- Sleek good looks, tonnes of features, push email functionality, large screen
- Low-spec camera, proprietary audio jack, not quad-band, doesn't support HSDPA
The 595 sets a new standard for smartphones, proving that high-end features and a fashionable form factor aren't mutually exclusive.
Price$ 988.00 (AUD)
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If you're spending close to a thousand dollars for a mobile phone - especially from a relatively unknown brand like Dopod - it's important to feel like you're getting your money's worth. The 595 smart phone certainly provides this reassurance, both in its classy good looks and extensive set of features.
The 595 has a very European quality to it, with a champagne-coloured casing that contrasts nicely with the rubberised black top and keypad. It is quite a striking-looking mobile, in the same league as other high-end fashion phones like the Motorola MOTOKRZR K1 and Nokia 8800.
At 115g, the 595 is light for a smart phone, and build quality is nothing short of excellent. It also feels great in your hand, with a 112.4mm x 49mm x 14.8mm footprint that tapers towards the bottom for an easier grip.
Fashionable handsets aren't usually as full-featured as their plainer cousins, but the 595 breaks with tradition to provide cutting edge functionality in a supermodel suit. It runs the latest Windows Mobile 2005 Smartphone Edition operating system, and almost every type of program you can think of is preinstalled, including Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger and document viewers for opening Word docs, PDFs, PowerPoint files and spreadsheets.
Push email functionality is attractive for road warrior types, and it's easy to configure for mail servers that run Microsoft Exchange 2003. The Messaging program also works with standard POP3 email accounts and will auto-configure settings for popular Web mail systems like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo.
Tri-band GSM/GPRS, EDGE and UMTS 3G are supported, but not the faster HSDPA (or 3.5G) standard. Bluetooth 2.0 is also on-board for wireless file transfer and using it with headsets and stereo headphones.
As it's a 3G phone, the 595 has a dual-camera arrangement: a 0.1 megapixel camera on the front for video calls, and a 1.3 megapixel one on the rear. The latter's megapixel count is relatively low for such a high-spec phone, and it doesn't come with a flash or auto-focus. Despite this, image quality is reasonable for a camera phone.
The 595's menu system is just as good-looking as its exterior, helped along by a vibrant 2.2in 65 thousand colour LCD display that boasts a generous 240x320 pixel resolution. The standby screen has soft keys for Start and Contacts however it would be more intuitive to rename 'Start' to 'Menu' (as clicking this button opens up the menu system).
Dopod has customised the standard smart phone menu with a 3D theme that applies a cool visual effect to selected items and custom icons for each program. However, this makes navigating between items a tad slower than when using the default theme - a process that's drawn out even further by the need to press the 'More' button to scroll through items outside the 3 x 3 icon grid.
The keypad area is slightly cramped, but the keys themselves are well-spaced with good tactile feedback. The four-way controller is also easy to use thanks to the rubberised tip, and you can alternate between using this and the rocker switch on the top left-hand edge for scrolling through and selecting menu items.
While the 595 is mainly pitched as a business phone, it's also quite capable for multimedia. Windows Media Player 10 Mobile can synchronise music and video from your desktop media library, and Dopod also throws in a separate MP3 Player application that adds an iPod-like interface for browsing through music. The rear-mounted speaker is more than loud enough for personal listening, and headphones are included in the box for attaching to the mini-USB audio jack. Not a standard jack, alas, so you can't use your own headphones. On-board memory is 56.41MB, and this can be expanded with a microSD card.
Battery life is rated at five hours talk time and 220 hours standby time - about average for a phone in this class. An AC charger is included in the box, but you can also charge the phone with the USB cable when it's connected to a PC. Also included is a holster-style leather case and desktop software for synchronising Outlook data and files from a computer.
Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.
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