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Review GSM phone Panasonic X400
Panasonic gained the majority of its worshipers several years ago when its phones were ones of the first to provide polyphony, several backlighting colours (but colour screens were not used then). The main model by the company was GD 87 and the later devices were not as interesting and the price/quality ratio was not in their favour. The company repeated that European market is a priority for it but we didn't see any mass release of the models. The situation changed in the end of 2004 when the company released several models at the same time. All the devices distinguish with a good functionality and a raisin.
X400 became the first clamshell in a middle segment equipped with an automatic opening mechanism. As different to Samsung models that were the leaders in Europe and were equipped with a special engine responsible for opening and closing the phone Panasonic uses mechanics and the device like makes the upper part go off. A special button on the left top end of the device is intended for opening. Closing is naturally done manually. The thing that frightened the most was a possibility of accidental opening but having dealt with the device I realized that menace is absent. The key press takes some effort that you certainly won't notice in everyday life.
The integrated opening mechanism puts some limitations on the work with the phone in a traditional way. Opening the device with your hand you'll have to deflect the upper part much for a complete opening to take place. If you don't do that the upper part will open for about 90 degrees and will fix in this position. As for me the best way is to use the opening key.
If to shake the device in a closed mode you'll hear the opening key moving and that is a shortcoming of the assembly. The quality of the plastic is average and characteristic for its class. The presence of a glossy front panel makes the device look nobler and more expensive. The disadvantage of the panel is that it gets dirty just from the first minutes and finger prints stay on it. And this fact is impossible to contend with.
There are three colour solutions provided; they differ in the colour of the front panel and the back part of the phone. Thus you can find a white or a yellow device besides a black one.
There is a camera objective, a mirror and an IrDA gap a little below on the front panel. This disposition of the IrDA gap is not traditional and is characteristic for only Panasonic devices. Though it seems well-taken for short data transmission seances. A service indicator is also on the front panel.
The device has the dimensions of 84x47x17.5 mm and weights 84 grams. The phone is a bit thinner than other devices of this segment and that is an evident advantage. You can carry the device as you like and the back part is of a dull black plastic.
There is a camera button on the left side surface and it works even in an opened mode. You should direct your attention to the sounds the device reproduces. Having taken a photo of yourself you should open the device to save the photo. There is a headset connector on the right side surface. A charger connector is on the bottom end. Plugging a cable is not allowed in this device.
Having opened the device you'll see a 65K TFT screen. The resolution is 128x128 pixels (28x28 mm) and that allows showing up to 5 text lines and two service ones. The screen is not bad as for the quality of the picture and the colours are bright. Subjectively the screen is comparable or a bit better than the ones similar 65K in Nokia phones. And comparing the screen with Siemens CFX 65 and Motorola v220 we may surely say it's better.
The keypad is made of plastic; the navi button with an integrated OK is comfortable. Number keys are in a black colour, small in size and deeply sunk into the body. That makes no problems while entering a number but when typing a short message sometimes touch the body. Localized versions have a great disadvantage, the symbols of the two languages are absent since there is too little place for them all either on the buttons or between them. For example, in Russian version all the Cyrillic symbols are inscribed but there are only the first Latin ones.
The back cover having no backlash hides a 600 mAh Li-Ion battery. According to the manufacturer it may work for 75 - 210 hours in the standby mode and from 1.5 to 4.5 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the device worked for about three days in case of 45 minutes of talks and up to 20 minutes of using other functions. We should say the change of a battery icon is not linear. The indicator shows the full battery for the whole first day and then it will decrease fast even with little conversations. Full recharging takes about 2 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.
The menu with the most frequently used functions may be called by moving the navi button up. You may form this menu by your wish. Moving down shows a contact list in a phone book. Horizontal moving is similar to using left and right soft-keys and that doesn't seem logical. The same realization is present in Philips 568 that is also made by Quanta.
Localization is average; there is a word division, 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.
Phone book. Up to 300 names may be saved in the internal memory, for a name you may have a Name (a field of 18 characters in length), a number (41 symbols), a second number, e-mail address (48 characters), select a picture (both from preinstalled ones or your photos) and also one of the 9 groups may be indicated. The total list shows both numbers from the internal memory and from the SIM-card one. The device makes no difference between these types of numbers and shows it in no way. That may seem a disadvantage for those who got used to keeping numbers not only in the internal memory but on a SIM-card also just as a backup. By the way it's possible only to copy the numbers from your SIM-card to the internal memory but not vice versa. Groups do not provide any personal call melodies or pictures.
You may assign numbers for fast dialing to 8 number keys from the phone book menu. Call list is also here (really, there are three separate lists). I liked the fact all the three lists are separated and moving between them is possible by shifting the navi button in a horizontal line. Each list contains up to 10 entries, time and date of the call. If the number is present in the phone book the name and a corresponding image are shown. Separate entries of the phone book may be transferred to other devices via IrDA.
Messages. Up to 300 SMS may be stored in the internal memory. You may create own templates and use mass mailing lists (but you'll have to select every addressee or type the number in because groups do not work here either). The device doesn't support EMS but the presence of MMS lives it down though partly. The interface for entering a message is rather appropriate but the limitation on the size is 100 KB. Up to 700 KB of memory are available for storing MMS totally.
Calendar. You may view up to 5 weeks at the same time, that is some kind of a calendar with a fast shifting to the necessary date. Entering own events is impossible.
WAP. The device supports batch communications GPRS (4+1), wap-browser is version 2.0. In principle there is nothing to say about it.
Applications. There is one alarm clock but it may be set once as well as recurrent, there is a possibility to choose a signal and its volume.
Dictaphone records may last for 14 seconds and have an ARM format; they are stored in a folder named Media.
The calculator is average without any extra possibilities.
IrDA. The IrDA may be activated from this menu item. The phone can receive pictures, melodies from other devices but can't serve as a GPRS modem.
Media. This menu item hides all the pictures, music and text templates, a general memory condition may be viewed from here.
Games. There is only one game in the phone. That is MobileGolf. The manual tells the phone supports uploading new games but an insert in the same manual disproves it. Despite the model supports Java it is impossible to upload new games.
Settings. Profiles allow selecting the main sound settings for different situations.
Display. A user may select a screensaver (one of preset pictures), a colour scheme for the menu (5 variants), screen brightness, backlighting working time and turn off keypad backlighting.
There is a keypad lock in this menu also but it is not very interesting in a clamshell form-factor. Other functions are standard; these are network possibilities and different security settings.
Camera. There is an integrated VGA-camera with a CMOS matrix. The supported resolutions are 640x480, 352x288 and 160x120 pixels. Contrast level may be adjusted (from -2 to +2) and there is a night shooting mode. That is all for the camera possibilities, the pictures look middling on the screen, and maximum size is about 25 KB.
The phone has 16-tones polyphony and it sounds pleasant but not more. The volume of a call signal is not enough often though monophonic signals are rather loud. The power of the vibrating alert is really low and it may be missed. The device has no any evident problems with the quality of connection and the volume of a loudspeaker. Sometimes frames fall on the zone edges but that is characteristic for the majority of the phones.
The opening mechanism is strength of the device but it won't be a key one when deciding on buying the model. The phone attracts with design, the quality of the front insertion that masks all the rest. The device will suit those who need only calling and do not use any extra functions. An evident disadvantage is the fact uploading Java-applications is impossible, an organizer is absent and announced functions are realized poorly.
The today price is about 220 USD. That is not little for this functionality and the device is overpriced much. For instance, Motorola v300 wins almost in every parameter except for the weight and dimensions of X400. But the price of this solution is about 80 USD less and that is really essential.
We are grateful to Alt Telecom for the provided device
Published 17 January 2005
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