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Panasonic X700

Panasonic X700
RRP: TBA
AP: TBA
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By Jonathan Cheah

At A Glance:

Price: RM1,499
Local Distributor: Panasonic Malaysia Sdn Bhd.
Contact: 03-5542 2288
Build quality: 8/10
Applications: 9/10
Interface: 8/10
Value-for-money: 7/10
Overall rating: 8/10
+ Symbian OS
+ MS Office applications
+ Bluetooth/infrared
+ Mini SD expansion slot
- Slow response time
- Short battery times

Panasonic makes quite a lot of phones. However, very little information is given out about their products. This one is the successor to the earlier GD88, and even works the same way, making that little click sound when you extend the top half of the clamshell out in preparation to use the device.

This click is also found in the Sharp GX27 that was powered by Maxis way back in late 2003 or early 2004. Either way, shall we have a look and see what is new?

Build quality
Measuring in at 97 x 49 x 24 mm and weighing in at 107g, the Panasonic X700 is Panasonic,s first Symbian OS phone. It is one of the lightest Symbian user interface handsets in the market at the moment and is housed in a sleek, silver clamshell casing. It has a pretty solid build quality and finish to it and the clamshell opens with a satisfying click to reveal a 176 x 208-pixel, 65K-color TFT screen.

When the clamshell is closed, a small screen can be seen on the front which usually shows either an analogue clock or a digital clock depending on the settings. The speaker is also housed in the front of the clamshell, together with the camera lens and infrared port.

Using the phone
The Panasonic X700 is pretty big for a clamshell and it comes with big buttons to boot. However, although the buttons are big enough for users with large fingers, they are still too shallow and can result in the wrong button being pushed at times.

Two soft keys allow the user to customise and select which applications they would like to launch when these soft keys are depressed. The menu layout is pretty similar to that of its series 60 counterparts with a default setting of three by three icons, then expand out into simple text menu commands on the second tier of the menu tree.

The phone comes preloaded with applications that some users might find useful. They include Quickword, Quicksheet and Quickpoint, which allow users to view and also make changes to Microsoft office documents. I find the keypad a bit restrictive to enjoy the full benefit of the given Office programs, but their inclusion is still a boon to the executive who is frequently out of the office.

The phone also comes with a built in VGA CMOS camera, which allows users to capture still images or video clips. Image quality, while not exactly great, is still clearer than most of the camera phones out in the market. However, VGA cameras are making way for their megapixel counterparts even as we speak.

Operational matters
Sound wise, the X700s polyphonic tones are melodious and audible. In fact they can be downright loud, which is a good feature when one is in a crowded location. The phone even supports MP3 songs and you dont even need headphones to hear them as the phone speakers can play them out crisply and clearly.

The phone connects with infrared and Bluetooth, and you can also pay to use GPRS but there is no Push to Talk. You can also choose to connect with a USB cable. Reception and voice quality on the phone are clear and the audio output from the phone speakers is good, especially when MP3s are being played on it.

The best thing is the X700 offers expandability options for applications and memory through the use of the Mini SD format. The phone even comes packaged with a Mini SD adaptor in case youd like to use it for other devices or easier data transfer.

The only low point of the Panasonic X700 is the speed at which its applications load and run. It can be really slow and annoying when it takes forever to get a program loaded into memory and ready for the user to make input into the device. The X700 is nice phone but the slow loading applications make it a rather tough choice especially to those who like a little speed in their smart phones.

Editor,s Opinion

Panasonic phones still run at their rather slow operating speeds, and when we had a chance to have a look at the new X700, the first thought was as to the response speed of the device. Although the promoter kept going on and on about how much better this phone was, and that it could do a lot of things with Microsoft office software, it is my opinion that the keypad is a bit restrictive for input, and you might want to pair this with a good Bluetooth keyboard to get the full benefit of the device.

The price is excellent, and I would say that RM 1,500 is a very good price for a handheld device that can edit MS Office documents on the fly. However, the great idea is sullied by poor execution, namely the insipid speeds that this product runs at. To be fair, most users are not capable of using MS office fast anyway, but this is really too slow and I really hope that the next generation of Panasonic phones come with faster processors.

So there you have it in a couple of sentences. The best feature is the ability to edit MS Office on the go, while the worst feature is the really slow speed of the device. This could be one of the reasons why the price is rather good, namely because the processors used are not expensive anymore. It would also be good if the batteries lasted a bit longer. Plus and minus, the price is a fair one if you can take the slower speeds. Else, go get a Nokia Symbian and buy the MS Office editing software from the web.

Panasonic X700 - Review By Zam Karim

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