Cell phones are becoming more and more advanced. Just ten years ago, cell phones were about three times the size of your portable home phone, and the service was horrible. Today, you can find cell phones much smaller then a credit card, yet has more features then you'll ever know. It really is amazing how far technology can go in such a short period of time.
Today, SLCentral.com takes a look at two high-end cell phones. Both phones are considered a Smart Phone, a phone that can be used as not only a cell phone, but also as a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). Instead of having to carry both your Palm/Pocket PC and your cell phone, these devices are designed to only require you to carry one.
The first one we will look at is the Nokia 3650. Many of you may recognize it from the various commercials in the USA. It's been a controversial phone due to not only its size, but also it's circular dial design. While most people do admit that it looks great, many complain how much of a pain it is to use. We'll look into that.
The other phone we will look at is the Sony Ericsson P800, which is actually $200-$250 more then the 3650. It is slightly smaller, and the design is very elegant and unique. The main difference between the two phones is the fact that the P800 supports a stylus, making it much like a true PDA.
But which one is worth your money? Is it better to go with the cheaper 3650? Or is it wiser to spend the extra cash and grab the P800? Read on.
The Nokia 3650 is really like no other when it comes to design. It's the first cell phone I've seen that has the circular keypad that looks great, and once you get use to it, can be very functional. All buttons are excellently placed. The Send and End buttons are conveniently right near the 1 and 0 keys, and the clear button is on the right side of the 9. There's also a edit button, that is rarely used, but can be found right next to the 2. In the middle of the keypad, you'll find the * and # buttons, as well as the menu button. Very wisely placed. Also in the middle, you'll find the navigational key, which makes it very easy to play games, browse through menus, etc. On top of that, you'll find the two shortcut buttons.
The 3650 is unlike any phone I've had any experience with; there are no buttons on either side of the 3650. You will find the power button, in Nokia tradition, on top. Unlike most other Nokia phones, the power button is very easy to press.
On the left side of the phone, you'll see the IR/Bluetooth connection area. That's the only functional thing on either side of the phone.
On the back, you'll find the camera. More and more phones have cameras these days, even the freebee phones that come with new service activation. Still, most phones don't have a camera, and it sure does stand out. Also on the back you'll find the removable back cover to reveal the battery, SIM card, and MMC card. Finally on the back, you may notice the internal antenna right above (to the left) of the camera.
On the bottom of the phone, you'll find the power port, as well as the headset port. There's also a little connector for a USB data cable that is not included in the package.
Unlike the P800, the Nokia phone features interchangeable faceplates that come in a wide variety of colors. My unit had a silvery colored one.
Despite the controversy, the Nokia 3650 is a beautiful phone that is a complete and total attention-getter, as well as a great conversation piece.
Design (Sony Ericsson P800)
The Sony Ericsson P800 really has a incredible design. It's sleek, cool, and even sexy! On the downside, however, it is heavy, even heavier then the 3650!
The P800 is a flip phone, but then again, it isn't. How you ask? Well, the keys flip down, revealing a bigger screen, instead of a plastic piece flipping up to reveal the keys and screen. Strange, isn't it? Despite it's strangeness, it's pretty darn cool. The keys are revealed at all times unless they are flipped down to reveal the bigger screen. Luckily, the keys automatically lock after a few seconds to prevent you from accidentally dialing when the phone is in your pocket.
Unfortunately, the phone is heavy and wide. While it isn't as tall as the 3650, it's about a centimeter wider, and much heavier. While it is manageable, people that I showed the phone to complained quite a bit about its size/weight. You do have to consider, however, the fact that it combines a PDA and a cell phone. Carrying a PDA and cell phone separately would most likely weigh more then the phone alone.
On the front of the phone, you'll find the keypad, which flips down to reveal a huge, 65K color screen. The screen looks great: the colors are crisp and easy to read. It's an awesome screen that's just great for a Smartphone.
On the left side of the phone, you'll find the rocker switch, as well as the power button, IR/Bluetooth port, and finally, a headset jack.
On the right side of the phone, you'll find the Memory Stick slot, a internet shortcut button, as well as a camera shortcut button. The Memory Stick included is smaller then the standard memory sticks, about half the size of a normal one. Protecting the memory stick slot is the stylus, which can be easily removed and replaced. The stylus is pretty cheaply made, and is flimsy. Nevertheless, it does the trick.
On the bottom, you'll find the power port, as well as the Sony headset port. Why is there two headset ports, you ask? Well, the bottom one is a non-standard port, and only works with Sony Ericsson branded headsets. In case you didn't buy a Sony Ericsson one, they've included the standard one, like I said above.
On the back of the P800, you'll find the very cool camera lens to take pictures with your phone. Nothing else on the back besides the battery under the cover (of course), as well as the SIM card.
Overall, the P800 was designed very well. There were no significant problems, and the only true problem of the design was the flimsy stylus. Great job, Sony!
I have to give credit to the P800 on this category. Despite its slightly heavier weight, it has a nicer design, with it's cool flip, huge screen, and easy access to the memory stick. It was a close call, though. The Nokia 3650 was also designed very nicely.
Display and User Interface
Integrated Digital Camera
Wow, as you can see, the 3650 has quite a few features. Probably the most noticeable is the camera on the back of the phone, which can take pictures up to a 640x480 resolution. While quality is not great, itís still good for e-mailing to friends and the like.
The 3650, unlike any other US phone at the time, has video recording capabilities. While there is a 15-second limit (which produces a 95K file), and the quality is pretty darn bad, itís a cool feature to have. If your family/friends have the same phone, itís cool to be able to share video (and pictures).
Another feature that is pretty noticeable on the 3650 is the big color screen. Unfortunately, itís only a 4096-color screen, even though many other phones feature 65K screens. Despite that, the screen looks great, and works just fine both indoors and out.
The 3650 has quite a bit of memory, 5MB onboard (3.4MB available to the user), and a 16MB included MMC card. If you need even more space, you can always add a bigger MMC card. The MMC card can be removed by taking the battery out, which can be quite a bit of a hassle if you want to change MMCís, or put the MMC in a device to transfer to your PC (in case you donít have Bluetooth or IR). Besides that, it works great.
The phone also has itís fair share of connectivity options. You can connect the phone to other devices via Bluetooth very easily. I connected the 3650 to both the P800 and a HP 2210 Pocket PC (look for a review on that very soon), and it worked just fine. It found both devices easily. Of course, the biggest benefit of the Bluetooth technology on cell phones is the ability to use a hands-free device wirelessly. Hands-free devices are getting very important these days, as now itís a law in New York to use one when driving (and this is expanding to other states).
Other general features are Java, MMS, SMS, e-mail support, polyphonic ringtones, speakerphone, voice dialing, and the XHTML browser.
Unlike most other phones, the 3650 runs the Symbian 60 OS. There is a Symbian 70 out currently, but in my opinion, the 60 is just fine. Iíll go into more detail about the actual OS later.
Sony Ericsson didnít provide a features list for the P800, so Iíll go through the general ones.
The P800 features a huge screen, which is one of the first things youíll notice about the phone. Itís crazy large, Iíd say almost twice as big as the 3650! The screen looks just incredibleÖnothing else to say.
The P800 also has a camera on the back, and like the 3650, can take pictures up to 640x480. Once again, the quality is not great, but itís fine for e-mailing. I found that the 3650 took better quality pictures over the P800. No video capabilities on this model.
The P800 has a whopping 12MB internal storage space (almost 4 times more then the 3650), as well as another 16MB in a Sony Memory Stick Duo. The memory stick included is not normal sized, much smaller in fact. If you want to put it in a Vaio PC for transferring pictures, files, etc, youíll need to use the included adaptor.
Connectivity is much like the 3650. Youíve got Bluetooth (which, may I add, works great), IR, and, unlike any phone Iíve ever seen, a cradle. The cradle not only charges your P800, but it also syncs to your PC. You can upload files, sync your Outlook (or Lotus Notes), calendar, contacts, notes, applications, pretty much whatever you need. IncredibleÖ
The P800 also has itís multimedia features. Unlike the 3650, the P800 can play MP3ís with no additional software needed. It can also play video (as well as streaming video). MP3 quality was excellent (when using the included headphones), and video playback was good.
The P800 can view Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Acrobat formats right on the phone. Pretty darn cool.
And can you say stylus? The P800 is the only phone that uses a stylus for navigation. The stylus is pretty cheap-feeling, but Sony Ericsson includes 3 extras in case you break or lose the other.
There are also the standard features on this high-end phone, such as Java, SMS, MMS, e-mail, polyphonic rings, speakerphone, voice dialing, and WAP 2.0.
The P800 uses the Symbian 70 OS, one step ahead of the 3650. Iíll go into this later.
Winner: P800 Hands-Down
Operating System (3650)
The 3650 OS, like I said already, is the Symbian 60. While it is one step below the P800, I found the 3650 easier to use then the P800, and the interface was much, much cleaner. Pressing the menu button brings you to 20 different icons, each going to itís separate menu (except for the first one, which brings you back to the standby screen).
First up is the Contacts menu. Here, youíll be able to add contacts, set up groups, add caller ID pictures, etc. Adding a contact is very easy to do. Just follow the steps and itíll be done in literally seconds. There are many different options you can set per contact, such as Company, Job Title, E-Mail, Fax, etc. Pretty darn impressive.
Next is Calender. You can set up appointments, and view upcoming events here. The layout is nice and very simple to use.
The 4th option is Messaging. Here, you can check e-mail, send both SMS and MMS messages, view reports, write drafts, and view older messages. Very easy to use, and very useful. In the past two days, Iíve sent a whopping 58 text messages.
Next is the Camera. Hold your excitement! It takes about 2-3 seconds to load up the camera program. Once itís loaded, youíll see the "viewfinderí right on the LCD screen. There are three different picture modes; Standard, Portriat (for Caller ID pictures), and Night. All are self-explanatory. The Standard picture on Fine mode saves a image at appx. 45KB per image.
The 6th option is Images. Here, you can view your already-taken images, sound clips, and video clips.
Thereís even RealOne on this phone! The next selection is the RealOne player, to play your video clips.
Services is next. Use this option to connect to the internet via GPRS.
Next is Video Recorder. Like I said, you can take a video up to 15 seconds in length. Quality is pretty bad.
Games, everyoneís favorite, is next. Included is Snake EX, and Mix Pix, a puzzle game.
Apps is the 11th option. Nothing comes preloaded, but in case you ever download something, itíll go here.
Profiles is the next icon. You can select different profiles for your phone to use to change the settings. The options are Normal, Silent, Meeting, Outdoor, and Pager. All you can pretty much figure out on your own. You can set up for each profile the ring, ring volume, vibrate, message volume, and alerts.
Next is Favorites. Set up shortcuts to often used programs here. Sort of pointless.
To-Do is a great organizing tool. Just write what you have to do, and check it off when youíre done with it!
Help is next. Useful if you ever have any questions. I think the entire manual is on this!
Next you have Connect, to set up Bluetooth, Infrared, and Modem. Very easy to use.
Extras is up next. Youíve got Notes, Calculator, Converter (money), Recorder, Composer (rings), Clock, Memory (info), and About (info).
SIM is the next menu. Youíve got the SIM directory, Service Numbers, and Fixed Dial here.
Log is the next one. You can check how much time youíve used on the phone, online, and how many text messages youíve sent, as well as how much data has been transferred. You can also see incoming and outgoing calls.
Lastly, youíve got the Tools menu. Youíll find Settings, Manager, Voice Mail, and 1-Touch (quick dial). In Settings, youíll find Phone (set up the Standby mode), Call (set up Caller ID, Call Waiting, Redial, etc), Connection (access points, etc), Date and Time, Security, System (network selection), and finally, accessory settings.
Operating System (P800)
The P800 uses the Symbian 70 OS, but Sony modifies it quite a bit to make it almost "Sony Branded" Itís pretty hard to use, but once you get used to it, itís fine.
Shall we take a runthrough?
With the flip closed, youíll see five different shortcut icons. Defaults are: Messages, Phonebook, Calls List, Calender, and Applications (brings you to a list of all the applications). You can use the Jog Dial wheel on the left side of the phone to select one, and you can do most things with the flip closed. However, opening up the flip brings you to the heart of the P800.
Once the flip is opened, the P800 goes directly to the applications list, letting you go to various programs on the phone, much like the Start Menu in Windows.
Iíll do a run-through of each program on the phone:
The first option is Communicam, which is obviously the digital camera on the phone, Iíll go into the quality of this later.
Next is Pictures, where you can view pictures stored on the phone, including ones taken by the Communicam.
Video is next. You can upload videos from your PC onto the P800 and view them here.
Audio is after Video. You can play MP3s, WAVís, WMAís, MIDIís, etc.
Internet is next. I did not have internet on my plan, so I couldnít use this, but it uses a WAP 2.0 browser.
Messages is next, Opening this will bring you to a choice of various "mailboxes," SMS, MMS, PCSLCentral (from my PC), Area Info (no idea what this is), Auto Setup (also no idea), and beamed. Pretty easy to use in this section.
Contacts is next. You can view your contacts, add contacts (easier to do in Outlook, though), add pictures to contacts, view contacts, e-mail contacts, etc. etc.
The next menu is Phone. Clicking this will bring you to Speed Dial selections, as well as options to change rings, Voice Control, Flight Mode (use the phone in places where phones are forbidden), Locks, Handsfree, forwarding, call waiting, blocked callers, Voice Mail, GSM, and Calling Cards. WowÖ
Calander is up next. The calendar, in my opinion, is much better then the 3650 for a professional user. Itís layout is easier, itís easier to add appointments, and itís just overall nicer.
Tasks is the next menu. It can sync with Outlook.
Jotter is next. Itís a great place to jot a note down quickly. Its also really easy to use.
Next is voice memo. Record your own voice memos easily here.
Calculator is next. Also easy to use, very simple.
Time is the next option. You can view the time here, as well as another time zone around the world. Not really sure what the point is of this menuÖ
Viewer is the next program. You can view any document on your phone here.
I was unable to test out the next menu, Remote Sync.
Control Panel is next. You can do various things here. Youíll find Certificate Manager, Display, Flip Closed Shortcuts, Flip Removed, Fomat Disk, Language Selection, Master Reset, Storage Manager, System Sounds, Text Input, User Greeting, and WIM PIN Settings. Wow.
Lastly, youíll find the GPRS data log, which tells you how much data has been sent/received via GPRS.
When the flip is open, there are 6 different shortcut icons on top. They are messages, phone book, Phone, Calendar, Internet, and Applications.
I have to admit that I thought that the 3650 has a better interface. It was easier to use, and in my opinion, much better.
Both the 3650 and the P800 has a 640x480 digital camera built in. But which one produces better images?
I took a picture of my computer setup on both phones, and then transferred them to the PC. Both pictures were set on the highest quality mode.
The P800 had sub par image quality. The picture was grainy, and pretty bad. Then again, the camera is meant to share fun pictures with friends and family, not for professional shots. It was fine for the feature it was designed for.
The 3650 had better image quality, but not much better. Quality was still grainy, but acceptable, once again, for the point it was designed for.
I tested the performance of the phone by comparing signal of both phones in the same place. Both had equal signal quality, so I had to say this was a tie.
The P800 conked out after quite some time. I got about 300 hours of standby life, a little less then the 400 Sony Ericsson says, and about 10 hours of talk time, Sony Ericsson says 13.
For the 3650, I managed to get about 150 hours of standby time, and around 3 hours of talk time. Nowhere near what I got from the P800, but still good.
Winner: P800 by a long shot
Both the Nokia 3650, and the P800 were a pleasure to "work with." But it all comes down to the bottom line, which one to get?
Youíve probably been hoping I wouldnít say this, but it depends on the person. Thereís really no other way to put it. If youíre a average user that would like to have a basic Palm-type of organizer, as well as a cell phone, go for the 3650. Not only is it much cheaper then the P800, but itís easier to use. Like the P800, it has its problems, but for the most part, itís a great phone that is perfect for users that need a basic Palm-like phone.
However, if youíre a business executive or the like, the P800 is probably the right choice. It has more power, more space, more features, more everything. Probably the two biggest things that makes all the difference are the large screen, as well as the stylus. While the phone does have itís problems (trust me, it does), itís still a good phone once you get over the confusing interface.
SLRating - Sony Ericsson P800: 9/10
SLRating - Nokia 3650: 9.5/10
Because of my total stupidness, I formatted my system and forgot to back up my "My Pictures" folder, which contains all images that are going into reviews. Therefore, all images, with the permission from Mobiledia, are from www.mobiledia.com. They have reviews on both the 3650 and P800 that are well worth reading. Thank you, Mobiledia!
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