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Review of GSM-handset Fly MX200
Fly is expanding its line-up with many new products. It’s interesting to see that most products are not similar to each other, all have their own peculiarities. Today we shall speak about Fly MX200, slim clamshell phone with two displays, built-in VGA camera, mp3 player, support of memory cards (T-Flash) and IrDA. As you can see, this model is quite functional, which has been rare for this manufacturer until recently. But time goes, and everything changes, and in order not to lag behind their competitors, companies have to improve their models.
Handset does not seem small if you look at it, although its size is typical for today’s phones – 44x90x17mm, weight – 73.4 grams. Model fits your hand nicely, due to small thickness it can fit shirt’s pocket easily, and this is just what we need with Summer approaching. Design does not offer anything new – rectangle case shape with slightly smoothened edges, but despite this, phone still looks interesting. There are two colors in which this phone will be available, it’s possible to say that one is for “boys” and other for “girls”: completely black case, and mix of pink with silver. Both editions look interesting, in case with black color, it can be obtained by both male and female users, meanwhile pink will most likely stay female only type. It’s kind of hard to imagine a man using pink phone, even though I had to do it myself, but that’s my job and what I have to deal with. Survey of female consumers shown that most of them would go for Pink color. And after we asked “why?” – response was as follows “it looks cuter in Pink”.
MX200’s case is made of plastic, there aren’t any concerns related to its quality, meanwhile there are some to its surface. Upper part is varnished, and there aren’t many problems with that, but surface of back side is not scratch and abrasion proof. After a week of testing, back side of our test sample had lots of small scratches, even though we were extremely careful. To say the truth, I’m afraid of imagining how this side will look after you use your phone actively for 6 months. But that’s more related to pink edition, you won’t notice scratches on black edition.
There aren’t any concerns about how phone is assembled. Oh wait, there is one: after some time you will see small backlash of phone’s sides relatively to each other, but this is more of an engineering drawback.
Hole for strap is located on left side, as well as joined volume control button and camera button. On right side you can see interface connector covered with rubber cork, which is fixed to case, slightly lower there’s IrDA which is fully functional. Interface connector can be used for connecting charge, or cable to connect with PC or headset. With such heavy load on connector, there’s no way to listen music via headphones and charge phone at same time, manufacturer should have made separate headset connector port instead. Oh well, such situation don’t occur that often, so it’s not a big deal if you will not be able to listen to music when charging your phone.
There aren’t any elements on bottom side, meanwhile there’s VGA camera’s lens on upper hinge, it is slightly drowned inside case, there’s LED flash nearby. Flash itself is very bright and can be used as flashlight, you just have to hold volume control button down or up, and it will be activated. Camera can be rotated, that’s why this handset has no additional mirror, you just have to turn lens towards yourself, to make self-shot. It’s not convenient to rotate camera: module is smooth and only place you can find to lay your finger to is lens itself, and that’s not a very good idea.
On upper side of handset there’s small TFT display with 96x64 pixel resolution (20x13mm), it is capable of showing up to 65k colors. Display’s quality is average, it’s not very comfortable to work with, mostly due to it’s small physical size. It takes certain efforts, but information can still be readable when you are outdoors. External display has same backlight as internal, so when you open handset, external display will be active too. Display can act as viewfinder when camera is activated, also when you are listening to mp3 player, you will see song title and graphical equalizer on it. During incoming call you will only see name or number of caller, photo or image assigned will not be shown.
Underneath external display there are three small keys used for operating mp3 player. Holding Play button allows launching player when phone is closed. It’s convenient to operate buttons, as they are nicely placed, you won’t find yourself pressing wrong button.
Once you open the phone, you’ll see internal TFT display of average size, its resolution is 176x220 pixels (31x39mm), it is capable of showing up to 262k colors. Display quality is good, picture seems lively and bright. It does get pale when it encounters sunlight, but information remains readable..
Keys are made of plastic, and despite their small size it’s still convenient to work with them. There’s no navigation key as we know it, there are four separate buttons and Ok button in center of those four. It will take some time before you get used to operating handset this way, it would have been better in case manufacturer had made complete navigation key, instead of offering user to use debris. Keys have small depression, they’re rather tight.
Keypad size is average, they’re nicely placed. When working with them, you are not expected to have faulty mistypes. There are both English and cyrilic characters on keys. Backlight color is blue, it’s equally spread among surface, that’s why characters located on buttons are nicely readable.
Microphone’s location is quite original: it’s not in bottom side of handset, as it usually is, instead you will find it in the middle of keyboard, between 2 and 3 buttons. This location positively affects reception quality, helps cutting off noise.
Almost all back side is occupied by Li-Ion battery with 550mAh capacity. According to manufacturer’s statement, handset is capable of working up to 3 hours in talk mode and up to 140 hours in stand by mode. We were testing this unit in Moscow, and it worked for about 3 days with 15-20 minutes spent for phone calls and up to 20 minutes spent using other functions daily. In case you are planning to use mp3 player actively, handset’s battery will most likely last around one day. It takes around 2 hours for battery to charge up completely. Phone can be charged via standard charger or USB cable. It’s a great news for those who are planning to use their handset as mp3 player, and as a matter of fact, others may find it useful too.
Slot for T-Flash memory cards is located under battery, as you might have already guessed – there’s no HotSwap support. Slot for SIM-card is located under handset’s case.
Main menu can be presented in one of two ways: standard for many handsets 3x3 matrix and cross-menu. First edition is more common and easy to use, although icons could have been drawn better than they are. Second option may find its fans, it’s more functional: highlighted icon is shown as big icon in upper side, meanwhile bottom side is filled with sub-menus. You will some freezes while browsing menu.
Sub-menu is made in style of lists, you can enter and leave selected section by using navi keys (left/right), so you can easily use one key to navigate throughout the whole thing, and Ok button can stand still. Handset supports fast number navigation.
You can assign fast access to desired menu items to “left”, “right”, “down” and “up” leanings of navi key. By default pressing “up” gives you access to Shortcuts section. Here you can add most frequently used items, there can be 9 of them.
Localization is good, you don’t see shortenings and incorrect translation. As for fonts, they’re great, but their size is small (unfortunately, you cannot change that), however it remains nicely readable.
Handset itself has around 60mb of built-in memory, which is dynamically spread between applications, you can also use memory card. When connected to PC, you will work with internal and external memories as two separate removable drives, this does not require installing drivers. The only problem is that when handset is connected to PC it turns off. USB version is 1.1, that’s why transfer speed is not that high at all.
Phonebook. There can be up to 300 contacts stored in the phone book. For each you can assign a name (up to 50 characters), up to 4 phone numbers with strict relation to phone type (you cannot create two mobile phone numbers for 1 contact, as example), company name (up to 20 characters) and e-mail address. Besides this, each contact can have its own custom photo or image, maximal size cannot exceed 20kb though, custom ring tone, and be part of 5 available groups. As for Groups, you can change their name (up to 20 characters), setup custom ringtone and photo. Any of fields you don’t want to see every time you look-up a name can be disabled.
Search in phone book is done by first letters or the whole name. While surfing the list in search mode, you will see phone number next to name (mobile phone), but in case you are not looking for some contact, and just browse, you will see a photo if one is assigned, name and phone number. Each contact can be sent out in vCard format via SMS, IrDA to PC or some other device.
Contacts can be transferred into phone’s memory, or back to SIM-card, one by one, or all at once. Besides you can create a backup of contact from phone’s memory to SIM-card, this operation can be done backwards too. Fast dial for 8 contacts is supported, although you can add a number only via Settings menu.
During incoming phone call, photos assigned for contacts are not shown in full-screen mode, but they’re still quite large.
Messages. Up to 50 messages can be stored in phone’s memory. Handset supports EMS standard, and there’s a set of preset images, animations and melodies. Joined messages are supported, maximal size cannot exceed 612 characters. There are 10 templates that can be modified up to your taste. Mass message can be sent to 10 phone numbers, or a Group from phone book.
MMS editor is quite simple and easy to work with. You can create templates. Maximal size of outgoing MMS cannot exceed 100kb.
Call History. Standard lists of incoming, dialed and missed calls. Up to 30 entries are stored in each. Same numbers get summarized, for each you can see detailed information: date and time of call, name (in case it’s in the phone book), number and amount of phone numbers in total. In Call Time menu you can see last call time, time for all calls combined and incoming/outgoing separately. There’s also SMS counter and GPRS one.
File Manager. This menu item is a typical file manager. Once you enter it, you will be asked which memory you want to see internal or external, and in the upper part of the screen you will see total capacity and free memory. From the context menu you can either access or format highlighted memory. You can enable sorting for files and folders by type, time of creation or size. New folders can be created, and those created before can be renamed. Files can be moved throughout folders or sent to other devices via MMS, EMS or e-mail. For selected file you will see information about its type as icon (for images you will see a thumbnail) in the upper part, info about the size and creation date is shown in same place.
Settings. All phone settings are here. You can setup date, time menu language, input type which will be used by default.
Profiles. Handset features 5 profiles that can be fully customized by user. Here you can select ring tone, its volume and ring type (single, repeating, or ascending). Ring type can also be chosen: it can be either melody, vibrating alert and melody at same time, first there will go vibrating alert, and then melody, or only lights. Light color can be selected (keypad will change its backlight color), setup backlight time for each profile separately. From here you can also activate voice ANI: in case you enable it, before ring tone female voice will pronounce phone number by digits.
You are free to select wallpaper for display, it can be one of preinstalled images or any other image file. Screensaver settings are similar to wallpaper ones, after sometime spent in stand by mode, handset will activate screensaver. Here you can also select one of three available themes.
In same menu you can find call settings, network settings (select band manually) and security ones. As for last item, you can setup auto key lock after some time (from 5 seconds up to 5 minutes).
IrDA port can be activated, as well as place where received files will be stored (internal or external memory), IrDA is fully functional, it allows transferring and receiving any files from various devices.
Applications. Only monthly view is available in Calendar. Besides this you can see list of events. For every event you can select time and date (start and end), add a small text note (up to 35 characters), alarm tone, recurrence: daily, weekly, monthly, monthly or by selected weekdays. In notes you can enter one of already made templates of reminders (there can be up to 10 of them). All events can be sent via SMS or IrDA in vCalendar format.
There are three independent alarm clocks, for each you can set time and repeats: daily, weekly, monthly or by selected weekdays. You can also enable auto turn-on feature in case handset is turned off.
In same menu you can find world time feature, calculator, stopwatch and unit converter.
There’s also BMI application, in which you can enter your age, weight, height and gender, in return BMI will tell you if you have any loose weight, or no. Of course, this application should be treated only as entertainment.
Services. This handset features WAP browser v2.0. Besides that you can also find SIM-menu (in case if its present), as a matter of fact, profiles for GPRS and GSM data transfer can be set up here too.
Games. This handset has two preinstalled games: Copter (you play as helicopter), Puzzle (oh, that’s easy).
Java. You have around 1.5mb of memory at your disposal for Java needs. This handset supports MIDP 2.0 Applications can be installed via WAP or PC. The procedure is pretty easy, you just copy the application into phone’s memory or memory card (.jar file), find it via file manager and launch the installation process.
This handset has two preinstalled Java-games: Icarus (arcade) and Black Jack (cards).
Multimedia. Mp3 player can playback songs with various bitrates, they can be stored at any location, doesn’t matter if its phone’s memory or memory card. There’s one play-list, in which you can add your favorite songs. You can also enable auto generation of playlist, in that case all songs stored on your phone’s memory will be added. Player control is done via navigation keys, as well as throughout special buttons located on front panel. Shuffle and repeat can be activated only via player settings, there is no quicker way to do it. There’s no equalizer in this model. Rewind within one song is missing, there’s only ability to switch for next track. Player has three skins, so you can select the one you like most. A good thing is that this application can work in minimized mode, you just have to press cancel key. Song title will be shown under operator’s logo in square brackets. Long title is not displayed correctly, although if you look-up details via player’s menu, you will see that it’s displayed fine there (song title, artist, album, genre, year).
Music can be listened via headphones, or through speakers. When it is played via speaker at volume near to maximal, you will hear a lot of noise and other sounds that are not related to your actual music file. Quality of headphones that are shipped with this handset is average, they are quite big and will not fit everyone. Due to custom connector size, it will be hard to find a substitution.
Dictaphone. You can record your phone calls. A place where files will be stored can be selected too (internal or external memory). Recording can be paused and resumed afterwards. Maximal length depends only on amount of free space left on storage device.
Stave. Here you can create your own tune, by using one of 10 available instruments: guitar, violin, sax, kettle-drum, flute, harmonics, tube, jukebox, xylophone.
Camera. There’s 1.3mpx camera available, and it allows making photos in following resolutions: 176x220, 320x240, 640x480. Compression quality: low, average, good, fine. There are no hotkeys for settings, the only way to modify them is via settings menu, which is not very convenient. You can setup white balance, EV, frequency and enable Night Mode. Of course there are standard special effects, 10 frames with preview mode, and mutli-shot (3 or 5 shots) mode. In case if it’s needed, a timer can be activated (5, 10 or 15 seconds). You can select where files will be saved (internal or external memory).
It’s hard to add something special about the camera, it’s a typical VGA camera, shots are better to be seen on display, instead of PC.
In ImageViewer you can see photos presented in a list with thumbnails, or by one in almost full-screen mode.
Video can be recorded in only one resolution – 166x136. You can select quality and define if it should be muted or no. It’s kind of hard to judge about video quality, clips look okay on phone’s display, there aren’t any freezes when you’re watching same clip on PC, but the resolution is too small.
Video clips can be played in full-screen mode, as well as in windowed. In album clips are displayed in a list.
Handset provides average reception quality, just like any other modern day handset does. It’s not better or worse. Speaker’s volume may sometimes be not enough, especially outdoors, meanwhile microphone is good at all times. Built-in ring tones sound averagely, but once you install mp3 as ring tone (any mp3 file), you will see things improving fast. Volume is pretty high, meanwhile vibrating alert is average.
We were surprised by this phone’s functionality, previous models from Fly were not oh so advanced. Mp3 player is nice, it’s good that you can install Java apps not only via WAP, but also via PC. External mp3 player control buttons are convenient, another great thing is connecting with PC, you don’t need special drivers. Ability to charge battery via USB is another advantage for Fly. Presence of IrDA, since there’s no Bluetooth, support of memory cards are all positives.
What we didn’t like is how this handset was assembled (sides backlash relatively one to another), bad case surface, since we’d prefer handset to keep it’s great original outlook as long as possible. Inconvenient headphones without chance to replace them with something better is not so good either.
This handset will be in demand mostly by young people: its price is not high, there’s a decent set of features – everything should affect model’s sales positively. One thing that some users may find distracting is VGA camera, since at today’s market 1.3mpx is standard.
Handset is on sale already, its average price is around 220-230 USD. There aren’t many competitors in this price range.
Published 11 May 2006
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