E-TEN glofiish M700 Pocket PC Phone

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INTRODUCTION

   Ever since E-TEN’s
glowfiish M700 arrived about ten days ago, I’ve been
bouncing around the house, humming that slightly
modified lyric line in my head.  I can’t seem
to stop.  Weird… I know. But hey…what’s a
guy to do?  I’ve had a couple
different E-TEN Pocket PC Phones.  My first
experience, with the M500 was rather disappointing. 
You can see my New Equipment Blogs with the M500
here:
(Day
00
,

Day 1
,

Day 2
,

Day 3
,

Day 4
).  The
radio just would NOT hold a call on the Cingular/ATT
850MHz band. When I was approached with the
E-TEN G500
review, I was a bit cautious. 
E-TEN products are nice, but I was still smarting
from my M500 experience That device wasn’t bad, but
still had trouble holding calls in Nashville, TN. 
Today, kids, it’s the brand, spankin’ new E-TEN
Glowfiish M700. What kind of gadgety goodness has
E-TEN bundled up in the M700 for us?  Does it
shine or <sigh> glimmer any better than the other
two devices I’ve looked at?  Let’s take a look
and find out!

WHAT’S HOT


    Like
the
X500
and

G500
before it, the Glowfiish M700 has an
embedded GPS receiver in it. That, and the new slide
out keyboard definitely give the M700 that kitchen-sink feel too it. Over the last 10 or so days, I’ve
been putting this new device from E-TEN through its
paces. Recently, my family moved BACK to the
Chicagoland area after an absence of about 6.5
years. We’re living on a different side of town, and
what do I know about the West Suburbs..?  Not a
darn thing…and you know me: I have a really bad
sense of direction.

    So – about the specifications. It’s running with a 400MHz Samsung SC32442 processor, 128MB ROM, 64MB RAM, Quadband GSM with EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11b/g, an external microSD slot, FM radio, SiRFStar III GPS chipset, and a 2.8", QVGA screen.

Device
Size (inches)
Weight (grams | ounces)
4.44" x 2.47" x 0.52"

132 | 4.65
4.44" x 2.27" x 0.63"

156 | 5.61
4.74" x 2.63" x 0.43"

157 | 5.53
4.33" x 2.09" x 0.59"

117 | 4.12
4.66" x 2.48" x 0.47"

130 | 4.58
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.64" x 2.36" x 0.48"

129 | 4.55
3.96" x 2.34" x 0.67"

133 | 4.76
4.68" x 2.44" x 0.67"

188 | 6.63
4.58" x 2.42" x 0.47"

120 | 4.20
4.56" x 2.33" x 0.65"

178 | 6.28
3.92" x 2.41" x 0.60"

137 | 4.83
4.24" x 2.09" x 0.53"

117 | 4.12
4.17" x 2.00" x 0.85"

151 | 5.34
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.57" x 1.70" x 0.64"

140 | 4.94
4.88" x 2.44" x 0.53"

130 | 4.56
4.21" x 2.20" x 0.55"

120 | 4.20
4.53" x 2.47" x 0.47"

146 | 5.15
4.63" x 2.19" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.35" x 2.07" x 0.67"

158 | 5.57
4.56" x 2.41" x 0.51"

125 | 4.41
4.44" x 2.36" x 0.55"

133 | 4.69
4.01" x 1.98" x 0.55"

124 | 4.37
8.28" x 4.67" x 1.08"

640 | 22.5
4.48" x 2.52" x 0.59"

154 | 5.43
4.17" x 2.38" x 0.68"

147 | 5.18
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.71"

165 | 5.82
4.41" x 2.24" x 0.49"

122 | 4.30
4.41" x 2.28" x 0.73"

140 | 4.94
4.01" x 2.00" x 0.45"

110 | 3.88
4.56" x 2.36" x 0.70"
200 | 7.05
4.30" x 2.40" x 0.60"
120 | 4.23
4.20" x 2.30" x 0.60"
136 | 4.79
3.70" x 2.30" x 0.60"
126 | 4.44
4.48" x 2.39" x 0.51"
116 | 4.09
4.60" x 2.60" x 0.50"

134 | 4.70

4.10" x 2.10" x 0.60"
150 | 5.30
4.40" x 2.32" x 0.75"
190 | 6.70


   
As you can see from the chart above, the three
E-TEN’s we’ve reviewed here at pocketnow.com are all
similar in size.  The Glowfiish X500 is the
smallest of the three; while the G500 is the
largest.  The other hot item on the M700 is its
slide out keyboard; and I’ll have comparison photos
between it and the KJAM after the rest of the
unboxing photos I have.

(all images link to higher resolution)


This is the M700’s box.


Opening the top
box flap reveals the device, peaking through
the box. The white,
rectangle covering the M700 is the screen protector
that E-TEN includes with the device.


The device on
the left, and the included belt case on the
right.
Everything in the
box, all nice and neatly wrapped.


The contents of
the box, unwrapped and laid out
.

    From left to right,
the E-TEN Glowfiish M700, the screen protector, the
1530mAh battery, the US AC plug, the Getting Started
Guide and Software CD, the headset, the device case;
and in the center are the Universal AC adapter and
the mini USB cable.  Clearly missing from this
rig versus the gear included with the G500 is the
windshield mount, car cradle and auto adapter. Its a
good thing that I had a mini USB auto adapter that I
had used with my KJAM.  Without it, using the
M700’s GPS functions while driving would have been
problematic.  GPS needs to have a constant flow
of power, or else the device will shut down/will
time out after no button or screen activity.


Front View from left to
right, the Siemens SX66, Palm Treo 750,
Glowfiish M700, Palm 700wx and iPAQ 6945
.

   
As you can see from the picture above, the M700 (in
the middle) is about the same size and width as the
two Treo’s to either side of it. The screen isn’t as
wide as any of the other devices pictured; and it’s
just a little bit longer than the screen on the
6945.  The screen on the SX66 is just WAY
bigger than anything pictured. What really
disappoints me the most about the M700’s screen is
that for all the case it has, the screen is only
2.8" diagonal. The screen is the same size as the
screen on KJAM that I have. The
device could have had a MUCH bigger screen, and
really could have been a better GPS device for it.

   
Please make sure you click the image above, and
check out the specifics of the buttons on the front
of the M700. There are 4 buttons, plus the softkey
buttons on the face of the M700. The two near the
top are the GPS and MDesk buttons.  The GPS
button launches the internal GPS applet. It’s great
for showing the actual global position of the GPS
satelites that the device tracks. It also shows you
a compass and other interesting information (see
additional pages of this review for software screen
shots). MDesk is the application launcher that E-TEN
includes with all of its devices. Personally I don’t
like app launchers and specifically don’t care for
MDesk. It eats a lot of memeory.

   
You’ll also notice that the phone buttons are oddly
shaped on the M700. This unusual shape makes them
especially difficult to work with, and I’ve had
trouble answering and ending calls with them. The
DPad and Action button on the device are also
unusual. The Action button almost seems like a
joystick, as it moves in a circular motion around
the DPad; but it doesn’t function that way. It also
isn’t easy to work with, and seems rather confusing.
Plainly put, the buttons stink, and their placement
isn’t that great, either.


Back View from from left to
right, the Siemens SX66, Palm Treo 750,
Glowfiish M700, Palm 700wx and iPAQ 6945
.

    Each device, except
the SX66, comes with a 1.3MP camera or better. The
M700 has a 2MP camera. The pictures from the M700’s
camera aren’t bad. However, it doesn’t handle motion
well at all.  There’s about a 1-1.5 second
delay between live action and what displays on the
device screen when the camera app is active. 
Below, is a GREAT
example of motion problems and the camera app. 
During a recent trip to the Bass Pro Shop in one of
the local malls here in Chicagoland, I tried to take
a number of photos of my kids.  The results
were NOT impressive. My son doesn’t hold still for
anyone. He is always on the move, taking in the
world around him.


    Let’s take the Glowfiish M700 and a couple other devices
for a spin…here is the left side of
each device.  On the M700 (in the middle), we find the
volume up and down buttons, the record/Voice Command
button and the wired headset connection.
The device’s
keyboard also slides out from the left side. 
Again, I’ll have a keyboard comparison shot later in
the review.


The bottom of
each device. On the M700 (in the middle),
you see the microSD slot and the mini USB
port.  The stylus silo is on the very
bottom of the right side corner.

   
It’s unfortunate that the device uses a microSD card
instead of a miniSD or SD card.  I’d like to
thank Judie Hughes of Gear Diary for giving me a 1GB
microSD card (for another project on Gear Diary),
other wise I wouldn’t have one. I think the microSD
format is too small, and that the flash cards will
get easily lost between devices (for those of us
that happen to switch devices a lot), be they mobile
devices or other electronics that might use the card
format.



The right side
of each device. On the M700 (in the middle),
you see the camera button (to activate the
camera app and snap pictures), the soft
reset button 3/4 of the way up the right
side, and the power button.
Compared to the
other devices, the M700 seems rather slim.


The top of each
device. On the M700 (in the middle), there
is nothing at all.

    The biggest addition to the Glowfiish line of PPC Phones on
the M700 is the inclusion of the slide out keyboard. 
The keyboard on the M700 reminds me of the keyboard
on the HTC Apache. The keys are large, square and
evenly placed. Like the G500 and its TRON look and
feel, the keyboard on the M700 has blue plastic,
backlit lines between each row.  The keyboard
is also backlit with a blue light.


   
When using the keyboard for e-mail or Contact
lookup, a quick simple nudge opens it up. The nice
thing is that the keyboard slider seems nice and
stiff, and seems to lock in place well. I’ll let you
know over time how it holds up, or if, like my KJAM,
it loosens up.


Here is a comparison of
the keyboard on the M700 and the widely-used i-mate KJAM
.

   
I honestly didn’t like the keyboard on the M700 very
much. The action on the keyboard was a bit flat, and
seemed a bit out of place for such a big keyboard. 
I really expected a little more tactile feedback
from the larger keys. Honestly, I am also a little
spoiled with the Treo 750 and iPAQ 6945. Using both of those, with the keyboards on the
front of the device, like a Blackberry, has made
typing out e-mail very easy and more efficient. 
I don’t have to turn the device on its side and
slide the screen up to get to the keyboards on
either device. However, the keyboard on the M700
isn’t bad. I just like the keyboard on the 6945 and
the 750 a little better.




MORE VIEWS
 



This is what the M700 look like in-hand. The screen is small, but the
device is quite large. There’s a great deal of
device real estate above and below the LCD that
could have been used for additional screen space.



   
I have no idea why E-TEN colored the "phone keys" on
the keyboard a dark color. It is very unlikely that
I’d make a call with the device in landscape mode;
and I don’t see enterprise users doing it either;
but that has nothing to do with E-TEN or the M700 and
everything to do with device use.




SOFTWARE
    The Glowfiish M700 comes with a great deal of software on the
device. After a hard reset, it installs
approximately 24 different applications. Some of
these are a value add, others…not so much, in my
opinion. However, I’ve got a few screen shots of
the software apps that are unique to the M700 or
merit mentioning.

    

On the left: All of the
software the device installs after a hard
reset is removable.  On the right: The Application
Recovery applet

    If you want to
reinstall any of the Extended ROM apps,
without Hard Reset the device, you can use
Application Recovery to do it.  Which
is a really cool idea.  The fact that
these apps can also be removed and put back
as needed is a nice touch.  I’d like to
see something like this done with all
devices that have extended ROM’s. I don’t
always like or want all of the included
software that comes with a device. Removing
it with the option to reinstall it, without
hard resetting the entire device is a huge
step in the right direction.

    

On the left: This is the GPS
Viewer applet’s Compass Page. On the right: This is the GPS
Viewer applet’s Satellite page

   
The M700 doesn’t include any GPS apps with it. If
you want to use the included GPS receiver for
navigation, then you’re going to need to get your
own navigation software. Sad…but true. I’ve also
noticed that the GPS Viewer has an issue with speed.
The units are listed as Kilometers per hour, but in
actuality, it seems they are closer to miles per
hour; but even if that’s the case, the reading is
still inaccurate. I think the problem lies with the
Viewer and not the receiver, however, as when I have iNav’s
iGuidance running, the speed seems to come
across accurately.

    

On the left: The GPS
Receivers AGPS app. On the right: The settings
screen of the AGPS app


    

On the left: You can send GPS
based SMS messages to your contacts with
Location SMS. On the right: The FM Radio app which provides just medicore reception
.


    

On the left: The E-TEN Speed
Dial applet (VERY useful).  On the right; The device
configures carrier settings automatically
.


    

On the left: The M700 comes
with its own backup app. It is automatically
configured to run every night. On the right: Tap the mallet
icon to get to this configuration screen


    

On the left: Tap the wrench
icon in the lower left corner to get to this
configuration screen. On the right: Tap the mallet
icon next to the Auto backup files… check
box to get to this configuration screen


    

Configure your
backup schedule and, on the right, Manage backup
files.


    

On the left: Choose a backup
file to restore from. On the right: The M700’s WiFi
Utility


    

On the left: The M700’s WiFi
Utility. On the right: Configure your
Wireless Networks here



Benchmark Results / Help &
Support / Conclusion…


Benchmark Results

    Due to a small hard drive mishap, I lost most of my PPC
software, including Spb Benchmark.  It was easy
enough to reacquire, however.  After letting
the general tests run for nearly 40 minutes, I got
the following results:

   
Most of the devices in the above benchmark are WM 5.0
devices. The File System index is low because of
WM5’s Persistent Storage.  Both the iPAQ 3600
and the x50v do not use Persistent Storage.

   
From my point of view, the M700 didn’t do
very well in these tests, and I had nothing else
running while they were being conducted. In real
world use, the M700’s performance was less than
stellar. While it was moderately acceptable, it
really didn’t send me.

GPS FUNCTIONALITY
    The device has a SiRF III GPS chipset, and its really super
sensitive.  I was able to get a very solid, 3D
GPS lock in the middle of my basement.  I can’t
get a strong cell signal down here, and the M700’s
GPS receiver is able to get a GPS lock. Amazing.
Simply amazing.  Since the device doesn’t come
with navigation software of any kind or type, I was
forced to install the registered version of iNAV’s
iGuidance 3.0 on the M700. The software works, and
seems to work well, as long as NOTHING interferes
with the display.  If something changes the
display at all, including when iGuidance changes to
full screen mode, then you have to be very careful
with it. Any additional interaction with the screen
will abnormally terminate the application. No –
codes, no real indication of a problem. The app just
disappears and you’re back at the Today Screen.

   
I couldn’t test the M700 with any other GPS app, as
iGuidance is the only navigation app I own.
However, as long as nothing futzed with the device
or its screen while iGuidance was running, then the
app functioned well.

HELP SUPPORT

    The device comes with a
Getting Started poster, and a PDF version of the
user’s guide on the included software CD. The
Getting Started poster is great for new mobile
device users. The user’s guide is adequate, but
nothing special.

BUGS AND WISHES

   


I really want to like E-TEN’s products. I really do. 
The M700 really feels cheap and flimsy. The entire
body is plastic, and for the price, it could have
been, should have been encased in metal. It would be
nice if E-TEN looked into that. The screen is very,
very small for as large as the case is, and it
really should be much larger.  A 2.8" screen on
a device as big as it is seems like a waste of real
estate.

   
The keyboard is backlit in blue, and blue isn’t
always the best color for a backlight. Also, only
the main character on the key is backlit. The Alt
Key character isn’t backlit, making typing in less
than optimal lighting very difficult. The hardware
based WM 5.0 softkeys are also very oddly shaped on the
slide out keyboard, and are difficult to press.
Tactile feedback on the keyboard is less than
optimal, and I’ve not had the best of luck typing
messages.

   
Call quality on the phone is probably the best I’ve
seen for an E-TEN device, but still isn’t great. The
radio still seems to drop a lot of calls around
Chicagoland, and has me shaking my head.  I
don’t know why E-TEN’s devices have such a hard time
here in the US. Volume levels on both incoming and
outgoing calls is way too low on the device as well
as the BT headset I’ve been using. Its been very
difficult to conduct phone calls, especially in my
car, where I do most of my talking.

PURCHASING

   
The E-TEN Glowfiish M700 can be purchased

here
for $639.99.

PROS

  • Slide-out keyboard
  • Sensitive SiRFStar III GPS chipset
  • 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0

CONS

  • Low call
    volume levels make talking in the car difficult
  • No 3G
  • All plastic construction
  • Small screen for the case
    size
  • Oddly
    shaped and placed hardware buttons
  • Camera
    doesn’t handle motion well
  • Poor
    keyboard tactile feedback and backlighting color
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    I’ve been looking at a lot of
devices lately and this one unfortunately just
didn’t do it for me. I was very disappointed in its
benchmarking performance and its small screen. 
For the price of the device, nearly $700USD, you
would expect some kind of navigation software to be
included and that the case be made of metal. I also
expected a little more performance punch for the money.

   
The device offering really doesn’t offer anything
new, either. The iPAQ 65/6900 series devices have
been offering GPS, keyboard and phone for a while
now.  The 6900 series also added WiFi to the
mix, as does the M700. However, the iPAQ 6900 does
it for about $150-$200US less than the M700. 

   
I also ran into a number of dropped calls during my
10 day stint with the device. Living back in the
Chicagoland area, I shouldn’t have ANY dropped
calls, really. Although some (1-2 in the 10 day
period) would have been understandable.  I had
5 drops in one conversation alone with the M700,
which indicates that I either have a great talent
for frequenting all of the weak signal areas no
matter where I live, or the radio ROM still has
issues with the US GSM bands that need to be
addressed.

   
The keyboard implementation, which is the big draw
for the M700 could have been a lot better, too. It’s
not bad, but could have been better. The biggest
problem I’ve bumped into is the tactile feedback.
The keyboard is VERY stiff, and could be a little
easier to work with. I’m also not pleased with the
alternate key layout, AND the fact that the
backlight only lights the letters and not the entire
key.

   
However, I see the M700 as a first generation
device. This is the first E-TEN device with a slide
out keyboard, targeted at the Enterprise. I suspect
that future generations will be much improved.




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About The Author
Christopher Spera