even accurate, and it may be complete. But it doesn’t actually tell you what you want to know (“how do I get to do this function starting from there?”) All it does is to show what each keystroke does if you start from the main menu. Again, other manufacturers do better (with the possible exception of Motorola). SUMMARY
Why on earth did I buy this phone? Sharp does not exactly have a reputation for mobile phones. Well, I wanted the nice colour screen, organiser functions, PC connectivity, active flip (I hate having to “unlock” the keys of a non-flip phone). Basically, it does not excel on any score except poser value. I am sorely disappointed, and got rid of the thing as soon as I reasonably could. If you want to use this as a phone, it is fine but relatively bulky and heavy, doesn’t work in the USA, and has a poor battery life. If you want to use it as a camera, it is fine as long as you accept massive limitations. If you want to use it as an organiser of any sort, forget it. If you want it for PC connectivity, forget it. Something like a Nokia 7210 does more or less everything if you can put up with an external camera, weighs less and has decent battery life. Guess what I got as a replacement!
The Sharp GX10 was the phone of my choice after spending nearly 45 mins in a Vodafone Shop trying out the Panasonic GD87, the Nokia 7650 and the Sharp GX10 including have a brief read through each of the manuals, this is important to fully know what each phone is capable of. Why the Sharp GX10 then? Well firstly all the phones were amazing all with good features and all had a decent quality regarding the pictures from the Digital-Cam and as such it was difficult to decide purely on features and Innovation. So after I noticed the shop assistant starting to display some inpatients with me, I narrowed it down like this. The Nokia was a bit to out of shape for me, an innovative design from nokia but a long side the Sharp and Panasonic it was blatantly overweight and bulky. So down to the Panasonic and Sharp, as I said, feature wise they were close the Panasonic was tri-band but that did?nt interest me as I hardly travel to US (I had a 6310i anyway), but the feel of the sharp GX10 and the design of the keypad was excellent and the interface was faster on the Sharp especially changing between menus functions e.t.c. So in the end it was the Sharp GX10 that I bought. And have never regretted since. As far as faults are concerned, I have not had any yet (touch wood), I have read reviews where people have had problems, but I think they have got a phone from the earlier manufactured batch which had some teething problems. But a sharp GX10 with no problems is one hell of a mobile phone and if you?re looking to buy a phone with a Digital Camera (and you don?t mind being with Vodafone), this must be the best. (By a very small Margin though, as the Panasonic GD87 was also a great phone).
I bought the GX10 two weeks ago and took it back to the shop today after 2 weeks of frustration. I have a dated panasonic in my loft which has been reliable for almost 6 years, and I am looking forward to getting it back down after my experiences with the GX10. Digital Camera Admittedly, taking pictures was great fun, although there's no way you could capture anyone other than in a blur unless they stood statuesque still, but that's okay I guess. The renaming of photos, storing of photos, assigning photos to your phonebook to allow their picture to appear when a friend calls is all good. Unfortunately, despite multiple attemps to send a MMS to my partner (who has the same phone), they never go through. Therefore i'm exposing a vodafone service that has failed to work for the last 14 days - great. SMS Texts I found the predictive text fantastic, my aged Panasonic didn't have that. But, there's an annoying button which I just couldn't help pressing by accident when composing text, which crashed my message. Once I realised I had come out of the composing, I then couldn't go back - the message had gone for good. Now you may say, don't worry, I just won't press that button, but it is so easy to do and the loss is hard to bear, it just happening once to you would send you barmy. Receiving SMS Texts Now imagine a message is sent to you between 8am and 9am and the message signal is flashing on your phone so you know that it's there. You go into SMS and you just can't retrieve the text message. All day, all afternoon, all evening at various times I tried to get that text, the phone kept flashing the symbol at me. I was in Tesco, food shopping at 12 midnight and I get a message received tone. Lo and behold there is the 8am text, just arrived. THIS HAPPENED AT LEAST 4 TIMES, texts just didn't get through to me for hours despite the fact that the phone was aware the
re was a text there. Ringtones I'm in a real quandry over this, I just couldn't hear my phone ringing. My old phone, I could hear upstairs when it was in my kitchen downstairs. I could hear my old phone ringing under the table in my bag at work, but not the GX10. I work in a warehouse environment and it's quite noisy, I have no pockets in my work uniform and I can't leave it out on the desk as I am loathe to drop a heavy item on it whilst working. For men, it's easier, they almost always have pockets and could use vibrate, women don't. When I went to take the phone back, the vodafone assistant said she can't hear hers either! She said sometimes she misses calls - GREAT! I've slept through my GX10 alarm going off twice, announcing three phonecalls and one text message the other day. This was while the phone was right next to the bed! She said that polyphonic ringtones are not really suitable for alarms. Hello!! The only options for setting the alarm are polyphonic options. In conclusion, the phone is fun, but first and formost it needs to be a phone, not a plaything. I'm off to buy a keyring size digital camera and an old brick of a phone so I get the best of both worlds. Anyway, the phone is gone now thank god. At least David Beckham can get away with not answering Victoria's calls and messages. "Sorry sweetie, I just didn't hear it / haven't received your text".
Updated: 5/5/03 - see end. My last phone was a Nokia 8310, which had all the usual gimmicks of a high-end mobile phone plus an FM radio. Whilst this is a good looking phone, the software was awful and it was still going wrong after going back to the factory twice. I hear this is not an unusual state of affairs with Nokia phones. So high up on my list of criteria was reliability. Also I need a small phone as I keep it in on vibrate my trouser pocket!. This is partly for convenience and partly because I am a schoolteacher and it is practical to keep my phone out of sight. My vodafone contract was coming up for a year and I was studying the back of papers and other companies as the upgrade options for vodafone were much more expensive than in other places. I could not see much that improved significantly on my 8310. I was interested in a telephone that could take digital pictures, but the Nokia with integrated camera was HUGE and the Ericsson T68i required a separate clip on camera ? the cheapest of which cost £60. I decided to wait for a few months when camera phones have become smaller, cheaper and are linked with good contract packages. My mind changed when I had a leaflet through the post from Vodafone announcing their new service ? ?vodafone live!? which is specifically designed for the newer generation of phones with colour displays and polyphonic ring tones. Along with the literature about the service was an offer for existing long-term customers to get a Sharp GX10 picture-taking phone for £159.99 instead of the usual £199.99 (contract) or £349.99 (pay as you talk). They also offered a payment scheme, interest-free over 10 months. This phone appeared to offer what I was looking for: Small; Camera (built in, not clip on); Polyphonic ring-tones; Colour display and so on. So I went and bought one. The size of the Sharp is 94x48x26mm. This is small compared to the other two phones with integrated cameras ? the Panas
onic GD87(98x49x23mm) and the Nokia 7650 (a whopping 114x56x26mm). It is a flip-up phone, with the screen, camera and earpiece in the top section and the buttons and mouthpiece on the bottom. It is a fairly deep phone, but nothing like as bulky as you would expect with a digital camera inside it. The camera itself is fairly versatile, although picture quality is not superb. It is a bit of a gimmick; useful for taking snaps when out on the beers and suchlike, not serious digital photography. The resolution is not as good as the Nokia phone. But when the pictures are downloaded onto a computer, they are good enough for on-screen applications such as web pages. You wouldn?t want to print them out for the photo album, though. There is a zoom feature, which is fairly limited, and three different picture sizes: Small (60x80 pixels) and medium (120x160 pixels) give you storage room for about 38 pictures in the memory. Only 32 large (288x352 pixels) pictures will fit. You can have a combination of these and there are warnings when the memory is getting full. Taking the picture is easy ? point and click and a pleasant shutter sound announces that it is stored. There is a slight delay between pushing the button and the picture freezing and being stored, but this is less than on many standard digital cameras. The phone has an infra-red port, so if your computer has one of these, downloading photos is easy. Mine doesn?t, however, and no cable is included, unfortunately. I have the option of a cable from phone to computer for £34.99 or a USB port infra-red adapter for the same money. I think I?ll go for the adaptor as this can be used for other things. The display on the phone is delightful. The colour and relatively high screen resolution makes previous generation phones such as my 8310 seem positively boring. There is a range of inbuilt pictures and wallpapers. But of course, with an integrated camera you can create your own. The
menu system is easy to use and the amoun t of information that can be shown on the screen is enormous, without looking cluttered. Connection to the ?vodafone live!? service is via a single button press and operates using GPRS, which is digital always-online connection that operates independently of WAP or phone calls. There is a small indicator to show when the phone is communicating via GPRS, and this has not been off yet, despite me living in an area notorious for bad signal. The ?vodafone live!? site itself is fairly simple, but allows you to download many polyphonic ringtones and pictures for free. This service is free to use until February 2003, but after that you pay for data transfer at the usual rates. I downloaded a couple of ringtones quickly and easily, then looked at the memory status, expecting it to be nearly full. 1%. Since then I have downloaded about 100 tunes and a java game and the memory is still under 20% used. The phone itself will hold details on 500 contacts and it came with an upgraded SIM card which holds 199. The inbuilt games on the phone are high quality and playable, with a penalty-taking game that is pure chance, but curiously compelling. The real strength of the phone is that it will run java games. This is a cut-down version of the java that is used on the www to run applications on almost every website that you visit, including the gaming sites. There is one java game built into the phone ? a space invaders type thing, but it is simple to download other java games from the internet. These mostly cost money, but if you are a keen phone-game player (I?m not), they provide versatility and alternatives when you are fed up with the games that come with the phone. I downloaded an old favourite of mine, Pacman, for £5 which was added to my bill. The game itself is very playable and remarkably true to the original. Battery life is not as good on this phone as my last. Heavy usage seems to r
equire a charge every night. However, if you have ever used a digital camera you will know the rate they chomp through batteries, and the Sharp does remarkably well in light of this. With low usage, the phone needs charging every 2-3 days. Another great feature is the ability to send messages via the MMS (like SMS) system. This uses the GPRS technology and means that in addition to text, you can send pictures, sounds and recordings (the phone has the ability to record 20 seconds of speech or the like) to people with compatible phones. I have successfully sent colour pictures to the Samsung and another Sharp, but Ericsson users don?t seem to receive theirs. This may also be to do with the providers, who are only just getting on board with sending multimedia via phones. I was disappointed to find there is no countdown or stopwatch on the phone. I used these a fair bit at work and when cooking! Also, the calendar will let you add notes, but there is no facility to make these timed or sound an alarm 5 minutes before you are due somewhere. I used to use this to remind me of meetings and duties by buzzing in my pocket, so I will miss this. Reliability was high up on my list of criteria for buying a phone. I have only had the phone a few days, so I can?t comment on this yet. There are no immediately obvious problems with the phone itself or the software, unlike my old Nokia (which my girlfriend now has, incidentally :). It did take a phone call to Vodafone to work out how to assign numbers to the speed-dial. I was really impressed with their service. They seemed very knowledgeable about what is, after all, a brand new product. The staff in the shop were also helpful. They said that they had been giving their demo model a ?bashing? for a month and it had shown no problems. I will update this review when I have had the phone a few months and can comment more fully on reliability. In short, this product appears to
be at the leading edge of phone technology. It is expensive, but if you can get a good deal, it is a worthwhile buy. All the essentials for a good phone are there, and it excels in size, interactivity, clarity of display, games, the ability to take photos and huge memory and storage capacity. The polyphonic ringtones are loud and interesting enough to bring a smile to anyone?s face. I?m a bit worried that I?ll forget to silence it, though and it will blast out The Muppet Show theme tune at volume 5 during a meeting or lesson. The camera gets all five stars from me, but then loses one for limited battery life, lack of alarmed scheduler and stopwatch/countdown facilities. Update: since I wrote this review I have bought a cable to connect the GX10 to my computer. It turns out that the phone is locked so that the only use for a cable is to let the phone act as a modem. It does this rather well, providing a reliable 9kbps connection speed. However, it does not allow management or communication of: * Phonebook and contact information * Ringtones * Java * Pictures As this is why I wanted the cable, I am very disappointed. The same is true for the infra red facility. So, the only way to get your pictures onto your computer is by sending them as MMS attachments. This is fine while MMS is free, but after January it becomes around 36p a time. You can only add one attachment at a time, so this is 36p for every photo you want to transfer to your computer. I believe the phone is perfectly capable of transferring this information and this is just a ploy by Vodafone to ensure you use their MMS services and don?t freely distribute games, pictures and ringtones and so on. But in my opinion it counts as a serious weakness and takes my vote for this phone from 4 to 3 stars. Other phones such as the Nokia have the facility to transfer to computer via either cable or infra-red. Annoying. Update 4/12
/02: I have discovered that the GX10 is SIM-locked. Th is means that I can only use a vodafone SIM card in it. This is the first phone on a contract that vodafone have SIM-locked and it could be to ensure exclusivity to vodafone until March 2003, which is what their literature claims. However, a call to vodafone customer services resulted in a call-back 2 days later with a code to unlock. I was not charged for this, although I have heard of people paying a £20 charge to vodafone for the same thing. For reliability, I cannot fault the GX10 so far - there have been no problems with the phone (maybe Japanese build quality). I wish the same could be said of the newly developing vodafone live! services. Update: 5/5/03 - Okay, I've perservered for nearly 6 months with this phone. The novelty of taking snaps has completely worn off, especially now I have to pay 36p to send EACH ONE to my computer. It is too deep for the trouser pocket of my suit and the lack of calendar function is annoying. I'm bored of the games and not going to download any more at £5 a pop. So I've sold the thing to my little brother so he can show off at school. With a few chips on it (it marks REALLY easily) and a car charger (extra £16 to buy) he gave me £70. Back to my old 8310, thank God!