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Review GSM-phone Inno 55
Innostream is not known to the general public, far from keeping up with the mobile news constantly. At the same time starting from the moment of the appearance of its products in the number of exhibitions visitors' attention was drawn to them permanently, the phones attracted with qualitative screens, unusual design and functionality. The company doesn't stand out much against the background of other Korean manufacturers, too little time has passed from the moment it appeared. And that it why it was very interesting to have a look at its new model -Inno 55.
The phone is designed as a slider and its two parts slide alongside each other, the popularity of this form-factor is growing very fast. The outer antenna spoils the appearance a bit but the majority of Korean manufacturers doesn't hurry up to switch to built-in ones. In a slider form-factor only products by Samsung and Siemens can boast of the absence of the outer antenna.
The dimensions are typical for its class (85x42x12.8 mm) and the same about the weight of 88 grams.
The device is produced in two color solutions, they are black and silvery. In both cases the plastic is glossy and varnished. The quality of the plastic is the highest and no any cavils may rouse here. Thus the phone looks very stylish mainly thanks to the quality of the decoration and materials. One of my acquaintances thought that titanium is used in the device and such feeling appeared due to the plastic of the corresponding color on the side surfaces. Nevertheless it is only plastic and having opened the device you'll find the inner part in the same color.
A great disadvantage of a glossy surface is that it gets dirty too soon and finger prints stay on it. This model is not an exception and in the bright sun it is possible to see stains after touching. The manufacturer has worried about it and included a strap with a cloth into a standard kit, the cloth looks like a hard rectangle. The strap is made of rubber and easy to stretch but it seems to be only for women's or children's hands. And it would seem that it is intended to wear the phone on one or two fingers like a trinket. In this case the diameter is quite clear but wearing in a usual way is impossible.
The sliding process is not finished automatically that means that the movement is to be finished by you till a click. This is the main difference from the phones by Samsung and the slider works the same way as in Siemens SL55. The guiding ways are of metal and may be seen from the back side. Probably, the phone won't rouse any cavils in the strength of the construction and the same mechanisms are in the phones by Samsung.
Opening and closing the device with one hand takes no special efforts. The finger automatically lies down on the joystick or the screen and then the movement follows. It is necessary to make some effort in the final position to fix the utmost position. It is possible to set the slider for automatic answer and then when opening it during the call you'll answer on it automatically. It is possible to speak on the phone without opening it and this is a great advantage (similar to Samsung E8x0).
The screen is 262K, TFT and the quality of the picture is one of the best in its class. Let me note that 262K in all the devices is the same as well shown 65K in the phones by Samsung. Many of the manufacturers announce more colours because of marketing purposes though it is impossible to see any difference between them and 65K. Having compared the screen with ones by Samsung (E820, E800) I couldn't say firmly which device wins, both models are quite well-deserved. And that means that for the moment Inno 55 has one of the most qualitative screens.
The resolution of the screen is 128x160 pixels and that allows to show up to 9 text lines (SMS mode) and up to 2 service lines. As compared to the phones by Samsung more text lines appeared due to the smaller font-size and a bit larger screen. The fonts are drawn well and carefully (the same for Russian input).
The screen fades in the sun but information may be visible, especially that concerns different menus. The interface is designed the way that when inputting a number, you see huge numbers on a semi-transparent background and they are distinguishable in the bright sun. The number and the photo of the caller are viewed worse while incoming calls.
In the standby mode digital clock moves along the screen in some time it disappears and the screen remains dark. It is possible to call the clock by pressing a button and it is comfortable.
In the closed mode you may access functional buttons, with their help it is possible to work fully with the phone especially if you do not need to input data. Unlocking the keypad is possible with pressing the left soft key.
The keys are chromium-plated and placed very near to each other but at the same time are comfortable to work with. The navi button may be set in four positions and the OK button is integrated into it. In the quality and tactile impressions the keypad resembles Japanese devices much and first of all ones by Sharp. Those ones who used such phones know that working with them is very pleasant and comfortable.
The one more thing that unites this model with Japanese devices is a possibility to choose a color for keypad backlighting. By default it is red and it looks very unordinary and attractive. There is a possibility to choose a blue or violet one.
Having opened the device you may access a digital keypad. The keys are of average size and placed far enough from each other. Small motion of buttons makes negative impression and one has to adopt to them, sometimes it is impossible to understand whether you pressed a button or not. In general if to compare the keypad with ones in other models it may be evaluated as average by comfort, the buttons are placed well but not more. Let me remind that the main claim on Samsung E800 was the keypad especially the up most row. There is no such problems here but the model has its disadvantages.
The backlighting for digital keys is not very bright and is seen clearly only in the dark. In the condition of the medium light and in the street characters on the keys are seen badly and small font-size tells upon.
On the left-side surface there are two buttons to adjust volume level, a handsfree connector is closed with a rubber curtain. The standard kit includes a handsfree headset that matches the body in color and looks stylishly.
An IrDA gap and a strap hole are on the top of the phone. There is an interface connector in the bottom, it is closed with a rubber curtain fastened to the body.
An VGA-camera lens may be seen on the back side of the phone and a loud speaker hole near it, this loud speaker is responsible for playing call melodies. It is possible to use the camera with a closed phone but if you open the device then you'll see a mirror.
The battery is also a back side of the phone and has no any backlashes. According to the manufacturer the battery with the capacity of 830 mAh can work for up to 200 hours in the standby mode and up to 5 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the device worked for 2.5 days in case of 35 minutes of talk time, 10 minutes of using WAP, up to 30 minutes of using other functions. With shorter talk time or using other functions less its working time rises up to 3-3.5 days. And it is possible to say that average battery life will be 2-3 days depending on the profile. The maximum working time in case of minimum phone using is a bit more than 4 days. Full charging time is about 1 hour 15 minutes. A pleasant surprise is indication of the charge in percentage terms during the charging (changing in the interval of 5 percents) only some devices are capable of that.
It is possible to call the main menu by pressing the left soft key. The menu is represented with 9 icons in three rows. Every icon is animated and all of them are quite interesting. Navigation with the help of shorcut number navigation is also present. The peculiarity of the submenu is in a navi line that appears on the top with small icons displaying the items of the main menu. Moving the navi button vertically you can switch between the items of the main menu quickly even being in any submenu.
There is a function of personal menu, preset items may be chosen for it and it is enough to cancel their usage in the list. This menu is called with moving the navi button to the top. Moving to other sides calls the camera, messages or games. The navigation along the phone menu rouses no problems and it is thought over rather well.
Like in products made by many other Korean manufacturers software platform by TTPcom is used in the phone. There are some disadvantages in this platform but not many. In details, in English version instead of Options we see Option but on click we get a list of functions. This abbreviation was used because of the limitation on the number of letters (only 6) that may be displayed near a soft button. There is no such limitation in Russian version but localization was made in the same template and the abbreviation remained. This semantic mistake doesn't tell on the functionality of the device.
The localization is committed well, so Russian font types are displayed correctly and the majority of the terms and abbreviations is clear.
Phone book. It is possible to keep about 800 names in the internal memory. You can fill in such fields for a name as three numbers, a group, e-mail address and an image. The field called Name may contain up to 14 characters and this number is the same for Russian and English languages. There are 5 preset groups, three free fields and Others. It is possible to set own call melody for a group.
When inputting the number you may choose any type, it may be mobile, home, office, fax, pager. It is evident that you are limited by the three free slots and may keep only three numbers of different types for a name.
All the names are displayed in the general list, there is a search for the first letter. The sign of the group is displayed to the left of the name. You may see bookmarks with the names of the groups on the top of the screen and you may switch them quickly.
In the menu it is possible to set, where contacts will be kept by default (the internal memory or SIM-card). There is a possibility to save with asking to choose a destination place, then every time you save something, the phone will ask you which memory type to use.
Numbers for speed dialing are set from the phone book menu, there are no any peculiarities.
The serious minus of the phone book is that when changing a SIM-card you erase all the data in it. As a rule only main contacts remain in the memory. So, if you use several phones and keep the contacts not on a SIM-card this device is not for you. The second problem is not so critical but sometimes makes troubles. The phone cannot convert images for the size of the screen automatically. You try to set a picture from the list (it looks like a list of the names but not small images) and on the last step you are told that the picture is too large. That means that you should first convert your images into a special format for the phone book and it is not convenient.
Judging by the possibilities of the phone book it is possible to call them average and they will satisfy an unpretentious user who deals only with the main functions and do not change a SIM-card. This the device is quite comfortable for such a user and provides necessary services.
Messages. There is a possibility to keep up to 100 SMS in the internal memory. The handset supports predictive text input T9 (several dictionaries including Russian) and it is possible to switch from one language to another while typing. There is a possibility to write concatenated messages with the length of up to 1064 characters. There is a space for 10 text templates but EMS is not supported, so it is impossible to insert pictures and melodies. On the other hand MMS is fully supported and it improves the situation partly. When creating an MMS, you may have several pages, attach photos, pictures and melodies.
There is an integrated POP3/SMTP client in the phone and that allows to use customary mail. All the text codings are supported and that makes no troubles when working with messages in Russian . When sending a message you may attach any file from the internal memory and the total limitation on the size is 99 KB. It is possible to create up to 8 different entries. I'll repeat that using mail service with unstable GPRS connection is very hard and is rather a naughtiness. The same is here and it is more a service for loading headings for letters and not more. Answering on them or sending pictures makes no sense and it is easier to do the same using MMS.
Call lists. On pressing the Call button or from a corresponding item of the menu you'll see a list of teh last dialed numbers, there are up to 20 of them. Date and time are specified for every call. Moving between the bookmarks you'll also see a list of incoming and missed calls. And both contain 20 entries. Also call duration, call cost and the size of transmitted data (for GPRS) may be viewed from this menu.
Organizer. There is a possibility to display the calendar in a month view. A sign of the moon is shown in the up most line. Unfortunately it has nothing in common with the phases of the Moon and changes in no way when the data is changed. The days with entered data for them are white. There is a "go-to" function (to inputing date, current day) and a possibilityh to choose all the events before the specified day or after.
An entry in the calendar has a heading, a type of the entry (reminder, meeting, call, birthday, travelling, wedding), date, time and alarm time. The minus of the interface is that it is impossible to start typing the data into the heading field at once, it is necessary to enter the editing mode. The other minus is that even when you do not need notification alert you'll have to set it. By default there is no a flag, not having entered the item you won't be able to save the entry and that is illogical.
The total number of calendar entries in the internal memory is 1000. Also one more function available from the calendar is viewing biorhythms and here everything is rather simple.
Alarm clocks. There is one separate menu item that is called morning alarm clock and other main alarm clocks. That is rather logical because the morning alarm clock works at the same time as a rule. You set the time, choose a melody, choose whether the alarm works with the phone turned off or not, mark the necessary days of the week. A unique setting is a Snooze function that allows to choose how often the phone will repeat the signal (from 1 to 5 times) and the interval for this repetitions (from 1 to 5 minutes). It would seem a trifle but in fact it is rather useful for an alarm clock.
The main alarm clocks. Here you enter the time by default and the alarm is set. From the editing mode it is possible to choose a repeat status (only for all the days), a melody and enter a text note that will appear in the specified time.
Notes - these are ordinary text notes wit the length of up to 1000 characters. It is interesting to point out that the notes are usual text files, and may be sent with messages via e-mail. A user may choose the type of the coding for every message. And also there is a possibility to mark some notes in the list and they will be visibly distinguished.
One more unique function is a current day report. It is an analog of Today window in smartphones and handhelds in some way. The information about all the events and alarm clocks of the current day is displayed here. In general it may be an interesting feature for those who uses the organizer every day.
Network services. There are such settings as call divert, restricted groups and so on, no any peculiarities.
Phone settings. Here you can choose a menu language, set a profile (not only the sound for all the events but the volume of loud speaker during the conversation, games, there is a mixed mode with vibrating alert and a melody). There is a minute minder that can work during a conversation.
There is a possibility to use four colour schemes for the screen, any graphical image or a photo may serve as wallpapers. Four nice images are preset. There are two animations in the MFlash folder, they resemble Japanese cartoons. When choosing a photo taken by the user, no problems with the resolution appear, the device offers to stretch, gripe or multiply the image. In other words, everything is like when working with a PC.
There is a possibility to set the backlighting for 10, 30 seconds or for 1, 1.5 minutes, set the clock display and the contrast level for the screen. Finally, one of the possible three keypad backlighting colours may be chosen from this menu.
A possibility to keep up to 10 different profiles for GPRS service is very comfortable. And in our device the settings for three Russian operators were preinstalled.
Security settings. Besides the blockings of the SIM-card and the phone that have become habitual there are blockings of separate functions, for example, photo album, phone book. And the same security code is necessary to access all the functions.
It is possible to activate IrDA from the settings menu and there are no any other functions here. The IrDA itself is really cut functionally, there is no possibility to send or receive files with its help (no support for OBEX) and the only way to use is as a GPRS modem and a computer.
WAP-browser. Wap-browser version 1.2.1 (18.104.22.168b) is installed in the phone. In general, there are no any peculiarities, the browser works as it has to. And there is nothing special to say about it.
Camera and media. A VGA-camera is integrated into the phone, it allows to take photos with several resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 128x160, 96x64). Digital zoom is supported (x4), various effects, frames. All the settings are adjusted in the shooting mode when you see the picture on the screen. It is necessary to point out a possibility to set the name manually when saving a file or to do it automatically. The device supports the timer for automatic shooting.
The quality of the picture on the screen is rather good and you'll need a cable and a special software to transmit the photos to a PC. We didn't have a cable and that is why we show only the way how the photos look on the screen.
There is a possibility to record video (Motion JPEG), the picture is not very lively and breaks. In principle, this shooting may be used for utility needs. The resolution is 128x104 pixels, three compression levels are available and there is zoom.
The photo album allows to view the photos as icons or a list with the names of the files. There is an integrated picture editor that allows to add frames to the pictures, use the pictures from clipart. Everything is simple enough.
Memory status. The total memory size is about 3 MB and 2.5 of them are free at the beginning. You may look through a very detailed report on the memory status and the way it is shared by different applications.
File manager. An application that displays the whole structure of folders in the flash memory, allows to see all the files with extensions, delete them, copy and move. The application is rather comfortable and useful.
Games and applications. There are three preinstalled games in the phone, they are Savanna Adventure (a pleasant arcade, the phone has to be turned horizontally for it), Space Fighters (a shooting game), Trapped (a game for logic, resembles PacMan in some way).
Java - there are no preinstalled Java applications in the phone and you may load your ones. The device supports Java MIDP 1.0. Also it is possible to speak about the compatibility of the games for this model and any other application for the phones by Pantech and LG. The platform used here is similar to those manufacturers.
Biorhythm - it is like in the organizer, a function of biorhythm, no any special settings, everything is clear.
Timer - there are two functions here, they are stopwatch and countdown timer. The stopwatch may have up to 9 intermediate results. The countdown timer may be set for an hour and there is a function of automatic repetition. The disadvantage of the timer is that it cannot work in the background mode, closing the device or switching to the main menu cancels its work.
Calculator - everything is simple and clear.
Voice records - you may record up to one minute of your speech and it is important not to forget to save the recorded file. The format of the file is mfr.
Musical editor. A plain editor that allows to create melodies on the stave.
Converter - converts one measures into others.
Lady Schedule – women's calendar for critical days. You set the first day of the cycle and the phone calculates the whole cycle. There are not very many menu settings, often the function works incorrectly and displays the cycle partly (if to set the number of days as 32 or more). It is necessary to enter the first day of the cycle every month because the forecast is created for the next month.
Synchronization with a PC. Unfortunately the synchronization is possibile only with the help of a cable and it is delivered only with some devices. The synchronization program doesn't provide with many possibilities, in fact, it may work only with sounds (in particular, convert mp3 into MMF files) and with images (loading to the phone and from it, a simple editor). Entertainment functions are realized fully but a necessary attention to the synchronization is not played and it is a pity.
JBenchmark 1.0.4 (128x144, true color, 65536) was used for measurements of the productivity and the following results were gained:
Total score 1018
The productivity is higher than average, is comparable with the one of modern samples and is inferior only to smartphones or to the devices with more memory.
The device rouses no any cavils as for the quality of the connection,
the sound in the loud speaker is loud and clear. The device showed its best in
different conditions (in the city, at a summer residence, on a rout). I'll
note a slight disadvantage that is noises during the work of the
backlighting and they disappear in about 10-15 seconds after the beginning of
While entering a number the numbers appear on the semi-transparent background and they are large. You may turn on sound accompaniment of pressure (in English) and the phone will say every pressed number. The same function is realized in the phones by Samsung (E8x0).
The main minuses are not well thought-over realization of some functions, the nullification of the phone book in the internal memory when changing a SIM-card and the absence of accessible synchronization with a PC.
The qualitative screen may be referred to a plus (on the same level as the best 65K screens or one of the best 262K but loses to ones by Samsung). The design, the quality of the used materials and the delivery kit may be appreciated positively. The device has all the chances to become popular as a fashion model. It won't suit those ones that got accustomed to using all the possible functions in the phone and is quite good for an ordinary user. The model is interesting, not customary for Europeans and as a result attracts attention. In Moscow similar in design (and functionality) models may be seen only in the Sonet network. The handset is pleasant in work and delivers positive emotions (it is not clear if this is thanks to the design or it is really comfortable to call from).
If to compare with other devices of the same form-factor, then the main rivals are Samsung E800/E820. The advantages of the phones by Samsung are the design and larger memory capacity. In all the rest the devices are similar and have no differences. Inno 55 with its lower price (expected 350 USD) gets more attractive. The model certainly beats devices by LG and Pantech because having the same platform, software it is well thought-over. It is more stable in work and has less faults. And summing up I'd like to say that if Innostream manages to keep the speed of its development, its further products will be of great interest. For the current moment the company has all the chances to get the most popular from the beginners on the GSM market.
Published 31 August 2004
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