Touch screen, apps, gps, and turbo 3 g – all for under £ 200; We’ve tested five different options for those who are looking for a really competent budget mobile.
Systems and applications
In launcher five mobiles we find three completely different operating systems – Android, Bada, and Symbian. Nokia is working doggedly on with his own solutions while Samsung, Sony Ericsson and ZTE have mostly in system path in their respective portfolios. In the Nokia 5230 with Symbian S60 9.4 we find menus. On the surface is very similar to the Nokia 5230 5800 mobile – first with the S60 for touch screen – but the interface has gotten better. Kinetic scrolling speeds up handling of long lists and the automatic screen rotation is really useful. With the phone on its side surfaces feels pressed to open the “Options” menu or to exit the app as a badly positioned relic from S60 for mobile phones with buttons, but in the landscape ends up the buttons in the right margin and become practical pressing with the thumb.
5230 is undoubtedly better than Nokia’s first touch screen phones, but compared with Android mobiles in the test, there are many annoying imperfections. The home screen can be customized with your own shortcuts, links to email accounts and contacts, but Androidlurarna as well as the Samsung Wave 723 with Swim-system has connected widgets, and the ability to distribute widgets and shortcuts across multiple home screen pages. Nokia N8 contains a fresher Edition of Symbian including multitouch and more opportunities for the home screen, but whichever way you twist and turn on it’s like Bathing and Android as much more modern and more touch-screen-based system.
Androidmobilerna from Samsung, ZTE, and Sony Ericsson all use version 2.1 of the operating system. This means that you can do without Flash in the browser and the ability to use the cell phone as a wireless router – two features that Samsung Wave 723 can handle without any problem. Even Nokia 5230 has support for Flash in the browser, but the player is old (version 8) and many Web pages requires version 9 or 10, so usefulness is limited. The interface of the Samsung Wave 723 looks something like a cross between Android and Samsung’s older touch screen phones with private systems. Setup menu looks just as in Android and systems follow the same approach with home screens, menu and a field of notifications at the top of the screen.
The major differences between the Bada and Android’s selection of apps and the ability to sync your phone. Swim draws the short straw in terms of both quality and quantity of the apps – apart from the game, it’s hard to find something meaningful to download from Samsung Apps, so it is fortunate that the cell phone is well equipped from the start with apps for social networking and reader for documents and pdf files. The range of Ovi Store on Nokia 5230 hitting while Samsung Apps, but the cell phone is churlish equipped from the start. Document readers and old Nokia favourites Web radio function are conspicuous by their absence.
Compare to an app that is available for all three systems – Facebook – there are also differences. The Android app is better updated and seems functionally quite in sync with the site. It features the ability to check in to places, like comments and many other features that are missing on both Symbian and swim. Bada app also States at regular intervals to the Facebook server is unstable, despite the fact that the service works without problems in other mobiles.
Sync is as always a strong card in Androidmobilerna. To sync to Google’s services are an easy way for regular users to get started with a backup in the cloud and manage email and contacts on a really smooth way. Using SyncML or the Exchange functions on Samsung Wave 723 or Nokia 5230 is it possible to get some of the same functionality, but to get started with Google services on Android is much easier – all you need is a free account.
Is there any difference in how well the system works in the three different Androidmobilerna? Definitely. A large part of the difference is related to the screens and are discussed in the next section, but the manufacturers have also shipped with proprietary features. Sony Ericsson X 8 has its own home screen with shortcuts in the four corners – the same solution we find in the X 10 Mini handsets. X 8 also includes Timescape – a feature that connects phone book, messaging, and social networks — and Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow music store. ZTE has not devoted as much energy to change the interface. Some useful apps are preinstalled — such as document viewer Docs To Go. Samsung has made some adjustments to the interface so that it works better on the small qvga screen and also provided the Galaxy 5 with a number of custom widgets – there is, for example, weather, stock quotes and rss updates.
Great app selection and a thorough system gives the three Androidmobilerna a substantial edge over Samsung Wave 723 and Nokia 5230. ZTE Blade looks to be able to get an update to Android 2.2 shortly, but with current content is category victory to Sony Ericsson X 8 thanks to smart custom functions that Timescape and home screen shortcuts.
Winner: Sony Ericsson X 8
A really good screen costs a penny, so this is an area where one can fear that the producers opted for inferior options to keep costs down. In some markets are sold with a ZTE Blade Amoled screen, but the model that will be using the older TFT technology. The screen is really sharp and has the same resolution as HTC Desire HD, Galaxy S or other flagship models, but if you put those phones side by side so you can see that the ZTE Blade have poorer brightness and light is a bit unevenly spread across the screen.
Touch screen support for multitouch and receive a passing grade. Response and precision is not in the class with the best touch screen mobiles on the market, but compared to the competition in the test is the ZTE Blade very well. What pulls down the grade a idea is the on-screen keyboards. In landscape format covers the keyboard across the active application when you are entering text. There certainly are well functioning alternative to download from Market, but such a basic function I think should work well from the start.
The disappointments are the Samsung Galaxy 5 and Nokia 5230. Samsung’s qvga display feels gritty and lacks the multitouch. Some apps require a higher resolution screen than qvga and does therefore not for Galaxy 5, but the range is wide. Text input is done by default with T9-a good solution when the screen just measure 2.8 inch. Nokia has better sharpness and resolution, but uses old resistive touch screen technology. Resistive touch screens work best with pen, but there are few who uses a mobile phone that way today and Nokia 5230 feels both sluggish and imprecise when pressed with your fingers.
Samsung’s other model in the test – Bada phone Wave 723 – have multitouch and uses a TFT display with 400 x 240 pixel. Low resolution in combination with a relatively large surface area allows the image feels fuzzy, but the touch screen has multitouch and good response. On-screen keyboard covers a large portion of the screen, but works otherwise excellent. Sony Ericsson X 8 has the classic Android resolution 480 x 320 pixels and therefore works with almost any app. Compared to Samsung Wave 723 and Nokia 5230 is Sony Ericsson’s screen is both sharper and more bright – the surface is also higher despite the same number of inches because the screen does not have an equally small format. The response of the screen is good, but unfortunately the lack of multitouch on Sony Ericsson X 8.
ZTE Blade takes home the highest rating due to the largest screen – both in terms of number of inches and number of pixels. The response is good when you touch the screen and it supports multitouch.
Winner: ZTE Blade
When it comes to music, all five mobiles in the test a seemingly complete hardware. There are really 3.5-mm jacks for headphones and Bluetooth with support for wireless stereo sound. FM radio is also available on site. The differences can be seen when looking at software. ZTE Blade has a very dull interfaces for the FM radio. The only thing that appears on the screen are large numbers that show the frequency and three buttons at the bottom to set the channel or turn the radio off. There is information on the net that some versions of the ZTE Blade has rds, but functionality is missing in our test specimens. The sound is approved, but I lack features such as channel directory, or the ability to record programs.
This Samsung has received a direct hit in the Wave 723 – interface is neat and it’s easy to set up channels, save presets and make recordings. The frequency can be set – either by entering number of MHz exactly, by automatic search or by swiping your finger across the “analog” frequency scale. Radio Galaxy 5 has the same look, but do not have the recording function.
The music player in the ZTE Blade and Samsung Galaxy 5, Android’s default player – it works, but does not have any features beyond what is strictly necessary. Sony Ericsson X 8 has its own music player that you can access through one of the corners of your home screen. Aside from the ability to search for content on Youtube or in the music store on the artist being played right now offers the player not so many new features, but it has more sophisticated graphics than the default player. Both the music player and radio in X 8 using Sony Ericsson’s solution with shortcuts in the corners, but Samsung’s FM radio is nevertheless a bit easier to use.
Samsung Wave 723 has a well-functioning music player that is easy to find the right in thanks to three different tabs of songs, playlists and albums. The arrangement is quite similar to the usual Android player, but in Swim-system there are more features — such as sending songs via email or bluetooth or to search for similar music online. The Nokia Music Player is one of the strongest cards in 5230. It has simple and clear features to browse music and create playlists. In addition, there is a very good program to download the podcast and radioshows, go to manage side-by-side with the music in the player. Nokia FM radio has a rather messy look on the surface, but it is easy to find in the menu and to store the preset.
Samsung Wave 723 is not only well equipped when it comes to music – it also has the best camera. I had some expectations on autofokuskameran in the ZTE Blade – at least the outdoors – but a test in low-light situations showed that Samsung’s 5-megapixel camera is much sharper. The sharpness is good and the noise reduction works quite discreet. Photos from Nokia camera look nice at a quick look and work great for mms, but unfortunately it is not possible to find something positive to write about the images from the cameras in Samsung Galaxy 5, Sony Ericsson X 8 and the ZTE Blade.
Nokia and Sony Ericsson do well when it comes to music, but soars not on Samsung Wave 723 who also has a good camera with autofocus and light.
Winner: Samsung Wave 723
Format and buttons
Samsung Wave 723 has a streamlined format and a metal shell that feels really well made. It does not match the Nokia N8 or HTC Legend when it comes to quality feel, but none of the four competitors in the test comes close to a top score in the category. On the side of the Wave 723 is a camera button with good feeling so that you can easily take advantage of the camera’s autofocus. Lens cover is missing, but the camera’s front glass sits flush about one millimeter into the metal shell, so the chances of it ending up fingerprints or scratches on the camera seems minimal.
ZTE has a design that is very similar to HTC’s phones. Despite a nice fit in the shell and a matte rubberized texture finish on the black parts are the things that hold the grade. Both the surface and the chrome molding on the side of the phone is very friendly. Nokia 5230 and Sony Ericsson X 8 manages the feat of making something positive out of plastigheten. Interchangeable skins in various colors is a nice feature and despite the fact that the materials do not provide an direct lavish impressions it feels well made and durable handsets enough for daily use.
Nokia 5230 have large unused spaces above and below the screen and may therefore be content with a slightly lower rating. Samsung Galaxy 5 follows the Corby series design with shiny plastic surfaces and rounded shapes. The result is a slippery, but really smooth cell. Galaxy 5 has the most buttons of the phones, and they are a great addition to the touch screen. There is a real four-way button and physical buttons for red and green handset in addition to the four common Androidknapparna-menu, home, back and search. On the side of the phone are the volume buttons, but unfortunately no button for the camera.
Metal shell and hard glass over the screen always goes home. Samsung Wave 723, the category fempoängare. Among plastic handsets are the Samsung Galaxy 5 favorite – cell phone fits easily in your pocket and have proper buttons for the most important functions.
Winner: Samsung Wave 723
Google Maps is the standard program for navigation on Android. Map material are top class, but to find the right in Sweden, there are other apps that work much better. Nokia 5230 comes with free navigation throughout the mobile phone’s life. In addition, some retailers may be with a car holder with suction cup. Ovi Maps is a skilled navigatorapp with traffic information, the option to install the maps on the memory card, travel guides, and great search features. Given the phone’s price tag, you get a lot for your money. GPS is also in the other phones. Samsung Wave 723 has chosen Route 66 and in Sony Ericsson Xperia X 8 is Wisepilot preinstalled, but in either case it is a question of trial versions. The GPS receiver works not only for navigation-all mobiles in the test has support for geo-tagging of photos.
Samsung’s phones come with software to sync phones with the Outlook on your computer. Nokia has chosen not to send software or cable in the box, but the PC Suite or Ovi Suite – two different options with similar features-available to download from the website. With Sony Ericsson X 8 and ZTE Blade are referred to sync over the internet. Nokia navigator program seems like a sufficiently tasty bonus to warrant the top spot in the category. There will be no fempoängare and several other mobiles get fours – albeit somewhat weaker. Nokia cell phone does not have wlan and some memory cards are not included in the box-it pulls down the grade.
Winner: Nokia 5230
Winner: ZTE Blade
ZTE deliver extremely good value for money. The software contains not so much beyond the default, so take a moment to install the good apps. Aside from the lousy camera ZTE Blade give mobiles with both two and three times the price a match.