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Review GSM phone Soutec V36
Products of the Chinese company of Soutec were already discussed. As it was said, the company was going to produce two budgetary models in a candybar form-factor first. They are the V16 and the V36. The V76 in a form-factor of slider should be exposed later. Today it will be a question of a rather small device Soutec V36 with built in a VGA-camera and FM-receiver.
The model is executed in a candybar form-factor with a built in antenna. The dimensions of this device are rather small: 110x45x13; the weight is 76 gram. The device has a pleasant design. Owing to its thin body and small weight, it can be carried easily in a pocket of trousers and in a shirt's pocket, which is especially actual in summer. The V36 is provided in a combination of gray and black. The covering is smooth by touch, and inserts of black color are varnished. The plastic's quality and assembly of the body haven't caused censures. Everything is executed at a good level.
On the right side of the phone there is a button to activate the camera. This button also serves to activate the phone's lantern if to press and hold it for some time. The button is made of rubber, so it is rather tough and so that helps to prevent accidental pressing.
On the bottom of the phone the interface connector traditionally settled down. And on the top there is a strap hole.
On the front surface a 65K STN display with the resolution of 128x160 pixels (28x24mm) is placed. The quality of the display is not so good, but quite enough for a budgetary model. In the sun reading through the information of the display is almost impossible.
The keyboard of the phone is black and made of transparent and glossy plastic. The keys are situated close to each other. A 4D navi button is square; it is comfortable to work with. An "OK" button would have been suitable. Two function keys are small and rounded off on the top, so they are inconvenient at work. It would be not so bad if keys were used rarely, but, unfortunately, the left button is constantly in use, because it responses for confirmation of an action.
Number buttons have rather acceptable sizes. Although they are settled down close to each other, no wrong pressings are usually done. There are both Russian and Latin characters on the number buttons. The keypad backlighting is blue, brighter in the center and dim on sides, so some symbols are difficultly readable in the dark.
In the top right corner of the phone's back side there is a camera. A lens is placed on an eminence; it is just slightly deepened into the phone, which protects it from accidental scratches. A little bit lower in the center there is rather a bright flash, which can serve as a lantern as well.
A stereo-headset combined with a strap for carrying phone on your neck is delivered with the phone. Volume of headphones and sensitivity of a microphone are rather acceptable for talking in any conditions.
The 560 mAh Li-Ion battery occupies the rest part of phone's back side. According to the manufacturer, it can provide up to 200 hours of standby time and up to 2 hours of talk time. Under conditions of Moscow MTS network the phone has worked for 4 days in case of 15 minutes of talks, up to 20 minutes of using various applications and 1-2 hours of listening to the radio. The full battery's charging time is about 2 hours.
The main menu is presented by 3 rows of icons. The portrayal of the main menu is executed on an average level. There is a slight braking, when using the menu, but it is quite possible to reconcile to it. The submenu is presented by vertical lists.
The localization of the device is not so good because of abbreviations used where full names could stand well. Fonts of both English and Russian versions are thin, the height of the letters is different, and there is no possibility to make changes. The company of Soutec promises everything to be corrected in a short time.
In the device there is 2 MB of memory, which is dynamically distributed between applications.
Phonebook. Up to 500 contacts can be saved into the phone's memory. A name (20 Latin symbols or 10 Russian symbols), up to 3 phone numbers, a text note (50/25), a special icon and a special group status can be added to each entry. There are 9 user's groups in the phone. In particular, an icon, a call melody and a special name can be appropriated to each group.
The Search of contacts is carried out in the general list by the first letter, by a full name or a phone number. Also there is speed dialing for up to 9 numbers.
At an incoming or outgoing call the icon attached to this contact is displayed on the screen.
Messages. Up to 300 messages can be saved into the phone's memory. Both types of memoty (SIM-card and phone) are used to keep messages. In the V36 there is no support for EMS. Messages can be written using just one chosen language. There are subject templates and fields to create own ones.
Making MMS messages some unnecessary actions can be done, so the speed of creating messages reduces. The outgoing MMS message is limited to 100 KB.
Call log. Here is information of dialed, received and missed calls. The same number's calls are grouped and their quantity is shown in brackets. The call duration is also presented here.
Multimedia. All the phone's melodies, pictures, photos and videos can be found in this section. The information of memory status can be found here as well.
Extra. Here is a plain calculator, world time function, a stopwatch, a timer and a converter in this section.
Here is a call filter (black list), which is easy to adjust. Unknown reasons cause the fact this funciton is called "Operator".
Organizer. In the given section here is a calendar with an opportunity of viewing only the whole month or the list of events. Every event can be named (60/30 symbols) and related to a date and time. You can save up to 60 events into the phone's memory. In the standby mode the calendar can be opened by pressing the "Cancel" button.
Notes. It is just a text note. And not more than 30 events can be saved into the phone's memory.
There are 3 alarm clocks in the phone. Each can work once: every day, only on weekdays or only on weekends. The melody is the same for all alarm clocks.
Settings. Here are all the settings of the phone in this section. It is possible to choose one of 4 color schemes for the display, to set one of 11 pictures as a wallpaper, and also to adjust contrast.
Here are also 5 user defined profiles.
Entertainment. Here is a WAP-browser of version 1.2.1 and games. There are 4 different kinds of games in the device: the Boxman (logic game), the Snake (wide known game), the Tetris (without comments) and the Puzzle bobble (logic game).
The Radio works only with a headset connected. There is an opportunity of manual and automatic adjustment; there is memory for 10 stations. Radio works well and rouses no censures.
Camera. In this section everything connected to the camera can be found. There is a x2 digital zoom in the device. It is activated by a joystick deviation forward and back. Images can be taken in the following resolutions: 640x480, 320x240, 256x284, and 256x240. Two effects are available (a style of an old photos and a moonlight), and also there are 8 frames for photos. There is multishooting and automatic shooting within 10, 20 or 30 seconds. Video is also available; but the duration is limited to 5 seconds.
It is possible to look through each photo in the photo album. There also can be displayed 4 smaller pictures simultaneously on the screen. Photos look not bad, but they are displayed not fullscreen. There is no IrDA in the phone, so photos are impossible to transfer to a computer. And also the cable is not shipped with the phone.
The quality of connection hasn't caused censures. The sensitivity of the microphone is enough in any conditions. The loudspeaker volume is average; hearing on a bustling street brings difficulties. A 40-tones polyphony is realized in the device, but melodies sound fair. The call's volume is enough in any conditions. A vibrating alert is of average power.
The device has caused contradictory feelings. On the one hand, the qualitative body has an interesting design; the size, the weight and its long battery life are also good for a budgetary device. On the other the menu of the device isn't well-realized; the access to some applications is complicated. Also the device doesn't support Java and MP3 melodies.
Rival Voxtel RX200, Samsung X140, LG B2000 are worth mentioning. Comparing to them, Soutec V36 has a camera and FM-receiver - and competitors have not. The device is coming in June 2005. At present the price of the device is about 140 USD, and it is expected to reduce.
Published 12 August 2005
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