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Review GSM phone Panasonic X100/A200
Panasonic gained a part of a low-end segment having represented А100 and its derivatives, a bit later several models of this class appeared in the market. But the company decided to increase its market share in the middle segment where its positions were traditionally weak since the majority of devices got here after the fall of the price. X100 is one of the representatives in a middle class. The only difference from А200 is an integrated CIF-camera and that's why we'll tell about the both devices at the same time since there are no other differences between them.
The model is rather small in size (90x44x18 mm) and weights correspondingly 79 grams. It is produced in three colour solutions - silver, dark silver and steel. The front and back panels do have a texture and vertical lines making the feeling of a crudely machined metal. And naturally, that is only plastic and it'd be hard to expect anything else in the model of this class. The plastic is not very firm to scratches on the edges of the panels and the base gets seen very fast. An interesting fact no any scratches appear on the panel itself, only on the edges.
Sides of the device are silvery and there are no any control buttons there. There is only a headset connector closed with a rubber shutter on the right-side surface. There is an interface connector on the bottom end and a charger connector is also there. The device may be carried on a strap included into a package. A strap hole is on the left-top end of the phone.
The screen is 65K TFT with the resolution of 128x128 pixels (25x25 mm). A physical size of a dot on the screen is less than in the majority of similar products (just for comparison, the rivals offer the same screen but 28x28 mm in size or even larger). That helps getting a smoother and clear picture. In general the display is worth praising and it's not the worst for the middle class. The picture is still seen in the sun and the text is surely readable. The display shows from 5 to 6 text lines (depends on the presence of any upper-case letters) and two service lines.
A 4D navi button with integrated OK one is under the screen. The motion is rather rough and that is not pleasant sometimes. The rough motion of the navi button may be mostly explained with its small size. The keypad backlighting is blue and well seen in many conditions. A great disadvantage of a localized version of the model (similar to X400) is the complete absence of the characters of the two languages - there is no place for them both on the buttons and between them. For example, in Russian version all the Cyrillic symbols are inscribed but there are only the first Latin ones. The keypad is average in comfort.
The back cover having no backlash is fixed with a holder on the bottom. In X100 you may find a camera objective and a mirror for self-shooting on it. The mirror decoration seems that way making a feeling a protective shutter is present but it's not true, there is no any.
The panel hides a 730 mAh battery. According to the manufacturer it is capable of working for up to 9 ours in the talk mode and 200 hours in the standby mode. In Moscow the tested device worked about 5 days in case of 25 minutes of talks and minimum of using other functions. If the device is used more actively it works for only 2-3 days in the standby mode. Full recharging takes a bit more than 1.5 hours.
Entering the main menu is possible by pressing the OK button. It is represented as a 3x3 matrix with a name of the selected item indicated in a headline. Submenus are shown as lists and an icon is placed to the left of the item. This fact makes the device look differently and dealing with it gets more pleasant. Fast navigation is possible in all the menus but you'll find the numbers indicating this or that menu nowhere, thus you'll have to either remember the most important combinations or experiment every time.
You may get into the phone book menu by moving the navi button in a vertical line from the standby mode (to the beginning or the end correspondingly), horizontal moving calls a calendar and a list of all user files. Right sift key may be assigned any of your personal items and it processes short and long pressures.
Localization is average; there are unnecessary word divisions, strange abbreviations. Predictive text input using T9 dictionary may be used; there are dictionaries for Russian, English and Ukrainian. That becomes a not good tradition of Panasonic. So you may use T9 and having selected the first letter scroll all the left ones with vertical moving of joystick (more pressures are needed if using a standard dialing).
Phone book. Up to 200 names may be saved in the internal memory, for a name you may have up to 3 numbers (no any dividing into types and entering the second number is impossible without the first one), up to 2 e-mail addresses, a text note (up to 16 characters). A personal melody, a photo or an image may be selected for any entry, and a group may be assigned. A field is up to 20 characters in length.
The general list may show phone numbers from both the internal memory and from the SIM-card one, the user selects the way it's represented. You can use a search by the first letter.
There are 10 users' groups in the phone and each may have a photo and a melody assigned. Up to 9 numbers may be assigned to number keys for fast dialing.
Messages. There is a possibility to create personal templates and send mass mail (a group should be chosen), SMS-Chat. The device has a support for EMS and MMS. The interface for entering a message is rather appropriate but the limitation on the size is 100 KB. The message processing possibilities are acceptable and characteristic for this class.
Applications. There are three alarm clocks in the device; each of them may be set once or recurrent (everyday from Monday to Friday or Monday to Saturday). You may choose a signal for it.
Games. There are two games in the phone Wall Breaker (arcanoid), Move Box (game for logics). You won't manage to add extra games since there is no Java support.
Records. The item is responsible for voice memos, their number is limited with free memory and the duration is about 15 seconds (AMR, doesn't record during a conversation). That's impossible to listen to the recorded memos from this menu and you can do it from another item.
Time - usual time and clock format settings.
Automatic On/Off - these are timers turning on or off the phone at the preset time.
A calculator also includes a plain currency converter (one rate).
A synthesizer allows creating a plain melody based on the entered from the keypad notes.
Calendar view for a month (in Russian menu a calendar still remains English, the faults of localization); there is a possibility to enter personal text memos. An alarm signal notifying the event has come will warn not depending on your sound settings.
Media. This menu item hides all the pictures, music and text templates, a general memory condition may be viewed from here. There are 512 MB of dynamically shared memory.
Settings. Profiles allow selecting the main sound settings for different situations.
Display. A user may select a screensaver (one of 5 preset pictures), a colour scheme for the menu (8 variants), screen brightness, backlighting working time and turn off keypad backlighting.
There is no a menu item responsible for keypad lock, it is made by pressing an OK button in the standby mode.
WAP. The device supports batch communications GPRS (4+1), wap-browser is version 2.0. In principle there is nothing to say about it.
Camera. There is an integrated CIF-camera with a CMOS matrix. The supported resolutions are CIF, 128x128 pixels. Contrast level may be adjusted (from -2 to +2). Compression quality (three variants), timer, there is a night shooting mode and an appropriate macro mode. One of 6 effects may be applied to photos before shooting. That's impossible to transfer the photos to a PC since there is no a data cable. Strange but software for synchronization is included into a package.
Call lists. Call lists are possible to see on pressing the Call button, up to 50 entries are in the outgoing calls list, the same for incoming ones. The missed calls list if shorter and contain 20 entries. Each entry has a time and date of the call indicated.
The manufacturer claims to provide 30-tones polyphony. But subjectively the device has a 16-tones one and its size doesn't allow having a large and a loud loudspeaker. In the majority of cases you won't hear the call and will surely miss it. The best way is to carry the device on a strap. A standard package includes three buzzers and 7 polyphonic call alerts (classic ones), that is extremely few and the fact makes a user look for new melodies just at once. The power of a vibrating alert is poor and not felt in the majority of cases. The volume of the loudspeaker is enough during the conversation though in noisy rooms you'll have to lend an ear to your interlocutor. The device has no problems with connection and is rather reliable.
So, the things we still have are not a bad screen, average polyphony, little internal memory, no any interface for synchronization (a company cable is seldom available as a rule) and the absence of Java. The model is a typical low-end solution being inferior to the ones of the same class. Let's compare X100 with the best device of the class Siemens C65. The Siemens product has 11 MB of the internal memory, a comparable screen, IrDA, Java, better polyphony, better organizer and a phone book. The only weak thing is design. Comparison with Motorola C650 will also be not in favour of Panasonic X100. The model with the price of 150-160 USD remains a niche curious product and not more.
А200 differs only in the absence of a camera and has a price of 125-130 USD today. Marketing experts valued the camera at 25 USD but A200 can't compete with the models of its class since they are at the 100 USD level and lower.
At first sight X100/A200 may seem appropriate in price and technically. When having a closer look you'll certainly understand that the most part of the price if formed only by the design. The rivals win in price and functionality.
The SAR value for the model is 0.492 W/kg..
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We are grateful to Alt Telecom for the provided device
Published 19 January 2005
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