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Dopod 595 review

Dopod 595 review
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The Dopod 595 is the world's first Windows Mobile 3G Smartphone. With such connectivity, the 595 truly gives users the seamless mobility they have come to expect from a Smartphone.FREE delivery within Malaysia.
Review On : Dopod 595
Reviewed by Tan Kit Hoong
3G Smartphone
Camera: 1.3-megapixels
Display (Internal): 65,536 colours, 240 x 320pixels
Messaging: MMS, SMS, E-mail
Connectivity: Infrared, Bluetooth, GPRS, 3G (UMTS)
Phone memory: 128MB ROM, 64MB RAM
Expansion slot: MicroSD
Battery type: Lithium-ion 1190mAh
Standby/talk time: 220/5 hours
Other Features: Windows Media Player 10, Pocket Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, Java applications
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone Edition
Weight: 115g
Dimensions (w x d x h): 112.4 x 49 x 14.8mm
Price: RM2,088
Review unit courtesy of SiS Distribution (M) Sdn Bhd, (03) 5569- 8878

Gone are the days when phones were used simply to make phone calls – now, we send text messages, make video calls, chat via instant messaging and get our e-mail messages pushed to our phones as soon as it arrives.  

While companies like Nokia and Sony Ericsson use the Symbian operating system, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone Edition dominates the market, with Motorola, Dopod, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and even Palm running the operating system on their smartphones. 

Dopod, being owned these days by Taiwanese giant HTC (the company responsible for many famous Pocket PCs and smartphones from a variety of companies) is one of the first to produce a 3G Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphone. 

That is, it is technically the first if you don’t count the 3G-enabled Dopod 900, which was actually a Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition device. Confused yet? :) 

Anyway, the smartphone in question is the Dopod 595 and it is indeed a pretty smart little phone in many ways ? except that it’s missing one rather important feature. 


As far as looks go, I get hugely polarised views on the Design of the Dopod 595 – some people think it’s not great looking while others (like me) think it looks very nice indeed. 

The Dopod 595 weighs a little more in the hand than you’d expect of a phone this size but is nevertheless pretty slim with an absolutely gorgeous 240 x 320pixel screen. 

However, the heft is a clue to what this little baby is packing under the hood – a speedy Samsung 300MHz ARM processor (that’s as good as some modern Pocket PCs), 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM, along with a 1.3-megapixel camera and Bluetooth. 

Unfortunately, the Dopod 595 is missing one feature that was found in the Dopod 577W – built-in WiFi. 

This is quite a major omission in my opinion, since this is a smartphone and always having to rely on the 3G network to browse the Internet or download your e-mail messages could ultimately cost you quite a bit. 

With WiFi, at least you can log on to free hotspots or your home WiFi network to save yourself some money and also to get even faster data throughput than the actual speeds we’re currently getting on 3G networks in Malaysia. 

The buttons, while small and concentrated mostly at the bottom of the phone, actually have good tactile feedback and work very well in practice. 

The weight also seems nicely balanced so you can press the buttons without feeling as if the phone is going to drop out of your hand. 

One thing worth mentioning here is that the little joystick used for navigating the menus has been vastly improved over previous models – the joystick is stiff enough that I never accidentally push it in another direction when I intend to push it inwards to select menu items. 

This is a problem on quite a few modern phones which have a joystick selector, and I’m glad to see that at least with Dopod phones, each subsequent generation seems to fix problems with the previous ones. 

Having said that, however, I would still much rather have a directional pad with a separate centre button like the Sony Ericsson K610i than a joystick. 

In use  

First off, you’ll find that there’s one really weird thing about this phone with regards to the SIM card slot – while pushing it in is relatively easy, taking it out is another matter altogether. 

The weirdness starts when you try to remove the SIM – doing so requires that you press your thumb down on a little black plastic tab (it’s more like black tape) then slide this tab towards you, which will then slide out the SIM. 

While it’s certainly adequate if you hardly ever take out your SIM card, I have doubts about how long this tape will last if you’re in the habit of switching your SIM card between a number of phones. 

Other than that everything is relatively normal – the Windows-like interface means you’ll probably figure out the basic functions of this smartphone pretty quickly. 

Furthermore, the Windows Mobile interface is actually consistent in all smartphones that utilise it, so if you’ve used one before, you’ll know immediately how to use this one. 

The one good thing, of course, is that there are loads of third party applications (some of which are free) which you can install for the Windows Mobile operating system. 

One of my favourites is Agile Messenger ( which is a multi-client instant messaging client – Agile Messenger supports AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ and even MSN Messenger

As far as the other phone functions go, it’s pretty standard and does everything you’d expect from a phone. 

One surprise though is that the built-in 1.3-megapixel camera is brilliant – in fact, it’s easily the highest-quality built -in digicam of any of the Windows Mobile Smartphones I’ve ever tested (which is not saying much, actually). 

Sure, it doesn’t have autofocus and hasn’t got a real flash, but sharpness, colour and white balance were in fact very good. 

Battery life was about two days on regular GSM, but if you choose to log on to the 3G network, the battery will only last about a day. 

Yes, connecting to a 3G network cuts your battery life down to about half and this is the case in all 3G phones – the rule of thumb, therefore, is that if you want the best battery life out of your phone, configure it so that it only connects to your telco via GSM, and only connect to 3G when you need it. 

I also tested video calls on the Dopod 595, and found that although audio was okay, the video coming down from the other side always seems to be choppy or just plain static (not even a slide show). 

However, I’m not sure if this is because of a slow 3G network or because of the phone. 


After a couple of weeks’ use, I really grew quite attached to the Dopod 595 – it works very well and seems pretty hardy (although only time and extended use will tell if it’s hardy enough). 

In fact, only two factors stop me from going out to buy one – the relatively high price of RM2,088 and the lack of WiFi. 

While the price will probably fall after a while, there’s still the lack of WiFi – I especially missed it when I saw my phone bill after close to a month of 3G use! 

Pros: Feature-packed phone; lots of third party applications available for Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone Edition; gorgeous screen. 

Cons: No WiFi; a little on the expensive side. 

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