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Review Philips Fisio 820

This phone was unexpectedly unveiled. In January 2002 Philips published first photos of the phone and lifted the veil of mystery, concernReview Philips Fisio 820ing specifications. The phone was showed on CEBIT in March. Many liked it, but it its availability remained in secrecy. One of the reasons is problems of the company, which tried to transfer the production from Europe to China. It was anticipated that Fisio 820 would go on sale in September. Production volumes cant satisfy demand of all European market, most likely Philips want just to confirm its presence on this market. First phones are made in Asia and were aimed to Asiatic market, they supported only two menu and text input languages and: English and Chinese. European version of the phone support all based menu languages, including Russian (only for menu).

The phone is available in three colors: Crystal Blue, Sahara and Rosso Marte. I liked the first blue color most of all. Its not so bright as two latter ones. Fisio 820 has rather compact dimensions (98 x 47 x 21 mm), its very handy, may be, because of rounded shape. The weight of the phone is 85 grams. If to look at the front cover, you can see a silver rim round the screen. It has the same color as the keypad. This rim and the color of the keypad are the same in all three versions of phones bodies. A hole of the loudspeaker is placed on the upper part of the phone. If you try to position the phone near your ear in traditional way, you cant hear anything, because in this case your ear is near a display, not a loudspeaker. When you position the phone a little bit lower, then the sound quality will be much better. Its not very convinietn at first, but then you get used to it.

This model has a large screen with the resolution of 120120 pixels, what allows to display up to 5 text lines and 3 service lines. The phone has a color display, which is capable to support up to 256 colors. The display backlighting is white. The information is not visible, especially in artificial lighting conditions, when the backlighting is switched off in the stand-by mode. Text is highly visible, when the backlighting is turned on. Unfortunately, in sunny day the informationis faded as in Sonyericsson T68i. If to compare these two screens, Fisio has a worse one, it is more faded.

There are three soft keys placed under the screen, from one side is C button (the same button is need to press to lock a keypad) and menu key (the same is power on/off button). The keypad is made of plastic, keys also have rounded shape and they are convininet to type. We cant say that soft keys are also handy; they space too closely to each other and rather uncomfortable. Designs offered an unusual solution in this model. They united several alphanumerical keys (2, 4, 6, 8) in one navigation key. Button 5 is also used to confirm selection, what reduce using of uncomfortable soft keys. There are no keys on the phone sides; even volume key is absent. In the talking mode one can adjust volume only via a menu.

All characters are clearly visible in the dark, but font size is too slim to see them in artificial lighting conditions or sunlight.

An external antenna connector, which is covered by a rubber cap, is placed on the rear part of the phone. This rubber cap is so tightly sit in the hole, that it is very difficult to take it out. Here you can also see a ruuber word - Philips. It allows to lay the phone on angled surfaces and it doesnt slide. IR-port is not available in this model, elaborates substitute it to Bluetooth.

A system connector is located on the bottom of the phone, a portable handsfree connector is at the left-hand side of it and charger connector is at the right-hand side. Portable handsfree is included in the standard kit.

The phone has a lithium-ion battery of 620 mAh capacity, which is integrated into rear cover. This cover can be fully removed. The construction is very reliable, there is no any backlash. According to the manufacturers, the phone has up to 400 hours of stand-by time and up to 5.5. of talking time. In reality it worked about 3 days (MTS network) in case of active using (1 h. 20 min. of talking and 30-40 minutes of using other applications). In case of passive using (only 15 minutes of talking) the phone could work about 6 days. Time of full re-charging is about 2 hours.

We should note that the phones battery runs out very quickly. For example, last two points displayed on the battery indicator can disappear within two hours. If the battery is low, the phone warns you about it only 5 minutes before it is turned off. Its very inconvenient. You should get used to different phone modes and re-charge the phone in compliance with operating time in these modes. If you turn off the phone, all settings are saved. But if your phone is switched off, because the battery ran out, you should input settings of time and date once again. Then, all other data will restore automatically. The same situation happens when you change a SIM-card.

The second peculiarity of the phone is that all missed events (the last saved data before switching off and new time), including missed alarm clock, will be demonstrated non-stop after you switch on the phone.


Philips Fisio 820 is a dual-band phone. It doesnt support GSM 1900 standard. In the stand-by mode you can see a name of the local network, battery level status, signal strength level, date and time (analog or digital clocks), line with icons of activated modes.

Menu is organized on the carousel-based principle. Press Menu key and you are in the main menu, which consists of several revolved animated icons. All submenus are organized in the same way. Navigation key is used to move through menu items, to access a menu you can press any soft key or button 5. In the left corner you can see your current position in the menu. In our opinion such indication is useless. Shortcut number navigation is not available. It is possible to assign 9 tags, which provide an access to special menu itmes. The same tags are also used for speed dialing. So, choose what you need.

Lets turn to the main functions and their peculiariteis.

Names. The phone has an extended phonebook. Up to several phone numbers (mobile, home, office) and fields with other information (pager, data, fax, e-mail address, text message) can be added to one contact. Each phone number type has its own icon. There are two view modes in the total phone numbers list (Browse just manual navigation and Search by the first letter). Only names are displayed in the total list. If you highlight any name, you will see a default phone number type (in icon at the right side). With a help of side keys, you can choose the other phone number type, icons will change. Unfortunately, you cant view the phone number is this way.

If you still desire to view a phone number, enter a special menu. When you press a center soft key, you will see an icon Call. Its not logical because you can also make a call just by pressing right soft key in the previous menu. Rotate the menu twice and you are in this special menu Show. So we should make 3 steps to enter data, connected with names. In our opinion, interface is unreasoned; a user must do many unnecessary actions to solve simple problems. There are also such possibilities as sending business-card, creating short message, editing phone numbers and phone number types, setup speed dialing tags to special numbers and others in this submenu.

When you receive a call, only a name is displayed, phone number is not indicated. It is possible to assign up to 40 voice tags to the phones of the internal phonebook. You should repeat a tag 3 times to record it. It is possible to assign equal tags to different phone numbers. We recorded mother for three phone numbers, but when we try to dial one of this numbers by voice, the phone just hanged on. It was very disappointing, especially if to pay into account that many manufacturers already have unique tags control.

The phone has a dynamical memory. Up to 1800 records (or 300 contacts) can be stored in the internal phone memory. Its impossible to view both SIM-card and Phone memory simultaneously. Totally the phone has up to 272 K of free memory space, which can be used differently.

Operator Services. When you enter the main menu, you find yourself in the operator service submenu. Apparently engineers decided that functions of this submenu would be the most popular. Wap-browser (one more submenu) and access to service phone numbers are hidden here. Wap-browse in version 1.2.1 works correctly. There is nothing more interesting here.

Picture Album. A list of pictures is kept here, 5 of them are pre-installed. All pictures are stored in jpg format. You can preview a current picture and set one of the images as a background. You can also create screensavers from one or several of these pictures using setting menu. It is possible to send pictures to another device via bluetooth. The phone searches all available devices, but it is impossible to select a specific one. Search was a successive and I had problems, because I had too many devices (PC, PDA, Printer and one more phone).

When you view a picture, it is displayed on the screen. Lower you can see Ok key. But it opens one of the new menus (Delete, Change name, Send), not a previous one. It is the other example of interface problems. Many other manus have the same principles.

Messages. One can read received messages and create new ones in this submenu. The phone doesn't have its own memory for short messages, only SIM-card memory is available. When you view a list of messages, every selected message is displayed (as a creeping line). When you open a certain message, it is automatically scrolled in the full screen mode. It's rather interesting isn't it? There are 10 English templates in this handset. You can also attach many icons to the message, but only another phone from Phillips could display it correctly. There is also a problem when the memory is full. You can know about it only if you enter Messages menu, there are no other warning signs. If you don't notice that the memory is full, you won't receive messages. So, be attentive.

E-mail. Built-in E-mail client supports 2 mailboxes. It works with both protocols POP3 and SMTP. One can receive mail via GPRS. The idea is good but attachments are not supported except jpg files. Messages, which occupy more than 10 Kb, are not received.

Call list. There is a total list of received, dialed and missed phone numbers. You can view date and time of the call if you like. The list contains up to 30 records. Press joystick up to access it. You can use the phone numbers in the same way as the phone numbers from the phonebook (messages, detail view and so on).

Organiser. Organizer has a monthly, weekly and daily view. All the days of the month with events are marked by red. When you are in weekly view you can see an icon of event near every day with events. There are three types of events: meeting, rest and business. Date of the beginning and date of the end is set for every event. All the events can be recurrent (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly). You can also set reminders for every event. Sometimes it's irritating that after each reminding you need to confirm it. There is a possibility to delete several old events simultaneously. The memory of the organizer and the phonebook is dynamical. So, 300 records in the phonebook are available only when there are no records in the organizer. It's a little surprise from Philips.

Communication. All settings connected with Bluetooth and data dynchronization with PC are collected her. There is a CD, which is intende for this synchronisation, in the standard kit. We test Bluetooth function together with a bluetooth headset from Ericsson (voice commands work correctly). There were no any difficulties. There were also no problems when we synchronise the phone with PC and PDA.

Extras. Different useful applications are collected here? For example an alarm-clock. The phone can be set to alarm once, weekly or only in workdays.

Calculator is simple.

Call counters. Various call counters for both GSM and GPRS are collected here. Total duration of all calls can't be viewed. Only the counters of incoming and outgoing calls are available.

Memory Status. It shows memory status of the phone. All data you can see on a diagram. As for me it will be more comfortable if you know how many free fields left in your phonebook (in pieces not in percent).

Memo. It's a dictaphone, which can work in talk mode. Only one record (up to 30 seconds) can be recorded. You delete the first one if you try to record one more.

Settings. Traditionally you can set security levels, one of 5 themes for the display (they change the colour of the windows and the background), adjust a backlighting duration (up to 1 minute) and screensavers and so on.

All audio settings are also collected here. You can choose one of the 19 pre-loaded (+1 received) melodies, vibrating alert, mixed mode. It's interesting that you can adjust an equalizer in this model (5 settings). These settings appeared here thanks to ARM support, it's practically the first phone which does it. Unfortunately this function is operator dependent. My attempts to play with the settings were failed. I don't notice any difference, the sound in the loudspeaker wasn't changing.

Quick Settings. Several profiles are kept here, for example Meeting, Silent, Personal and others. It's disappointing that all settings are pre-default, they can't be changed. There is a list of changes typical for each profile in the manual. Either a user should learn them by heart or trust his or her intuition, I don't know what engineers thought while working out the software.


Sound quality is acceptable, as for me it is natural. To say the truth, sometimes unwanted sounds appeared. Connection quality is also sufficient. Duration of talking is displayed on the screen in the talking mode, there is a possibility to switch on a minute minder.

Its irritating that every action you should confirm by pressing a key. Menu realization is far from ideal. Sometimes interesting paper capabilities turn out to be a problem in settings and navigation. Though the phone has an extended phonebook, it is very difficult to work with it, for example, to search a phone number by its type, not by record.

Its logical that a backlighting is switched on, when you unlock a keypad. But its not logical that this backlighting is switched on while automatic keypad lock. Today Fisio 820 belongs to a fashion class phones and its rival is - SonyEricsson T68i. Im afraid that Philips Fisio 820 absolutely loses to its rival by all parameters. By the way, pay attention that the price of the phone is about 400 USD. We dont recommend you to purchase this phone. Nevertheless, if you are not going to use all functions of the phone, only a base minimum, it can be quite acceptable as it includes many new technologies. But if you need at least 60% of all available functions, Fisio 820 wont produce a good impression.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Sennikova (maria@mobile-review.com)

Published — 29 January 2003

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



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