E-TEN Glofiish X800 with Windows Mobile 6 Professional

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INTRODUCTION

    There haven’t been too many Windows Mobile devices to come around with a VGA (480×640) screen. It’s always been an issue of cost – adding a screen with four times more pixels than a QVGA screen would be expensive. We’re finally starting to see Windows Mobile phones with resolutions other than QVGA, and the E-TEN Glofiish X800 is one of them. In addition to a VGA screen, the X800 also touts a host of connectivity options: GPS, UMTS/HSDPA and WiFi, all in a package that is just 15.8mm thick. It looks good on paper. How does it perform in daily use? Read on for the answer!

WHAT’S HOT
    Let’s talk about specifications. The X800 packs a 500MHz Samsung SC32442 processor, 256MB of ROM, 64MB (48MB accessible) of RAM, a 2.8" VGA screen, GSM with EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA, a SiRF Star III GPS receiver, 2MP camera on the back and VGA camera on the front (for video calls), a 1530mAh battery, Bluetooth 2.0, and 802.11b/g. For even more specs, check out PDAdb.net.


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

PRODUCT FEATURES

The obligatory unboxing video.



In Part 1, I look at hardware on the phone.



In Part 2 of the video, I go over the software found on the phone.

Bugs and Wishes / Pros and Cons / Conclusion
. . .


BATTERY LIFE

    I always determine the degree of battery capacity by whether the device can withstand a day of low/moderate data usage with some GPS use, and maximum screen brightness. Did the X800 fit the bill? Just barely. The 1530mAh battery, powering a 500MHz processor, VGA screen, and host of connectivity options, isn’t large enough. It’s the same battery size used in the Glofiish X500.

PURCHASING

    Our friends at Negri Electronics is selling the X800 for $618. The X800 is unlocked and will work on any GSM network.


BUGS AND WISHES


    This phone is slow. Very slow. It’s probably one of the slowest Windows Mobile phones I’ve ever used. Could it be the lack of program memory (with just 48MB available)? Could it be a software optimization issue? I’m not sure – but for a high-end device, I shouldn’t have to close programs to use the camera application or tap my foot waiting for the Settings menu to show up.

    Beyond the slowness, I’ve run into a few bugs. During the first few days of using the X800, the device hard reset itself randomly after not being able to turn on with the on/off button. Having to configure the device from scratch was a huge headache. Then, after everything was back to normal, the Start menu became corrupt and only showed two or three programs, none of which linked to anything. An email exchange with an engineer from E-TEN led me to reinstall the *same* ROM on top of the previous one, and things seem to be fine. For now.

    The phone’s design could use some work. It’s not very elegant and I don’t like how the screen isn’t flush. You really don’t get the maximum effect of the VGA screen when it is recessed to such a large degree. This recession also creates a groove for dust and debris. I know there aren’t many Windows Mobile phones that have flush screens (the HTC Touch comes to mind), but the X800 should be one of them so that the screen really pops.

    This device is way overpriced. E-TEN should recognize that for half the price or less of the X800, you could get a Windows Mobile phone from a carrier here in the US that packs all the connectivity options of the X800, plus a keyboard.

    Last, where’s the scroll wheel? The little joystick/D-Pad works fine, but for scrolling through web pages and large lists, it’s cumbersome.

PROS

  • VGA screen

  • GPS/HSDPA/WiFi


  • Relatively thin

CONS


  • Slow


  • Only 48MB usable program memory


  • Buggy


  • No scroll wheel

  • Battery life isn’t great
  • Expensive
Value
Ease
of Use
Features

Overall

What
do these ratings mean
?


OVERALL IMPRESSION

    If this phone was friendlier to me, meaning, it was faster, had more program memory, and didn’t require a hard-reset (twice!), I’d be mildly excited about it. But because its overall usability is significantly debased by the slowness and bugs, and because its price is "I can get a laptop for this much!" high, I can’t recommend the X800. The VGA screen makes the experience of using the device marginally better, but not $600 better. If E-TEN wants to make compelling hardware in such a competitive hardware environment, they really need to stop cutting corners.

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.