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Review of GSM-handset Fly MX200

Package:

  • Handset;
  • Battery;
  • USB-cable;
  • Wired stereo headset;
  • Charger;
  • Software CD;
  • User Manual.

Fly is expanding its line-up with many new products. Its 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 todays phones 44x90x17mm, weight 73.4 grams. Model fits your hand nicely, due to small thickness it can fit shirts 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, its 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. Its kind of hard to imagine a man using pink phone, even though I had to do it myself, but thats 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.

MX200s case is made of plastic, there arent any concerns related to its quality, meanwhile there are some to its surface. Upper part is varnished, and there arent 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, Im afraid of imagining how this side will look after you use your phone actively for 6 months. But thats more related to pink edition, you wont notice scratches on black edition.

There arent any concerns about how phone is assembled. Oh wait, there is one: after some time you will see small backlash of phones 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 theres 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, theres 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 dont occur that often, so its not a big deal if you will not be able to listen to music when charging your phone.

There arent any elements on bottom side, meanwhile theres VGA cameras lens on upper hinge, it is slightly drowned inside case, theres 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, thats why this handset has no additional mirror, you just have to turn lens towards yourself, to make self-shot. Its not convenient to rotate camera: module is smooth and only place you can find to lay your finger to is lens itself, and thats not a very good idea.

On upper side of handset theres small TFT display with 96x64 pixel resolution (20x13mm), it is capable of showing up to 65k colors. Displays quality is average, its not very comfortable to work with, mostly due to its 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. Its convenient to operate buttons, as they are nicely placed, you wont find yourself pressing wrong button.

Once you open the phone, youll 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 its still convenient to work with them. Theres 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, theyre rather tight.

Keypad size is average, theyre 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, its equally spread among surface, thats why characters located on buttons are nicely readable.

Microphones location is quite original: its 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 manufacturers 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, handsets 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. Its 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 theres no HotSwap support. Slot for SIM-card is located under handsets case.

Menu

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, its 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 dont see shortenings and incorrect translation. As for fonts, theyre 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, thats 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 dont 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 phones memory, or back to SIM-card, one by one, or all at once. Besides you can create a backup of contact from phones 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 theyre still quite large.

Messages. Up to 50 messages can be stored in phones memory. Handset supports EMS standard, and theres 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 its 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. Theres 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.

Theres 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, thats 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 phones 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, doesnt matter if its phones memory or memory card. Theres 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 phones 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. Theres no equalizer in this model. Rewind within one song is missing, theres 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 operators logo in square brackets. Long title is not displayed correctly, although if you look-up details via players menu, you will see that its 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. Theres 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 its needed, a timer can be activated (5, 10 or 15 seconds). You can select where files will be saved (internal or external memory).

Its hard to add something special about the camera, its a typical VGA camera, shots are better to be seen on display, instead of PC.

 (+) maximize, 640x480

 (+) maximize, 640x480

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. Its kind of hard to judge about video quality, clips look okay on phones display, there arent any freezes when youre 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.

Conclusion

Handset provides average reception quality, just like any other modern day handset does. Its not better or worse. Speakers 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 phones functionality, previous models from Fly were not oh so advanced. Mp3 player is nice, its 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 dont need special drivers. Ability to charge battery via USB is another advantage for Fly. Presence of IrDA, since theres no Bluetooth, support of memory cards are all positives.

What we didnt like is how this handset was assembled (sides backlash relatively one to another), bad case surface, since wed prefer handset to keep its 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, theres a decent set of features everything should affect models sales positively. One thing that some users may find distracting is VGA camera, since at todays market 1.3mpx is standard.

Handset is on sale already, its average price is around 220-230 USD. There arent many competitors in this price range.

Vladimir Fokin (vladimir.fokin@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Alexandr "Lexx" Zavoloka (alexander.zavoloka@mobile-review.com)

Published — 11 May 2006

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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