Vodafone 1210 (VDA IV)
- Price, Good display, Smart dialling feature, Can handle multimedia, Micro SD card slot
- No Wi-Fi or other advanced features, No digital camera, Joystick, Can't edit Office documents, Start up is a little slow
The Vodafone 1210 is an excellent and cost effective way to dive into the world of mobile email. It doesn't offer the same bells and whistles as most other smart phones on the market, but it is considerably cheaper than devices with similar functionality.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Designed primarily for mobile email and data use, Vodafone has launched its first 'own label' smart phone in Australia. Manufactured, but not branded by ASUS, the 3G capable Vodafone 1210 runs the popular Windows Mobile 5 OS and offers plenty of features for an extremely competitive price.
The appeal of the 1210 lies in its price, as it's considerably cheaper than devices with simular functionality. Although you don't get a touch screen, or some of the more advanced features like Wi-Fi and a digital camera, the 1210 still offers the core functionality of mobile email, data applications and voice services.
The 1210 is a tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900, GPRS and 3G phone. It performs reasonably well for voice calls, and no issues with in-call quality arose during testing. Volume is adequate, although not as loud as we would have liked at its highest level, but the hands-free speakerphone works well. We did note a slight echo on incoming voice at full volume, but outgoing voice is loud and clear. The 1210 has speed dialling, the ability make conference calls, call history, and a 1000 entry phone book. Vodafone also includes a feature called smart dialling; as you enter a number to call, the phone will automatically display contacts with those numbers in them to help narrow down your search.
Windows Mobile 5 is at the heart of the 1210, so applications including Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger and document viewers for Word, Excel PDF and PowerPoint files are included. Unfortunately, you can't edit these Office documents, you can only view them.
Although the 1210 is marketed as a business device, it is capable of handling multimedia as well. Windows Media Player can synchronise music and video from your desktop media library, and the rear-mounted speaker performs reasonably well. Vodafone also includes a set of headphones that double as a hands-free, but they use a 2.5mm headphone jack rather than the standard 3.5mm. To store all your files, the 1210 has 64MB of built-in memory, as well as a micro SD card slot, located underneath the battery. Unfortunately, Vodafone doesn't include a micro SD card in the sales package, so you'll have to factor the cost of this into your purchase.
At the heart of the 1210 is push email functionality. Like all Windows Mobile smart phones, it's very easy to configure for mail servers that run Microsoft Exchange 2003. The 1210 also works with standard POP3 and IMAP email accounts and will auto-configure settings for the likes of Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. You can also download attachments and save them to your handset.
The 1210 is powered by an Intel PXA270, 312 MHz processor, so it's far from the speediest smart phone on the market. Despite this, the menus are concise, simple and load effortlessly. Start up time is a little slow though, taking more than a minute. The 1210 is also helped along by 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM. For connectivity, Vodafone has included Bluetooth 1.2 and USB 1.1; unfortunately both aren't the newer and faster 2.0 interface.
Weighing just 105g, the compact 1210 is a sleek handset encased in matt black and silver plastic, and the design has a business-like feel and look. Its 2.2in TFT LCD displays 65,000 colours at a 320x240 resolution and the screen is clearly visible in sunlight. It does attract plenty of fingerprints though, and the viewing angle isn't the best.
Continuing the theme of the handset, the 1210's controls are simple, but effective. Consisting of a five-way navigational joystick, two selection buttons, answer/end call keys and dedicated buttons for home and back, the controls are raised and easy to press. The joystick does have its disadvantages though; it feels stiff and isn't easy to press in a quick motion. Browsing the internet or scrolling through a lengthy document quickly becomes tiresome.
A volume control and dedicated web button are located on the left hand side of the unit, while the bottom houses a standard mini-USB port and 2.5mm headphone jack. Vodafone also includes a USB and AC adaptor in the sales package. Battery life is average according to Vodafone figures, rated at to four hours talk time and approximately 300 hours of standby time. You'll need to charge the phone daily if you plan to fully exploit the 1210's email and multimedia features.
Vodafone has tailored two specific plans for 1210 users, Lite and Heavy. The Lite plan encompasses 100MB of data (approximately 500 emails) a month for $29.95, while the Heavy plan includes 300MB of data (approximately 1500 emails) a month for $49.95.
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