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Philips 298 review

Philips 298 review
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The svelte Philips 298 is surprisingly packed with a full suite of cool multimedia features. To maximize your enjoyment, MicroSD card slot lets you pack in even more multimedia files, thanks to the extra 2GB storage capacity.
Review On : Philips 298
By Loh Ving Sung
At A Glance:

Local Distributor: Grand Dynamic Resources Sdn Bhd
Contact: 03-9200 1888
Build quality: 8/10
Built qualaity: 8/10
Application: 8/10
Interface: 8/10
Value-for-money: 9/10
Overall rating: 8.5/10
+ Slider
+ Lightweight
- No Bluetooth


The Philips 298 is an entry level slider phone, and is Designed as a replacement for the S890. We manage to get our hands on an engineering set.
Design
First things first, the slider is springy, easy to push and looks solid. Closing and opening the slider is a smooth affair without much effort. The 3x3 grid system is proprietary Phillips Software to the core.


The phone’s dimension stands at 95 x 47.5 x 13.9 millimetres. The 298 weights in at 82g and is lightweight and feels great on the hand. The phone is covered with plastics and the front display is covered with a translucent plastic and looks scratch-proof.
This compact phone has large buttons which we really liked – texting was easy and we could avoid cross-typing buttons. The front keypad is simple enough, with two primary buttons, call/end call button and a central navigation keypad. When the slider is pushed up, the phone is activated immediately and the keypad is revealed. The central navigation key allows shortcut keys to the media player, alarm, user profiles and the tone setup.


The 1.8 inch screen is a 262k TFT display, which is more than some smartphones. The display is bright and crisp, with display pictures coming out strong.
The slider automatically locks out the phone, but it still can be unlocked by pressing both menu and name key one after the other. Sliding out the phone, will automatically unlock the phone and brings out the keypad. The phone still maintains a slim figure, and you’ ll especially notice how thin the screen is when we pushed it out. The backlight for the keypad is also worth pointing out, as the blue not only illuminates but serves as eye candy in the dark.
Keying in our phone number was a peculiar experience though, as the display numbers are multi-coloured, hopefully this is merely the engineering unit’s look.
The left spine of the phone has a microSD slot, which has a rubber pop flap which covers it. The microSD allows hotswapping, which is a great feature. But removing the SD card is a bit of a challenge, especially if you have bigger fingers, as the SD is plugged in deep- carrying something (preferably a pin) that can reach in is a good idea. The pop flaps look a little flimsy, and doesn’t seem to stick in properly, frankly running around with the flaps out is akin to waiting for it to rip out.

Meanwhile, the right spine has the mini-USB port, which is also covered by a rubber pop flap and a quick camera button. The back of the phone has a 1.0 megapixel camera .When we popped opened the cover - the 600mAh Li-ion battery shields the SIM slot.
According to the manufacturer the battery life lasts up to a 220 hours’ on standby time and has a call time of 12 hours.
Features
Philips 298 has an MP3 player which allows music in its entirety. You can refresh your MP3-library at any time, using USB-cable for transmission of MP3 files from your computer to your phone. You can also use MP3-ringtones on your choice.
The phone itself comes with 1650kb worth of Internal memory. A slot for MicroSD can have a maximum of 2GB worth of memory space. With GPRS enabled, the 298 also allows connectivity to the Internet through WAP.

The user profiles allow five profiles for tweaking- General, Meeting, Outdoor, Indoor and Headset. The 298 has a bunch of preset wallpapers and user’s can use snapped photos to be used as wallpaper as well.
The 298 plays AMR, MiDi and MP3s in the audio player, the audio player is relatively simple to handle. Meanwhile, the video player plays AVI files and Motion JPEG codecs.
Data transfer is also relatively easy-to-use, with the mini-USB we just had to copy and paste our files to listen to mp3s.
PIM
The 298 comes with an organiser and has options like alarm, calendar, calculator, e-dictionary, e-reader, to do list, world clock, unit converter and a currency converter. The phone also comes with Phillips health counters, including a Body Mass Index and Menstrual counter for the health conscious.


The organiser also has a file manager for data management for your files. The manager is simple enough with options to move files through and fro between your phone and memory card.
Connectivity
The phone is comes with a few connectivity options, the phone operates under either of the dual-band (GSM 900, 1800MHz) frequencies and for data transfers – the 298 relies on GPRS. The lack of Bluetooth is made up by mini-USB cable.
Camera
Philips decided to pull an upgrade over us with the 298 by placing a 1.0 megapixel camera, with numerous options to tweak the settings of the images, from the colour effects (greyscale, sepia, sepia green, sepia blue and colour inversion) to the white balance (florescent, tungsten, cloud, incandescence). The camera also allows shooting up to 480 x 680 pixels. Picture taken are decent and clean, and is best taken under good lighting conditions.

The 298 has a VGA video recorder which has colour settings to white balance, and the video quality could be set range from low to high quality. The camcorder has a 3x digital zoom, it is also possible to set the exposure for the device.
Games
There are three games for the 298- simply named Monkey, Chicken and Submarine.


Submarine involves keeping a submarine afloat without hitting the bottom and avoiding obstacles at the same time. Meanwhile, Chicken has you manoeuvre a hapless chick from a constantly falling trash compacter like trap while surviving other traps below. Finally Monkey, involves a jumping a monkey from one tree trunk to another (there are three), killing critters by sliding down all the while not getting hit by said critters. Overall, these are all good games and all good distractions.

Verdict
In conclusion, the Philips has a good slider, and the features are easy to get a hang of with only a few things to learn. At RM 299, the Philips 298 drives home its point as a text and call phone with undemanding Multimedia capabilities. If you are looking for a phone that has a basic premise without difficult features and a cool slider, the 298 is for you. The 298 will drop in the 2nd quarter of 2008.


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