Toshiba announced its new line of Windows Mobile smartphones back in February,
it caught some attention since Toshiba was somehow not to active in the Windows
Mobile space during the past years. And Toshiba not just announced a Pocket PC
but a touch screen-less smartphone as well, The Toshiba Portégé G500. Sporting
Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone only Toshiba's first Windows Mobile smartphone
features a, for Windows Mobile Smartphones, unique slider design. Furthermore it
features triband GSM/GPRS/EDGE (no GSM 850 MHz support) and singleband
UMTS/HSDPA (2100 MHz only) as well as WiFi b/g and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR .
The 2.3" QVGA (non touch screen) display supports the Windows Mobile typical
65k colors. In addition it features two cameras - the main camera on the back
which supports 2 megapixel and a front facing QVGA camera on the front which is
used for UMTS video-telephony. The Portégé G500 provides a unique and enhanced
level of security through fingerprint recognition. The fingerprint sensor can
also be used to navigate the phone's menu and to lock the device. Last but not
least, the device measures 96 x 49 x 22.9 mm and weights 135 gram.
I've received a test device a couple of weeks ago and was using it quite
extensive during the past weeks. The device sports a rocking solid grey black
housing, nothing gnash's and if closed, you only see - slider-design typical -
the function keys:
As soon as opened, the device unveils the phone keypad which is nicely
designed and shaped:
On the back, the device features the previously mentioned 2 megapixel camera
which can be used opened and closed:
If the slider is opened, the device also unveils the finger print reader on
Unfortunately (and somehow untypical for Japanese mobile phones), the G500 is
And while it is too thick to be carried in the shirt pocket, it holds nicely
in the palm:
As initially said, the Toshiba Portégé G500 features Windows Mobile 5.0 for
Smartphone only and therefore, the G500 is Toshiba's first Windows Mobile
Smartphone. While Toshiba has some real experiences in mobile phones, the
Japanese high-tech company sells most of its (non-Windows Mobile) phone in
Japan. Nevertheless, Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone is outdated already and
interesting enough, the G500 was announced during the same event Microsoft
announced Windows Mobile 6.
While Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone isn't too bad at all, it's always a
tough decision to buy something which is outdated already and Toshiba hasn't
announced any plans to release a Windows Mobile 6 Standard upgrade -
Nevertheless, Toshiba added a good amount of 3rd party applications to the
device to make it even more useful:
Most interesting are Finger Launcher, Gold Key, Opera Browser, Picsel Viewer,
Teleport and TIPtalk. While most of you might be aware of the Opera Browser
(which replaces the also installed Internet Explorer Mobile) and Picsel Viewer
(which lets you open and read Microsoft Office as well as Adobe PDF files), the
other applications are pretty unique.
Finger Launcher, as you might expect, is a utility control the finger print
First you need to get a finger enrolled which you have to do by swiping the
finger three times:
After is is enrolled successfully, you can assign an application to this
finger you can launch after, by just swiping your finger:
Finger Launcher is a nice little utility to give the finger print reader even
more use beside unlocking the device only or using the finger print reader for
navigating through the menu and applications only.
GoldKey is a quite useful and interesting application and so far, I've seen
something similar on Apple Mac's in combination with Ericsson phones only.
GoldKey lets you lock and unlock your PC, straight from the G500. It contains an
application which you need to install on your PC. After, you have to pair your
G500 with your PC over Bluetooth and run the GoldKey wizard:
If successfully registered, you can unlock you PC from your device by simply
pressing an assigned key. To unlock your PC again, without entering your user
account password, you simply press the same key again and the PC is unlocked. If
this could be automated even further (for instance if you leaving/entering the
Bluetooth range of the PC), this would be even more useful but I have to admit
that I'm a big fan of such small and unique applications, especially if they
bridge the Windows and Windows Mobile world.
Next is Teleport which is an application which enabled you to use tow
functions: Remote Keypad and Remote Screen:
With Remote Keypad you can scroll a PC application, displayed on the PC
screen using your G500; for instance remote controlling a PowerPoint
With Remote Screen, you can replicate the display of your Toshiba phone on a PC
screen and control your G500 from the PC. Using the PC keyboard and Remote
Screen, actions on the PC are relayed to the Smartphone.
Like GoldKey, also Teleport includes a PC application which has to be installed
on the PC first.
TIPtalk is a VoIP and instant messaging application which lets you call an IP
phone, use answering machine functions, check onlike status of contacts (similar
to Windows Live Messenger and other IM services) and even chat with contacts:
Getting Tiptalk working requires you to configure the application by adding a
user name, a password and a server.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to find out which server to use/how to set-up
such a server so I wasn't able to test it at all.
The fixed focus 2 megapixel camera makes photos up to 1600 x 1200 pixel and
record videos up to 320 x 240 pixel. In addition, to support the camera in
darker environment, it also includes a while LED which is somehow usable for
"macro shots" only (please click the photos bellow to get the unedited full
While the camera might be good enough for some quick snapshots, which you
might want to post on a website, the quality is not really sufficient enough to
make prints of it.
Well, quite frankly - I have some mixed feelings about the device. While I
appreciated that Toshiba reentered the Windows Mobile space and even released
its first Windows Mobile Smartphone, I'm somehow disappointed that this
Smartphone is running a outdated version of Windows Mobile, namely 5.0 for
Smartphone instead of 6 Standard.
Especially because the device is otherwise well equipped and can easily compete
with other Windows Mobile UMTS/HSDPA smartphones, like the Samsung SGH-i600,
Motorola MOTO Q9 or HTC S630.
I definitely like the slider design, especially because of slide phones are
quite popular in some parts of the world and therefore it might makes it a real
option for buyers. On the other hand, if you compare it with (non Windows
Mobile) slider-phones like the Samsung U600, it's definitely too thick and I
don't see a reason why it became that thick at all. While it's well balanced in
the hands, it's too thick to be carried in a shirt pocket and "slim is in",
latest since Motorola introduced the Razr some years ago, a fact also other
So no, it's not everybody's every day phone and you have to have some real
good use for the features and applications to make the device attractive for you
as well. Sure, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS and HSDPA together with Bluetooth and WiFi
makes this phone a perfect device for everybody who needs to be connected, but
due to the fact that it is triband GSM and singleband UMTS only, and because
there is no North American version planned/available, it limits the range of
usability to Europe and Asia Pacific only. North American users wont get much
fun with the G500.
On the other hand, Toshiba put some very exciting applications into the device,
like the handy FingerLaunch and GoldKey which I definitely like; but is it
enough to convince you to buy the phone?
I'm not sure, quite frankly it could convince me if it would run at least
Windows Mobile 6 but in this case, with Windows Mobile 5.0 only packed in a
quite thick housing, it's not convincing me yet.
Anyway, I've also heard some positive feedback about it so as always - it's
you choice but it's a tough call. If you don't have/want to be on top of all
features, the Toshiba Portégé G500 could be an interesting option. At least the
inner values (beside the outdated OS) are state of the art. And, as a phone it
works quite great (in 2G and 3G mode with video telephony).
The Toshiba Portégé is available from most
Expansys online shops and costs
unsubsidized 449,95 Euro.
Cheers ~ Arne