A HSDPA-capable mobile for a competitive price.
- Stylish design, reasonable build quality, decent features, HSDPA-capable, value for money
- Implementation and design of controls, poor camera, battery life, proprietary headphone/charging jack
Vodafone's 830i doesn't offer anything new or innovative, but it does provide a reasonable number of features for a competitive price.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
An entry-level 3G mobile phone with 3.6Mbps HSDPA capabilities, Vodafone's 830i certainly packs in plenty of punch for a relatively low asking price. While it has some annoying niggles and is far from perfect, the Vodafone 830i is definitely worth considering if your main goal is to save some money.
Manufactured by Huawei but Vodafone branded, the 830i certainly looks classy. It's finished in a combination of gloss black and dark grey plastic; when you hold it, it feels like a much more expensive handset. The spring-operated slider feels sturdy and build quality is reasonable considering the price point. We did notice a tendency for the front to wobble slightly from side to side when slid open, though this is an issue that occurs with many slider handsets.
The phone looks fashionable but we were less pleased with its controls. The Vodafone 830i's buttons are flat and require a firm press to activate, so even browsing through the main menu quickly becomes an uncomfortable experience for your fingers. It's also quite easy to accidentally bump the selection key when scrolling with the five-way navigational pad. The external volume controls on the left side of the Vodafone 830i are located at a much lower position than usual, so they are difficult to press while you are holding the phone to your head.
The Vodafone 830i's display and user interface are far more pleasing. The screen is bright and clear and has impressive viewing angles; it's also quite easy to see in direct sunlight. The main menu features a colourful yet simple grid layout of animated menu icons, with a simple list format for most submenus. Being a Vodafone-branded handset, the 830i includes main menu shortcuts for the company's Mobile TV service and you can also access the MusicStation application from the music menu.
The Vodafone 830i doesn't offer any innovative features, but it has most of the basics and some nice extras. A Web browser allows access to the Vodafone Live! portal, and there is a built-in e-mail client. The Vodafone 830i is also a fair multimedia handset, with music and video players, a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and self-portrait mirror, as well as Bluetooth with the A2DP profile. The camera doubles as a video recorder, but the quality is mediocre and the lack of flash means photography in low-light situations is impossible.
Conveniently, the operating system allows applications like the music player to be minimised and run in the background, so you can listen to music while sending an SMS, for example. The proprietary headphone/charging jack is a negative though; it means you can't simultaneously charge the handset and listen to music. The Vodafone 830i includes expandable memory in the form of a microSD card slot, but there is no card included in the sales package.
The handset offers a range of PIM functions including an alarm, calendar, tasks, memo, calculator and voice recorder. A range of Java games are preinstalled on the device, with the option of downloading more through the Vodafone Live! portal. Unfortunately, battery life seems poor when compared to similar handsets. Vodafone claims the 830i is good for just 140 minutes of talk time and 200 hours of standby time, meaning you'll more than likely be charging the handset every night.
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