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Review GSM phone Philips 568
Philips has focused all its efforts on promoting models in a middle-price segment and that is a prior decision. Many models of the segment are youth and the company doesn't hide it intends them this way. But a line of devices is intended for covering the maximum possible audience and here we can see relatively strict design that will suit elder people. Philips 568 belongs to this very class. And the influence of other modern devices is really traceable in it. One may see some similarity with Siemens CX65 and one will remember Sony Ericsson K500 looking at the model. But the device can't be called a try to copy one's original design and has its own style. Traditionally the phone will be produced in several colors solutions, they are Deep Black, Impact Blue, Arrow Silver and all of them are quite interesting. We had a silvery one. There is a dark grey insertion around a camera on the back panel. It's different in that various color solutions and makes contrast with the main colour.
The dimensions of the phone are typical for its class (98x44x18 mm) and the same may be told about its weight (87 grams). The device lies in a hand well and may be carried just as you like. There is a strap hole on the top end of the phone. And a charger connecter is hidden on the bottom end closed with a rubber shutter. The shutter joins rather close but will probably get loosen (by the way it's attached to the body).
The screen is 65K STN and has the resolution of 128x160 pixels that allows showing up to 8 text lines and two service ones. The quality of the picture is not bad for such a screen but is surely inferior to TFT ones. In some kind the display holds intermediate position and is not the best but not an outsider in its class. It fades in the sun but information may still be read.
The joystick has a silicon cover that prevents fingers from sliding. The motion of the joystick is rather resilient and thus some feedback is felt. No any softness of moving is present here and someone may dislike that. Number keys are average in size and placed close to each other. As a result when typing a number or a message in a hurry you may touch nearby keys sometimes. The backlighting is blue and very bright that leads to merging of the keypad characters.
There is a headset connector on the left side of the device and a VGA-camera gap, a small mirror and a loudspeaker gap providing speakerphone functions the backside. The backside hides a 900 mAh Li-Ion battery and has no backlash. According to the manufacturer the battery may work for up to 300 hours in the standby mode and up to 4 hours in the talk one. We tested the device in Moscow and it worked for about 4 days in case of 35 minutes of talks and 30 minutes of using other functions a day. Full recharging takes about 2 hours.
Having a quick look at the device you'll certainly recognize the same company that produced such models as Philips 630 and Philips 659 for Philips. That's enough looking at the main menu and you'll understand everything. The fact that makes more interest is that we were to see the device under the brand of Siemens (C-series) but then the company refused the phone. The logics of many menu items is characteristic for Siemens, for instance, assigning own functions to the buttons with confirmation. Moving the joystick horizontally is equal to pressing soft keys and that's not logical for the standby mode because there are soft keys else thus at least two possible actions are missed. Almost all the possibilities of the device may be set into the list of fast functions.
Entering the main menu is possible by pressing the joystick. Three rows of icons and the submenus are represented with vertical lists. Fast navigation using number sequences may be used in the menu.
Phone book. It's possible to set up to 4 different numbers, e-mail address, country, postcode, and company name for a name. One of 5 users' groups may be selected (a picture may be set and a melody chosen for a group). That's possible to select an image and a melody for a name. The general list represents only numbers from the main memory and SIM-card notes are shown separately. Having lighted a name you'll see a default number and other data is available by pressing the joystick. Up to 255 names with filled fields may be kept in the phone.
Messages. The one menu item joins work with SMS, MMS and e-mail. There are up to 10 templates for SMS all editable and 5 are preset. Up to 20 SMS may be kept in the internal memory. The device supports EMS standard and that allows adding animation, pictures in the message and format text.
MMS. Creating a new message rouses no questions and the interface is rather simple. The minus is that's impossible to enter a name from the phone book and you have to type it in.
E-mail. That's possible to create up to 5 accounts, select the main authentication parameters, loading only headings or full-size messages. That's natural the limitation on the size also exists and it can't exceed several hundreds KB. Not all the providers support e-mail client settings, that's pleasant the device tells about the current actions on every stage and that's possible to know about the problem that might appear (the problem of setting or your operator service is meant).
Text entering is possible both using T9 (Russian and English) and also by letter. Fast switching between various modes is possible when typing (similar to the devices by Siemens).
Call lists. Three call lists are available and up to 30 entries may be contained in each. There are no any peculiarities.
Operator services. WAP (2.0) is the main item of the menu, its settings are plain and the device supports automatic setting via SMS.
Games and applications. There are three games in the phone - Funny Toggle, Wacko, Tetris. That's interesting the names of the games differ from the corresponding menu items. All the three games are well known for ages and do not rouse any great interest. The device supports Java MIDP 1.0 and that's why loading new games is possible but only you need to find them.
Organizer. The calendar shows the current month or a week schedule. Notes may be set for a date and the priority may be set.
Clock. There is a world time function, countdown timer and timer for turning off according to a schedule.
The calculator and currency converter rouse no questions.
Settings. The sound possibilities of the phone are standard, SMAF files are supported and there is an integrated editor (up to 5 own melodies). Any event type (call, alarm clock, a message) may have a sound level and a melody set.
There is an automatic key lock, backlighting for the screen and the keypad may be adjusted, contrast level, wallpapers, and a screen saver may be selected.
Camera. There is a VGA camera set in the phone; three resolutions are present - 160x120, 320x240, 640x480 pixels and three types of file compression (high, medium and low). There are several various effects and a night mode. The quality of the taken photos is quite enough for applying in the phone.
The device allows recording 3GP video with sound up to 10 seconds in duration. The recorded clips may be sent via MMS, set as a screen saver in the standby mode. The quality is average and there is nothing more to say about them.
We do not represent photos and video since the connectivity of the device is very poor. An average user won't find a cable for synchronization though it is present among accessories. The second problem is that sending messages with attachments is possible only sometimes but not always.
Multimedia. All the images may be viewed via this menu and an album with video and also sounds is represented separately. About 3396 KB of memory is kept for all the applications, shared dynamically.
You may select different compression quality when recording voice memos (from 4.75 KBps to 12.2) but that's not felt by heart. The maximum duration is 36 seconds and the dictaphone doesn't work during conversations, it's also absent in the fast menu.
The volume of the polyphonic call signal is high and the device is heard well in various conditions. The power of the vibra is average and felt not always. The connection quality of the device rouses no cavils and it works well in city conditions.
The device belongs to the middle class devices like Siemens C65 and Motorola C650 more. The model is really inferior to the rivals in the screen quality, connectivity the absence of big number of games (the preinstalled games are not very interesting). The model is interesting as a low-end solution and will be popular with a price lower than of the listed above phones. The sales are supposed to start in the beginning of January and the price will be about 150-160 USD. The level of 120-125 USD but not higher may be considered appropriate. Taking into consideration its modern design and a standard set of characteristics the device seems to be interesting for some users. But that's impossible to predict the device will become a bestseller since the competition is very strong in this segment.
Published 31 December 2004
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