So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Telstra Corporation EasyTouch
- Price, decent features list, customised home screen, user interface
- Internal display, controls and keypad, no A2DP, proprietary headphones
The EasyTouch's personalised home screen is an excellent feature, but the rest of this handset is solid, without offering anything outstanding.
Price$ 499.00 (AUD)
Featuring an almost identical feature set to the F852, Telstra's latest Next G handset offers a 2-megapixel camera, a TransFlash card slot and a media player. The EasyTouch also boasts touch-sensitive music controls and a convenient home screen featuring quick launch icons and a content ticker.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the EasyTouch name would therefore make this a touch screen handset. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. EasyTouch refers to the handsets customised home screen, requiring just a single touch to access a selection of features. The best of these is a news headline's ticker scrolling across the top of the home screen. Pushing up on the navigational pad displays a preview of the story, while a press of the centre button opens the full story. Although it sounds like a simple addition, we found the constant access to the latest news headlines very compelling.
Also on the home screen is a row of five shortcut buttons including Mobile FOXTEL, messaging, games and access to the BigPond content portal. Conveniently, you can choose between four preset menu themes (Australia, Daylight, Entertainment and Sport) and each alters the shortcut icons that are displayed. A big appeal of the EasyTouch lies in the fact that it offers full use of Mobile FOXTEL and BigPond services, including Sensis Search, BigPond Photos and WhereIs maps. We were impressed by broadband speeds, especially when streaming mobile TV; the EasyTouch is speedy and didn't suffer from any noticeable lag while accessing the available data services.
Unfortunately, considering the kind of content the Next G network offers, the EasyTouch is a little disappointing in delivering it – aside from the convenient shortcuts and news ticker. The internal display is smaller than we would have hoped, it doesn't have a great viewing angle and isn't overly crisp or clear. Furthermore, sound quality using the included headphones is below average. The lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack or A2DP stereo Bluetooth further diminishes this handset's capability as a multimedia device, even if the touch sensitive media controls on the front of the handset are a nice addition.
In terms of design, the EasyTouch is fairly straightforward but the glossy front is a stylish touch, even if it does attract plenty of unwanted fingerprints. The keypad and controls are fairly straightforward, with the five-way navigational pad and selection buttons doing the grunt of the work. Unfortunately, their flat nature means they do require quite a firm press to activate. We also didn't manage to produce very quick messaging speeds as the keys aren't distinctly separated. The EasyTouch supports standard SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging, all with the standard T9 predictive text input.
Controls aside, the general user experience of the EasyTouch is excellent. Colourful main menu icons in a grid layout, (though this can be changed to a list format if you wish) combined with a simple list format for submenus makes using this phone as easy as ever. The shortcut icons on the home screen minimises the need to delve into the main menu.
A 2-megapixel camera with 2x digital zoom and video recording is included, but the lack of flash is a sour point. Photos aren't ideal for anything more than a few happy snaps. An internal VGA camera is present to allow for video calling over the Next G network.
A TransFlash card slot allows up to 2GB of extra storage, though there is no card included in the sales package, which is a disappointment. The EasyTouch also boasts Bluetooth and USB connectivity, though the latter is proprietary rather than the standard mini-USB connection and Bluetooth is only 1.2 rather than the newer 2.0 version – meaning A2DP is also absent.
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