Caught on camera

Print

PrintPrint
Life

Read More:

1 April 2005 | 0

It’s hard to get away from cameraphones these days. It seems everyone has them, from small children to business executives. If they aren’t banned in the gym, there’s someone trying to capture every moment of their ‘big night out’ on their mini mobile phone.

Since cameraphones and multimedia messaging were introduced to the Irish market, both have taken off in a way that few predicted and the networks could only hope for. 

Gone are the days when a mobile phone was used to make and take phone calls, with the odd text message thrown in for good measure. These days, it’s all about image. As in ‘must capture’ and ‘must live up to’. Some of the first generation of cameraphones were, quite frankly, clunky bricks.

In fact, it sparked a bit of panic among some users that we were heading back to the days of mobile phones that refused to fit neatly into a pocket or that hogged space in your handbag.

Thankfully, as you’ll see blow, big on function does not mean it has to be big in profile.

Motorola V220
The miniature of the V series, the V220 will barely ruffle the line of your clothes. Be prepared to ‘lose’ it regularly though.

The Good:

The V220 is extremely compact. It’s certainly smaller than any of its V-series buddies, but it can hold its own when it comes to functions.  A rather impressive 230 hours of standby time  and five hours of talk time mean that you’ll rarely find yourself stuck between an important call and a dwindling battery. The V220 allows you to choose from MP3 and MIDI ringtones, so that you can customise your phone to your own personal music tastes, and you won’t have to suffer the dull (or downright embarrassing) ringtones some people seem to find amusing.

The Bad:

Its compact size may not suit everyone, especially if you have larger hands. And saying that, the screen is also quite small so you won’t have the luxury of reviewing your photos on the larger screens that some other phones sport. This is one of the few phones in this roundup that failed to include Bluetooth (which is reflected in its price), but it does have a USB port so you can transfer data.

The Rest:
The V220 has the standard VGA camera built in. It allows you to send and receive MMS messages, and even surf the Web. The phone, however, is one for O2 users only; it’s locked to the
network and uses O2 Active to connect to the Internet, so if you are a Meteor or Vodafone customer, hands off: it’s not meant for you.

Price: €199 (€179 online) — Pay as you go
Contact: O2 www.o2.ie

Nokia 6600

 

advertisement



 

The Good:
The 6600 is one of Nokia’s higher end camera phones. It comes with a VGA camera built in andwe were pleased with the resulting images and video. It also has Bluetooth and infrared built in soyou should be able to transfer any images you take quickly and with minimal fuss. We were alsoimpressed with screen; it supports 65k colours, it’s bright and shows off our photos to their best.

The Bad:
The 6600 is a bit bulky; if you’ve been using a smaller phone until now, switching to this modelmight feel a little strange. However, those upgrading from one of Nokia’s other camera phones won’t feel it as much — it’s smaller than the 7650.

The rest:
The Series 60 platform is used on this model, which is easy to find your way around — something that Nokia has been praised for by some mobile phone users. Internal memory currently stands at 6Mbyte, giving you plenty of space to fill up with photos and
video footage. The 6600 also includes a handy memory card slot — more space to fill up!

Price: €199 — Pay monthly
Contact: Vodafone www.vodafone.ie

Panasonic X400
Another Vodafone Live handset, the black Panasonic X400 is new to the market.

The Good:
The X400 is very lightweight and thin enough to fit in your pocket. The phone itself is clamshellin design and opens at the touch of a button — we have to admit that we were impressed by that
and spent a good five minutes opening and closing the phone just for the sake of it. Navigation is kept as simple as possible and we had no problems finding our way around the phone. The biggest advantage of this phone is the price; it’s positioned as a ‘budget price’ by Vodafone.

The Bad:
Although the X400 is lightweight, the trade-off is that it feels a bit too insubstantial. It all depends on your personal preference, though. The phone is only dual band too, compared to the tri-and
quad-band phones available these days.  And compared to other models’ battery life, the 165 minutes of talk time and 120 hours of standby time doesn’t seem enough.

The Rest:
The X400 has the Vodafone Live, so it means easy access to the Web on the go, but it also means that you have Vodafone Live branding on the menu. Also included is infrared support — no
Bluetooth though.  

Price: €99
Contact: Vodafone www.vodafone.ie

Motorola V600
The V600 is one of those rare items — one that combines style and sophistication with all the functions you want from a mobile phone.

The Good:
It looks good — sophisticated enough that it won’t embarrass you in front of your fashion conscious friends. It also has enough under the hood to satisfy the technically minded — Bluetooth for wireless communication, which can come in handy when you want to share photos with friends. The VGA camera is standard, but has some brightness control on it, and digital zoom capabilities. 

The Bad:
Although much improved (and we really mean that) the Motorola Menu system may take a few minutes to master. Also, the Bluetooth functions aren’t as vast as other phones, some of which allow you to browse content on Bluetooth enabled devices. They are more than adequate though.

The Rest:
The V600 comes with a few handy features that will make your life easier, such as an organiser, calculator and datebook. It also allows you store voice records, which can be very convenient when you’re on the move. Speaking of being on the move, the V600 is a quad-band phone that will work throughout your globe trotting. And naturally, it’s compatible with MMS messages, so you’ll be able to receive images and sound files from your friends.

Price: €425 (Sim-free)
Contact: O2 www.o2.ie

Siemens CX65
Multimedia phones are taking over, and the CX65 intends to make its mark on mobile users.

The Good:
The CX65 gets off to a good start with a great colour screen, large and bright, which is perfect for viewing your photos. The VGA camera also works as a video camera — another point in its favour. 
Five and a half hours of talk time is slightly above the average offered by most of the phones here, and the 300 hours of standby time is definitely a bonus point.

The Bad:
The menu system, as on many of the Siemens phone, isn’t as polished as others. This model also fails to include Bluetooth, which many users (us included) have come to expect in their mobile phones. This means you can’t use a Bluetooth headset for handsfree talking, but there is a good loudspeaker on the phone itself, which makes up for this a bit.

The Rest:
The CX65 may not include Bluetooth, but that doesn’t mean it ignores wireless data transfer altogether. Instead, the phone has an infrared data port, which came in handy for transferring photos from the camera to an IR-enabled PC or PDA. Accessories include an attachable flash for the camera, and you can also customise your phone with Clipit covers.

Contact: The Carphone Warehouse 1800 424 800

Motorola V80
This latest phone from Motorola is a stylish, easy to use mobile with a twist.

The Good:
The concept of this phone isn’t an unfamiliar one like the V80 before it, the cover rotates to open. However, you can choose to rotate the cover 180 degrees to use the phone’s functions, or rotate it to 90 degrees to use it to take landscape photos. The V80 is one of Motorola’s Bluetooth enabled devices. It also allows you to play back video clips. We were impressed with the battery life; unlike other phones, it didn’t die after a day of use. Tri-band capabilities mean that you can use your phone on holiday

The Bad:
There’s no video capture function on this phone, which is a point against it. Although the joystick is handy for navigating the menus, at times it can be a bit tricky and you may end up selecting the
wrong function because of a minor slip. However, this is a general downside of the joystick navigation, regardless of manufacturer.

The Rest:
The VGA camera comes with 4x digital zoom; it won’t get you physically any closer to your subject (you need optical zoom for that) but it can help with cropping unwanted items from your images. The V80 has rhythm lights that flash in time with sounds around you. You set the pattern type, how long they go on for, and how loud the sound has to before the phone will react. However,
these are just aesthetics — they do little else but drain your battery life. It would look pretty good in a nightclub though. Event lights also alert you about everything from a new message to a family
phone call. And as expected, the phone is GPRS and MMS compatible — a must in today’s mobile phone culture.

Contact: The Carphone Warehouse 1800 424 800

Siemens S65
Remember when you used to take your digital camera with you ‘just in case’? That may soon be a thing of the past as cameraphones get more powerful.

The Good:
It may not bump your digital camera completely off its perch, but the 1Megapixel camera in the S65 may mean that you have to take it with you less often. It even has a slot for a Multimedia card, with a 32Mbyte card bundled with the phone, so you can start taking photos and transferring them to your PC straight away. The S65 has decided to include both Infrared and Bluetooth for wireless communication, so you have a choice on how you transfer your data or images. And last but not least, the black and silver casing should appeal to those who like their phones to look good. 

The Bad:
The S65 is a bit on the chunky side, but we couldn’t find much that we didn’t like about this phone, or it’s camera, come to think of it. The menu system is a little more polished than that of the CX65, but it’s still basically the same system, just a bit glossier looking.

The Rest:
The Siemens S65 promises 300 minutes of talk time — that’s the same as the Motorola V220 and slightly less than the CX65 —  and 250 hours of standby time. Perfectly respectable, in our book.
If you are hung up on the idea of having a flash for your 1.3Megapixel camera, you can get an attachable flash as an extra: problem solved!

Contact: The Carphone Warehouse 1800 424 800

Sony Ericsson S700i
The new Sony Ericsson phones haven’t quite made up their minds whether they are cameras or mobile phones — and who says you have to choose?

The Good:
The S700i is one of the new generation of cameraphones that could, in theory, replace your digital camera. It has a  1.3Megapixel camera built in, which is higher quality than the VGA cameras you usually find in mobiles. It even comes with a lens cover and there’s also a light that acts as a flash for taking photos in low lighting conditions.
The same button that activates the light can also be used to lock and unlock the phone: no more wrestling with complicated keystrokes. And we particularly liked the large colour screen — the
perfect viewfinder.

The Bad:
We’re not quite sure if it’s down to the camera functions, but the phone is a bit more bulky than others we’ve seen. If you’re picky about disturbing the line of your clothes, this phone probably won’t be making its way into your pocket. However, we found little else to complain about with this phone.

The Rest:
The battery life on the S700i is a definite improvement on its stablemate, the K700i. Just bear in mind that using the phone’s other functions, like the camera, will drain the battery life.
If you plan on taking a lot of photos, the memory Stick Duo slot will probably be the best asset for you — a convenient way to move our images to your PC or printer. Infrared and Bluetooth are both available on this model, so take your pick.

Contact: The Carphone Warehouse 1800 424 800

Motorola V550
Another of the V-series phones, the V550 is one of the newest in the Motorola range and adds a few functions its predecessors left out. 

The Good:
We liked the look of this phone; it’s the updated version of the V525 so it retains the same basic shape, but comes with the rubberised cover of the V300 with a silver metallic bezel. This phone also has something that the others in the range don’t — it captures video in addition toplaying it back. With its quad-band capabilities, the phone can be used practically anywhere in the world with a GSM network, so it’s the perfect travelling companion too.

The Bad:
There isn’t too much to criticise about this phone. We probably should mention that it doesn’t look a whole lot different to its predecessor, so if you are expecting something radically different,
prepare to be disappointed.

The Rest:
As a Vodafone Live handset, the V550 is locked to the Vodafone network, and has the Vodafone Live branding on the front and the Vodafone menu system. Once again, a VGA camera is included in the phone. The V550 also includes 5Mbyte of user memory, which you can fill with ringtones, sound files or those all-important images or video you’ll be capturing with your phone.

Contact: Vodafone www.vodafone.ie

Sony Ericsson K700i
A lightweight it may be, but that doesn’t mean that it scrimps on functions. 

The Good:
Small and compact, it’s lightweight enough to carry in your pocket. This was another of those mobiles that gets ‘lost’ in the bottom of your bag, prompting a panicked search and relief when you find it nestled under your credit card. The K700i comes with a great screen — it’s exceptionally bright and shows up colour wonderfully. This is great for displaying your photos and video from the phone’s VGA camera.

The Bad:
Remember that wonderfully bright screen? The flip side is that it sucks the battery life, giving you a flat battery in about a day and half, with only moderate use. There are one or two things you can
do to conserve power— switch the screen to power save mode, for one — but these bring their own problems (how many times, for example will you try to switch your phone on again, only to realise
it’s in power save mode and that’s why the screen is blank?).

The rest:
Extras, like a torch and a code keeper for all your important numbers and passwords, come in very handy. The code keeper is quite clever, as it doesn’t tell you when you’ve entered a code wrong; instead, it will display jumbled text and numbers, so anyone who might be trying to access your codes without your knowledge won’t realise they have the wrong codes.

Price: From €129
Contact: The Carphone Warehouse 1800 424 800

17/01/05

Read More:



Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑