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Review Sharp GX15
Sharp has not many classical models in its products range, instead of clamshells. One of such models is Sharp GX15 which can be considered the model of the initial level in the company's presentation. Naturally, this phone cannot be considered the low-end model all over the world. GX15 remains Sony Ericsson T610/T630, and even their designs are similar. On the other hand GX15 has better display and it is not surprising because it is the company’s own development. In contrast to GX30 the IrDA is completely functional here and Bluetooth allows you both to transfer photos and video and to accept files of all supported formats.
The design of the phone reminds the model from the Japanese market. It is difficult to describe the differences from the European models, but you may guess it in the contours of the phone. The size of the phone is comfortable (105х45х17.8 mm), as well as its weight (84 grammes).
The screen occupies the largest part of the front cover, its resolution is 120х160 pixels (28.8x38.4 mm) and it allows displaying up to 7 text lines and 3 information bars. Being the best in its class the screen displays the picture very bright (TFT, 65000 colors). You may compare the display with its analogues by Samsung. While comparing it with Sony Ericsson T630 it is possible to tell about the unconditional advantage of the described model. On the sun the screen fades, you see it rather bad, it is necessary to search an appropriate view angle.
The keypad is made of plastic, the disposition of the function buttons is little bit similar to Sony Ericsson T230. So, soft-keys are combined it vertical blocks with the call and cancel keys. There is a comfortable joystick between them. Alphanumerical keys are of the average size and quite comfortable. Backlight color is green, but charaters are well visible only in the full darkness.
The joined volume button is located on the left side. On the right side you can see the camera button. At the foot the headset connector with plastic cover is situated. Here you can also find a strip hole. There is an IrDA window on the top and the interface connector in the bottom.
On a back surface you will see the VGA-camera lens and a mirror beside it. The back cover moves down opening the battery compartment. It does not have any backlash, it is well fixed. The battery is Li-ion of 780mAh capacity. According to the manufacturer it is capable of providing up to 2 hours in the talking mode and up to 180 hours in the stand by mode. In case of Moscow MTS network the phone has worked three days in case of 40 minutes of talk and 25 minutes of using other functions. The time of the full phone charging is approximately 1.5 hours.
The menu organization in this model is absolutely similar to Sharp GX30. You can enter the main menu by pressing the OK button. Inside the menu you can use the shorcut number navigation. In our phone, just like in all non-operator’s versions the original appearance of the menu is present; it is much more interesting than the interface from Vodafone. The sub-menus are presented with lists, everything is pretty traditional and there is nothing special. It's unusual that all actions are assigned to the left soft-key in this menu interface. For example if you miss some calls, receive SMS, the proper icon will appear on the screen, but you will be able to see the info only by pressing the left soft-key. It will not take a lot of time to get used to such convenient system.
Call manager. Several functions are included here: phonebook, call lists, fast dialing list.
The numbers from SIM-card and phone are displayed in the phone book separetly, the memory type icon is seen in the common list. The first peculiarity of the phone is that the fast search can work not only by one letter or three of them, but by full field’s length. I do not think that anyone will decide to type up to 10 symbols in order to find the required contact, but such feature is present anyway.
The group’s icon is displayed on the left from the contact, in the top you can see the default number, photo (if present) and e-mail address. After you press OK you will see all details). Each contact can contain two e-mail addresses, the address’ type is specified as well (home, office, mobile, other, unknown). The address is not spread into separate entries, you can enter up to 100 symbols. The text note can be filled with 60 symbols as well. Among other features we can mention the groups (there are 6 of them). You can assign custom ring tone to every contact.
The contact groups can be powered with custom ring tones and vibrating alert’s type (enabled, disabled, enabled in tact with the ring tone). Up to 500 contacts can be saved in the phone’s memory (with all fields entered as well, it does not matter).
Whenever there’s an incoming call the caller’s name and the number will be displayed in the internal screen, as well as the type of the number and a small icon. After few seconds this information will be replaced with the photo displayed in the fullscreen mode (if there is any). The quality of this function realization is very high, you can see all what you are interested in. From the phonebook’s menu you can also send SMS, no matter how the number is defined (mobile, home, office).
Summing up the phonebook’s possibilities, we can say that it has all the required features, on the other hand it is not overloaded with unnecessary functions and is rather flexible. It can be used by both business and common users.
Call lists. Traditionally all three lists of calls are present: incoming, outgoing and missed. In each list 10 entries are displayed, date and time can be viewed for any of them. From the standby mode only the list of dialed numbers can be accessed. The peculiarity of the lists is the following: all equal calls (numbers) are not summed up, but recorded separately.
The fast dialing is possible for 9 numbers; any type of the number can be fast dialled, not only default numbers.
Profiles. The phone has 6 profiles, for each you can setup basic features, and some additional as well: reduction of echo during the talk (unique feature). There is a possibility to change profiles quickly from the standby mode.
Settings. Main settings of the displays are teh following: adjustment of contrast level, wallpapers, a picture during incoming call. There is minute-timer, which can be used during the phone call. Finally this menu has all settings for MMS, GPRS and WAP and besides, Bluetooth settings are placed here as well. I’d like to notice that the phone supports not only voice profile, it can be used for data transfer as well.
Messages. You can create concatenated messages (up to 1024 symbols). While entering the text you can use the T9, which cannot be filled with new words. The icons or ring tones cannot be added for SMS messages, because the phone does nott support EMS. Since MMS is available here, the use will not experience big difficulties. It is simple to use messages menu. You can create several paegs with various objects.
The phone has text templates, which can be used in various messages. There is no e-mail client in the phone, what is rather strange.
Gallery. Here you can view all images, sounds and Java apps, as well as the video stored in the phone’s and memory card’s memory. The phone has only 1.8 Mb of the memory that is enough for custom users but not for those who like to use the phone as much as possible. It is necessary to add that the phone supports such audio-formats as: Midi, Wav, SMAF.
Organizer. Up to 8 alarm clocks can be setup, they can be used for certain date or daily usage. The calculator is convenient; the same can be said about the currency converter.
The ring tone editor allows creating 8, 16 or 32 chord ring tones. Everything is pretty traditional, nothing special.
The calendar has the month view, but for a certain date you can enter up to 3 small text notes. (the meeting, the timetable, the anniversary). The main task, time of the beginning and the ending are underlined for each note, indicating if the alarm is necessary or not is displayed as well here. It is much more advanced version of the organizer than in Sharp GX 30 (only a small text note).
The Dictaphone allows recording files with up to 30 seconds length. The number of such entries can be limited only by the amount of free memory.
Help is a curios section, here you can read short information about each section and keys, ways of navigating around the phone. But I wonder, whether a person who reached this section by himself will really need it?
Camera. In this phone there is a 350000 pixels matrix which allows receiving pictures of VGA or lower resolution (480õ640, 240õ320, 120õ160). Two types of JPEG files compression are supported –normal and fine. You can also set the timer.
The camera is digital and it has a quadruple zoom. You can also adjust the contrast (from -2 to +2), but you can not switch off the sound of the shutter. The quality of pictures is rather good, it is outstanding.
The phone supports video recording (3GP, MPEG4), the size of the one record is up to 95 Kb. You have an opportunity to switch off the voice recording and choose the compression type. The video is recorded with the frequency of up to 10 shots with the maximum quality, which is not too much (the resolution is 128õ96 pixels).
This is one of the best cameras in its class but, naturally it loses to the mega-pixels models (but they have another class and price). There is a built-in graphic editor which will help you to change your photos, to add frames and icons to them. This function is rather interesting and will diversify your time.
WAP. This phone has WAP-browser 1.2.1(supporting xHTML and wml), it works pretty fast. Unfortunately in case if GPRS connection will be unavailable, the phone will immediately start CSD-connection without any warning.
PC Sync. The only way to sync the data with your PC is via the data cable or IrDA or Bluetooth. The software comes from Mobile Action, this solution became popular among manufacturers, for example, in case with Panasonic X70 we can see the same software. The software allows uploading new wallpapers (both displays), fit their size and edit them. The same thing can be said about the ring tones. You can also synchronize contacts and messages. Actually this software provides the required amount of possibilities. The interface is similar to GX30.
The performance. Once again we were testing the performance with the help of JBenchmark v2.0.2 (The phone has Java MIDP 2.0). The result was the following:
Such low result can be explained by the fact that only the second version of MIDP is supported here. Rather weak processor does not support all opportunities. As a result all the applications rich with graphics will be executed slowly.
The results of this test are better; they are comparable with the competing phones. At the same time the opportunities of working with graphic are rather poor, it is a disadvantage of this phone. The maximal size of the application is limited up to 95 Kb.
The network reception quality does not raise any problems, speakers sound clear, without any extraneous noise. The volume of 40-tone polyphony is average, it is heard well in the house but not on the street. The power of vibrating alert is average or even less, vibration is petty and some people do not like it.
Advantages of this phone are: teh perfect display, full functional IrDa, bluetooth, successful camera. The phone is well balanced and became an interesting solution. The main disadvantage of this model is that it has such competitor as Sony Ericsson T630. Costing the same price Sony Ericsson wins because of the more stylish design (materials and plastic are more expensive). The Sharp's model appears on the market too late and that is the reason of the high price. It is clear that the company advances this model as a fashion mobile, but in reality it is not true for the brand with the minimal history on the phones' market. To be a fashion model the phone should have some unique functions or to be well known. Sharp GX15 does not fulfill neither the first nor the second condition.
While costing about 250 dollars the phone will not be selling masively, but potentially there is a market niche for it till now. Real cost of the similar model today is about 175-200 dollars, but it is contrary to the politics of the company. Therefore you should not consider this model the serious applicant for competition in its class, though speaking of its functions the model is one of the best. However the high price cancels everything and makes the model being of a higher class (and here its features are lower than competitors).
You may find another name for this phone; Sharp offers it as ODM-phone. You may see the model Xera in Europe now, here it is called GZ100. There is no any difference with the original. It would be interesting for you to watch the advertise of this model on the Xera web site, I advise you to do it.
Published 25 August 2004
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