recently had the opportunity to test the ETEN P700 BT and what great timing it
was since I was on my way to a four day photography assignment in Cebu to cover
the Sinulog Festival. This meant that I would be able to get to maximize the
P700's communication capabilities on the field. I'm sure a lot of people have
been waiting for this review.
First thing's first. When I received the unit I obviously got it up and running,
charged the battery, photographed it, and then put it to the basic tests first.
It seemed to be stable and quick. While the benchmark tests showed that it
was considerably slower than the
O2 XDA II,
its responsiveness showed otherwise. My
assumption here is that the ETEN P700 doesn't have to load up the camera
software or the huge Caller ID software of the XDA II, although it does include
a small Photo ID Utility buried into the Contacts Options.
Whoah! This thing is huge. That was my first reaction when I opened the box. But
after inspecting it all, it seemed to sink in and sort of reminded me of the
ASUS A620 and my old Cassiopeia E-200 Pocket PC. It isn't really that huge as it
is thinner than my old Cassiopeia. The squarish design though is something that
you will have to learn how to love.
The screen is acceptable and while it is a Transflective Screen, it seems that
the viewing angle plays a big factor in view quality. I felt that my other
Pocket PCs performed slightly better when viewed at an angle. The screen was
contrasty and bright and when viewed straight on, (which is how you're supposed
to view it anyway), it is as clear as the most popular Pocket PC available.
The P700's styling has some good points and some bad points. Good points first:
the P700 has most of the controls within reach of your right thumb, with the
D-Pad flanked with the Contacts button and the Home button, followed by the Call
and End buttons. The volume rocker wheel + action button and record/notes button
on the left side of the unit just at the right place for the left thumb to
reach. Also found in the same cluster of controls is the IR port and the reset
button. What I found to lack tactile feedback and also a bit difficult to access
was the power button switch found at the top right part of the unit. The plastic
(read flimsy and light) stylus was nicely hidden but was very difficult to
access (I'm a pen/stylus combo user so I really didn't mind this). The SD/MMC slot is also hidden behind the stylus which means that the
stylus will have to be removed first before you can gain access to the SD/MMC
slot. This also means that the SD/MMC slot may not be designed for I/O use at
all. The CF slot though was given a nice touch with a sliding door which means
that the innards of the P700 are kept safe when there is no CF card in the slot.
I benchmarked the unit and it seemed to perform at par with most of the Pocket
PCs available. It did shine in the ActiveSync test though beating most by about
50% better. Although the benchmark results were not what I expected, it seemed
to be more responsive than the other Pocket PC Phone Editions I have tested.
This is actually a good thing. My only gripe with this unit though is the weak
speaker which, with the unit kept in its flip case, is simply inaudible.
While I have seen better implementations of the BT utility in other Pocket PCs,
I still have to see one that performs as well on a Pocket PC Phone Edition. The
P700 comes with some useful features though such as BT file transfer and BT
vCard sending and receiving.
The P700 doesn't come with a built-in MMS application, and has to be installed
by the user. Good enough though is the availability of EzWAP as a bundled
application. It's nice to know too that the MSN Messenger that comes with the
unit is already of the updated one and does not require any upgrading.
The P700 has some nice touches such as the battery lock switch which prevents
the battery from falling off and exposing the more or less losely inserted SIM
card. Just like the P300 the P700 has a small switch for powering up the backup
battery. The backup battery isn't really meant to run the device without the
main battery, so beware of this feature. It's there to aid keep data intact only
for changing spent batteries also, this must never be switched off unless you
want to erase all data in the P700. The P700's batteries still retain enough
charge to keep valuable data intact even though you may not be able to power on
the device anymore (a characteristic of Pocket PCs with removable main
The SIM card is inserted in a slot just under the battery lock. It may be an odd
place to put it and it felt a bit too lose in its slot when the battery was
removed. But shouldn't really be a problem as you should always have a main
battery on the P700 at all times anyway.
As with the
ETEN P300, the cradle comes with an extra slot for a second battery.
There is also a USB host port for use with devices such as flash drives, USB
mice, and USB keyboards.
I mentioned that I battle tested the P700 BT, well, in a recent photo
assignment, I used it as my main communications device. Charging it in the hotel
and packing it along with my
SMART Amazing Phone (Tanager) for backup. Each
charge seems to last pretty long and whenever I'd get back to the hotel after a
days work, the battery remained in the 60% mark. This was even more surprising
as I was making several 10 minute and 30 minute calls during the day.
I've set it to vibrate and ring as I really wouldn't be able to hear it that
well when kept in my pocket, and under the heat, and being in the streets of
Cebu during the Sinulog festival, it has kept me in touch with the people I was
working with. The voice quality was actually quite clear. The leather flip cover
though somehow impedes access to the microphone which means that at times the
person on the other line would complain of not being able to hear me. Slipping
it out of the case solved the problem. I guess a better case design is in order.
During my last day in Cebu, I deliberately kept the unit off the charger even
though I was at the hotel. This meant that it was running from the previous
day's charge and was actually good enough to keep it active for the rest of the
day. For those who are power users who may find the supplied battery to be
insufficient to last them the whole day, spare batteries are available.
It may not have a camera and it may not look so flashy. But one thing I'm sure
of is that it works well as a PDA and as a phone. Just as with other Pocket PC
Phone Edition devices, the P700 comes with a stereo hands-free kit which has its
own volume control and call/end button.
The ETEN P700 BT is available for $680.00 (PhP38,000.00).
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