323 posts • joined 30 Mar 2007
Linux - from the author
Stfn - it was 11.04. The system booted off the memory stick A OK - the touch screen worked fine with the BIOS - but as soon as I attempted to launch Ubuntu it got a screen full of error messages. I'm no Linux expert so this was more of a quick'n'dirty test but it didn't look a problem with an easy fix to me.
from the author
Yes, with 256 levels of pressure sensitivity.
from the author
@ Mike Flex
Mike, I take your point but I had to judge the MC as a handset costing well under half the price of my own 800 x 480 4.3" Android handset, the Desire HD.
As a video and games machine the Monte is poor, but for everything else it's fine.
The large screen makes working in Google Docs or Docs to Go a joy, ditto web browsing as long as you are prepared to forgo Flash. Similarly, for reading/writing e-mail, looking at Facebook, using your Google Calender or reading eBooks - which I do a lot on my phone - the large screen is an absolute boon.
Is it worth an extra £50 over the San Fran? In my book yes because I really don't like working on a phone with a screen any smaller than 4 inches and frankly the larger the better.
I would have liked a good GPU, at least 1GB of system storage, a better camera and a glass screen - just as I have on my own phone - but at the moment you are not going to get that for £150.
Yes the Monte C. is flawed, but it's a still a lot of phone for the money, hence my rating.
from the author
All screen shots taken using the Android SDK running on an Ubuntu laptop.
from the author
re. the Kogan Agora, the screen and UI were just fine on my review sample (I'd like to know what "terrible screen" actually involves), nor did I notice any powering up/down issues looking for a 3G signal though I did have the Wi-Fi radio switched on constantly.
Assuming the power/up down issue is real I'd try turning off the auto-sync and background data options.
from the author
@ zxcvbnm - apologies for the oversight, the AndyPad's screen is 7 inches corner-to-corner.
re. the Archos 7c and Hanspree etc as is often the case with these round-ups it's not always possible to lay hands on all the desired kit in the allotted time frame.
From the author
@ Alex C - In my experience the app has no noticeable effect on battery life.
@ Chris007 - the auto-GPS enabling works on my unrooted 2.3.3 HTC Desire HD so I'm assuming that when the developers say you need a rooted handset if running ">2.3.3" they mean 2.3.4.
From the author
Granted Android Lost includes the same set of core features but the browser interface is a bit rough and ready and it's nothing like as easy to use. There are at least half a dozen apps similar to this in the Market but Cerberus has proved the most reliable in my experience and I reckon that alone justifies the cost.
from the author
The fees will be the same as if you had sent an sms from your handset - the app simply pushes information back and forth to your Android phone over its data link, it doesn't sent messages directly from Gmail or your browser.
From the author...
Studley, sadly a demonstration of my lamentable habit of going over word count!
Once you have synced your contacts with DeskSMS you can trigger your phone to call a number from the browser. I couldn't convince myself this was a key feature so I dropped the paragraph. If you have your phone rigged to some sort of hands free device on your desk it could be of use.
@ AC - it's free at the moment. It moves from a free beta to a paid app at the weekend. There may be a yearly or an all-time fee offered. As I understand it the developer hasn't decided on that yet but as you say $4.99pa seems most likely.
My review unit came with two flat Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries. I replaced them with two of the same but fresh for my test.
From the author
I've been using the review unit as a screen mount for three weeks now in several cars - including a trip down the M6 in a Ford Transit - and there has been no sign wobble, shake, rattle or indeed roll - it's every bit as solid as any satnav unit I've had on test. Also there is a cuff around the ball/socket joint to tighten it up if needs be.
Start/Stop and lights
I should point out I'm not defending keeping my foot on the clutch at lights, but I do a lot of urban driving and without a footrest to slide my left foot onto - something my manual S80 had - it's something I ended doing a lot in the S60 unless I knew I was in for a long wait.
Granted it's not safe and it's not clever but a lot of people do it and it takes the wind out of the start/stop system's sails.
As for the lights, I managed to leave them on twice in the space of a week, the first time a neighbour let me know, the second time I noticed before I turned in for the night. My point is, it is possible to leave the lights on, lock up and walk away. That wasn't the case in the S80 (keys out = lights off) and if you try that same trick with my current car a buzzer sounds that could wake the dead.
If you tap the top of the Lap Time column it shows the gap between ech car and the leader on the last completed lap. Tap it a second time and it shows the gap between each car and the one immediately ahead of it.
@ Anon V
I'd defy any light fingered urban youth walking by to spot a black mounting disc stuck to a black dash. And once seen it may not be recognized for what it is.
I'd also take issue with the claim that satnav users polish their suction marks away - I don't know any who do that on a regular basis.
Even the writers...
...don't get Reg mugs.
Below -5 the start/stop system leaves things alone until the engine compartment temperature has risen to above that.
Indeed it is, and in the 508 it's so thick it obscures visibility quite badly between the 90 and 120 degree mark (give or take a 1960s female singing trio) looking left of right.
It makes changing lanes and pulling out of junctions that curve back away from you - like the one I have to navigate daily - more of a challenge then it should be.
does indeed reflow - or jiggle - in Dolphin HD.
For the record.
If any of the machines had given me a metrosexual wank-spasm I'd have automatically awarded them 100%.
@ Danny14 re. CPU
Quadrant Standard lists the "current" and "maximum" clocks speeds as 1024MHz.
@ Eponymous Cowherd
Fair comment but most of the reader requests we get are to feature apps that have been around for a while.
Agreed My Tracks is no spring chicken, but I've been using Android since the G1 came out and managed to completely overlook it until this March. I suspect I'm not alone. It's the downside of their now being a quarter of a million odd apps available in the Market.
The idea of the column is both to evaluate new apps and look at apps that Android users will find useful even if they have been knocking about for a bit.
@ Jim 15
Well spotted that man! That will teach me to update my apps more frequently.
Steve - must say that I have no problem with selecting/copying/pasting text within the app or between apps. Yes you have to go into edit mode to copy but that's hardly the end of the world.
CVT / 7-speed override
If you put the gear selector in 'D' the system works like a regular automatic gearbox but if you move the lever to 'S' you can use the steering column paddles to manually select seven fixed drive ratios.
No you can't.
While looking though I did come across an option to set up a blacklist of people / numbers you don't want to get texts from.
You can get a simple by-date view of your incoming and outgoing messages by swiping to the folder view and opening your in- and out- box.
@ AC 11.03 etc
Well spotted, though oddly it does work the other way, merde to sh1t.
@ jonathanb - I just tried 42 and it said "quarante-deux" as expected though 42 appeared on the screen as 42 not forty-two.
@ Martijn Otto - fair point but Communicate is a lot more finger friendly and easier to use - esp. in 'conversation' mode - on the spur of the moment. You also don't need to tap the screen a second time to hear your translations read-out.
Richard. Re-reading my copy I don't believe I have come close to suggesting you have to use Android to access a Google Calender on the go. I was reviewing an Android app, not the respective calender support options and capabilities of Android or iOS. I'm sure most Reg readers are fully aware that Google calenders can be accessed from iOS, WP7, WebOS etc.
nichomach. The app works with any calender account that your Android phone is "signed into" including multiple Google accounts, Exchange, Facebook etc. I should have made that more clear in the review.
would have to be first choice. Second would be Robert R McCammon's Swan Song.
If you watch the video the phone works perfectly well when it comes out of the drink, it's the slamming of the handset against the corner of the fish tank that seems to crack the screen.
Erik, the handset is A-GPS equipped but I tested it in a local zero-GSM-reception black spot in the Pennines and still got a position lock in 15 seconds.
dave46 - reception was good everywhere I tried it - not better than my Nokia C1-01 but invariably I had an extra bar compared to my Motorola Defy so the radio stack is good if not exceptional.
As for the BBC's bash-it-against- a-fish-tank test, well, as I said, I'm pretty sure you could break it if you hit it with something hard and sharp enough but you would really need to try. Running it over with a two-tonne people carrier on a gravel drive seemed a more realistic test to me!
"tis a shame - mark all as read and hide once read are a deal breaker for me - other than that it looks very polished"
We got an e-mail from the developers today telling us that some sort of "hide once read" feature is on their to-do list. Apparently you and I aren't the first to bemoan it's absence.
According to Google over 90% of Android handsets connected to the Market now run v2.1 of higher and a fair percentage of the UK population live within a 3G reception area.
I was working on $400 = £250 (at today's exchange rate) plus 20% VAT = £300. I asked the Asus PR if $400 was the likely to be the local US price or the equivalent Euro / Sterling, and he said the latter. How true that will turn out to be, well, your guess is as good as mine.
Be that as it may, I was expecting to be told the price would be more in the region of 500 Euro so it still sounds like a good deal.
As for the fingerprints, sorry about that - it was a scrum at the stand and trying to get any shots was hard work. Giving one of the devices a polish and getting all Lord Lichfield on it was a non-starter.
@ Jim48 - it's Fancy Widget Pro
Robert - yes, you can drag'n'drop content from Windows, Linux or Mac or synch files via any MTP media player.
It's not weak arms that are the issue, it's that when you put it in your inside suit jacket pocket it makes it look like you can't dress yourself or stand up straight!
Vodafone is offering the X10 Mini on PAYG for £130 and the Orange San Francisco is available for £100 PAYG which makes them both realistic alternatives to the C5-03 for any potential smartphone buyer on a budget.
Torx / Allen
I've just noticed the screws in the press images don't actually look like the screws on my handset. Even under a magnifier the handset screws look like small Allens but as commented the ones in the side-on picture look more like Torx. Oh well, as long as they keep the two parts of the handset together...
Power and tethering etc
I'm assuming the HDD issue is one of power but I didn't have an externally powered HDD to hand to test.
Hook up a mobile via USB and the phone charges a treat and the USB tethering worked fine with a Motorola Defy and a T-Mobile SIM.
The problem with using WinAmp is that you loose access to Samsung's built-in sound modification tech. At the end of the day I will mark down any media player that doesn't allow for simple MTP playlist synch via WMP even if there is a workaround. Using another media app should be a choice not a forced compromise.
Re. Google Maps, the new version didn't arrive until after I had filed this review. Of course you could always buy CoPilot Live from the Market, worth every penny of its £22.98 asking price.
@ David Holden. No, the only way to move the cursor is by touching the screen. It actually wasn't an issue after a day or so, and that is despite me having used a G1, a Hero and a Desire over the last two years.
Fair comment about the way I worded the 3GP/.H.264 part of the review. My point was that I would have been much happier if the HD encoded video as .mp4. 3GP is really not an ideal container, at least not in my book.
As for the software on the HD, I could have rambled on for weeks about it but with so much quality software in the Market I work on the principle that as long as the bundled stuff works as advertised, why get bogged down in the undergrowth? Most of us have favourite third party apps that we use anyway. I started using K-9 as my Android e-mail client about a year ago, and haven't used a Google or HTC mail app since, a lack of widgets notwithstanding. Same goes for Handcent for texts and Folder Organizer to keep everything neat and tidy.
That button you can see at lower left is the release for the battery cover. There's one on the left too.
All you needed
was one of these and a couple of pairs of clean subligaria and the (Roman) world was your oyster.
@ AC / Tom
GPS fix we amongst the quickest I have come across, so no problems on that front. The postcode search doesn't require town names, just type in the code and select a house number etc and you are done. The TMC service is free for life.
In regard to updates, this from the Navigon site...
FreshMaps at a special price
For a one-off payment, we will regularly provide updated maps for you to download for a period of 24 months. Activate FreshMaps 30 days after purchase, and pay only £15.99 instead of £79.00
VoIP worked just fine over my WPA2 home network.
"but seriously who really ever sat staring at a gatefold pondering the depths of [insert artist]'s lyrics?"
Still do in fact,
And you can't beat a proper LP sized libretto if you are an opera fan. In the early days of CD some opera sets came in the same packaging as LP sets. Led to some confusion if you didn't read the box before purchase, but it had its advantages. Seem to recall that the Springsteen Live 75-85 box set did too.
Agree that the same isn't really true of DVD/BR packaging though.
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