UBiQUiO 503G with WM6 Professional

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INTRODUCTION

    The UBiQUiO 503G has an
impressive list of features that will surely get it
noticed by Windows Mobile power users. It's a
Qwerty-bar style phone running Windows Mobile 6
Professional, with high speed HSDPA and a QVGA
landscape screen. This is quite a unique form
factor, as most Windows Mobile 6 Pro devices have a
slide-out or flip keyboard or no keyboard, while
most Qwerty-bar type phones use Windows Mobile
Standard (Smartphone) edition. The Palm Treo is an
exception, but it has a lower resolution square
screen. Read ahead to find out about the other great
advantages that the UBiQUiO 503G has over its
competitors, and whether we found it to be a winner or a loser.  

WHAT’S HOT

    First off be warned that this is a
pre-production version of the 503G and some things
may change in the final production version.  On
paper, this is a great device. It’s got a 520MHz Intel XScale 270 + Qualcomm 6280
processor, 96MB RAM, 192MB ROM, Bluetooth 1.2, WiFi
b/g, Windows Mobile 6
Professional, 2.4” QVGA 320 x 240 color screen, Quad-Band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, WCDMA / UMTS Tri-band 850/1900/2100 MHz, HSDPA 3.6 Mbps,
1500mAh battery, 0.3 Megapixel on the front for video
conferencing and a
2Mp camera w/ macro focus.  

Device (no cover)
Size (inches)
Weight (grams |
ounces)
UBiQUiO 503G
4.84" x 2.56" x 0.67"
150 | 5.30
4.69" x 2.40" x 0.85"
196 | 6.91
4.40" x 2.50" x 0.50"
120 | 4.23
4.60" x 2.60" x 0.50"
134 | 4.70
3.93" x 2.28" x 0.54"
112 | 3.95
4.29" x 2.32" x 0.67"
168 | 5.92
3.99" x 1.96" x 0.69"
140 | 4.93
4.96" x 2.65" x 0.57"
160 | 6.40
4.62" x 2.34" x 0.77"
165 | 5.82
4.40" x 2.50" x 0.50"
120 | 4.20
4.37" x 2.28" x 0.87"
154 | 5.40
4.40" x 2.30" x 0.90"
180 | 6.40
4.44" x 2.34" x 0.61"
146 | 5.14
4.33" x 2.52" x 0.45"
115 | 4.05
4.80" x 2.79" x 0.86"
160 | 6.40
4.37" x 2.28" x 0.86"
154 | 5.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"
150 | 5.30
4.25" x
2.28"
x 0.64"
127 | 4.48
4.80" x 2.88" x 0.76"
186 | 6.56
4.60" x 2.79" x 0.82"

165 | 5.82

4.25" x 2.28" x 0.93"
160 | 5.64
4.92" x 2.81" x
0.71"
210 | 7.40
4.18" x 2.31" x 0.68"

150 | 5.30

4.70" x 2.90" x 0.70"
175 | 6.20
4.60" x 3.21" x 0.58"

138 | 4.80

5.17" x 3.03" x 0.59"
187 | 6.60
4.50" x 2.80" x 0.64"
158 | 5.57

THE DEVICE
    (all images link to higher resolution)

The 503G is great as a messaging device.
Every part of the operating system can be controlled
from they hardware buttons… including the Tap &
Hold context sensitive menus!

The 503G feels a bit too big when
holding it up to your head.

 

It's big, but still pocketable. 

    The keyboard buttons are
significantly raised so you can get a great tactile
feel. Notice the button between the left
arrow key and the space bar. That button opens the
context sensitive menu in Windows Mobile 6
Professional. VERY nice touch. Also notice you've
got arrow key buttons which are generally left out
on Qwertybar devices since you've got a big D-pad
button that does the same thing.

 

    On the left side, there's a
thumb wheel (press in as an action button), an
OK/Close button, and a camera button. The thumb
wheel is really great. You can do a significant
amount of navigating and message reading one handed
by simply using the buttons on the left side here.
The wheel is fast and accurate. Each click of the
wheel indicates a unit of movement.

 

At the bottom, you'll see a 2.5mm
audio jack and standard Mini-USB sync/charging port.
Icons molded into the plastic label these ports.

 

The right side includes a Micro SD
slot covered by a thick rubber flap. The MicroSD
slot supports up to 2GB..

 

The top end shows the stylus silo,
power button, and two plastic rivets that don't seem
to do anything.

 

On the back is the 2 Megapixel
camera, along with the speaker
grill, macro focus switch, and battery cover.

 

Here you'll see from left to right,
the Qtek
8500
Smartphone, HTC P3300, Motorola Q9h and UBiQUiO 503G.

Here you can see a comparison of
the thickness. On top is the Qtek 8500, then the T-Mobile Wing, the Motorola Q9h, and the UBiQUiO
503G on the bottom.

INTEGRATED SOFTWARE

   The Ubiquio 503G has a very
basic software package. It's just about the
default Windows Mobile 6 Professional Configuration.
There isn't even a Voice Tags or Voice Command
application for making calls. I installed Microsoft
Voice Command, but it wouldn't work through my
Bluetooth headset either. Mind you, this is an
unfinished pre-production version, so things may
change for the full version.

Nothing special on the Today Screen. I added my own
"New" button in the lower left.

The phone dialer is the default version included
with Windows Mobile 6 (which is good). Also not the
"Video" button which will let you make a video call.

Unfortunately, none of the GSM providers in North
America support video calls, yet.

The Wireless manager is again very basic.

One thing that the 503G does come with is WorldCard
Mobile; a great Business card scanner with Optical
Character Recognition.

Launching the program activates the rear camera.

   Pressing the "Recognize" button brings you to this
screen which shows you the results of the optical
character recognition and allows you to edit the
mistakes before saving the data to your Contacts. As
you can see, it confused phone numbers with other
numbers in the address on this particular business
card.

There's a basic SIM card management program
included.

And finally, there's Java support that lets you
install and use Java applications.

BENCHMARKS

   Spb Benchmark from Spb Software House has not been updated for use
with Windows Mobile 5.0 or 6, which include many changes
for increased performance and battery life (as well
as a different way of working with storage memory),
we can only compare Windows Mobile 5.0/6 devices to
other Windows Mobile 5.0/6 devices. The 503G does
very well in these tests, which is to be expected
given the fast processor. But oddly the 503G fails
miserably in the Graphics index.

 

 

 

 

HELP SUPPORT

    While my prerelease version did not include any type of manual or
even accessories, there is a support forum on the UBiQUiO
website.

BUGS AND WISHES

   
Since this is a pre-production model, it would be
unfair to list all the problems with this device.
UBiQUiO has assured me that the issues I experienced
will be fixed in the production models. Here are a few bugs that I experienced: certain letters won’t register if you type quickly on the keyboard; macro switch on the camera is stuck; occasion lock ups that require battery removal, and so on. We will
update this section when we are able to test the
final production version of the 503G

PURCHASING

    The UBiQUiO 503G will be available from Mobile Planet for $649.95.
You can order the device now from here.

PROS

  • 3G internet
  • Qwerty thumb keyboard
  • Context sensitive menu button on keyboard
  • Fast processor
  • Video conferencing support
  • Thumb wheel for scrolling
  • Business card OCR software

  • 3G internet
  • Qwerty thumb keyboard
  • Context sensitive menu button on keyboard
  • Fast processor
  • Video conferencing support
  • Thumb wheel for scrolling
  • Business card OCR software
  • 3G internet
  • Qwerty thumb keyboard
  • Context sensitive menu button on keyboard
  • Fast processor
  • Video conferencing support
  • Thumb wheel for scrolling
  • Business card OCR software

CONS

  • No voice
    dialing software included
  • No built in GPS
  • Large
    form factor
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    This would be a really great device if it
didn't have so many pre-release bugs. I'm sure the
final version will have the issues taken care of.
The other problem for me is the size. If you've ever
held the HTC Touch, the UBiQUiO 503G feels like
cinder block. Okay, that may be exaggerating, but
the larger size does make for a nicer keyboard.
Overall, this could be a really nice
device if you need a lot of speed and power, but
we'll have to wait and see if the production version
fixes the problems I've had with this pre-release
one. 

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002.Read more about Adam Lein!