Written on: 04/08/2004 by benhester (2 reviews written)
FOR: Looks, Camera, Displays, Torch / Flash, MP3 Player, SD Card Slot, Bluetooth, IR Port, Stability of software!!
AGAINST: Call sound Quality, Network Reception, Battery Life, Bluetooth IR PORT and SD Card slot all have limited useage, Calender Useless, No Menu / shortcut preferences.
At first glance the Sharp GX30 seems to be an impressive phone. It looks the part and feels very well put together. Toys are in their plenty, and anyone who has had a camera phone before is going to be amazed when they use the GX30's.
The camera has several resolution settings, with fine and normal quality. It has several levels of digital zoom (dependant on the resolution setting) and has shortcut keys to access features such as brightness level, flash (LED) setting and viewfinder (main / external display). Photo's taken on full quality a are impressive, with vivid colour and lots of detail. However, photo's taken in full quality are large (around 300k) and will soon fill up the phones memory, so purchasing a larger memory card is a must. (The Vodafone supplied 8mb is good for a start, but the snap happy user may want a 64 or 128mB so they don't have to keep deleting). These picture will also take around 5 seconds to save and will take forever to load thumbnails when looking through your picture album.
Gamers will love this phone, the display is amazing, with fast refresh rates and vivid colour.
The GX30 has a very tactile keypad too, with good size buttons and a sensible layout, making controlling your game quite easy.
The MP3 Player reads from the phone memory or the SD card, allowing several albums to be listened to (if you buy a large enough card). But sound quality isn't too amazing, only 5 volume levels are available and playback background noise is present with pops and crackles between tracks. In addition, the supplied earphone is mono and of poor quality. If only they had used a normal 3.5mm headphone jack!!.
One thing to be aware of, if you're thinking of using it as a personal stereo then beware. The MP3 playback will quickly flatten your battery, giving between 4-8 hours depending on volume.
The SD card slot is handy for not only MP3, but for storing your photo's on. Allowing the card to be removed and connected directly to a PC or printer for download or printing. Unfortunately, the SD card cannot be used for java applications, so memory for games is limited to the internal 6MB.
Bluetooth and an IR port are boasted for connectivity, but as many have noticed, the BT connection, is only available for hands free usage and not data. IR is available for modem connection and for the PC link up, but it would have been better if both IR and BT could be used for downloading and uploading files too!.
The calendar is a real let down, with space for entries galore, but no scheduling or To-Do / Reminder features at all.
Menu's are not flexible, shortcuts cannot be changed and are limited only to the pre programmed Vodafone system. Which although simple to use, is a bit dull and limiting for an experienced user.
My biggest shortcut gripe, is the way that the Text shortcut button, instantly changes to SOS as soon as signal is lost, meaning that in poor reception areas you may end up accidentally calling for help!!. NOT VERY CLEVER VODAFONE!!!
Last of all, Reception is very sensitive. In poor signal areas you can put the phone on your desk and be greeted with "No Network". However, if you then stand the phone with the antenna vertically in the same position, you suddenly have full signal indicated. Indeed this shows true as left on the desk horizontally, calls to the phone are announced as "Unavailable" meaning you have no signal. Put the phone upright and I can make and receive calls without any problem and walk happily around the building without so much as hiccup in the transmission / reception. (Incidentally, this is my 2nd GX30, as when the first one did this I assumed it was faulty and got it replaced immediately!)
In these poorer signal areas, (where you may or may not get a signal depending on which direction you leave the phone pointing in) the battery tends to last about 40 hours. This is with about 1 hour of calls and perhaps 1 hour of camera / game playing.
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