Triple phone treat
- Manny N. de los Reyes () - July 23, 2005 - 12:00am
Nokia 8800
Like people, some phones are born smart. (That’s why they’re called smartphones.) Some, however, are born beautiful. This is not to say, though, that those blessed with exceedingly good looks are all of the dumb-blonde variety. Far from it.

Consider the Nokia 8800 and its exquisite stainless steel case with laser-cut curves. It may not be a smartphone in the Nokia 7710 sense, but it boasts the ability to send and receive messages containing text, audio clips, and an image or video clip to other compatible devices with a maximum message size of up to 300 kB. For e-mail, it supports SMTP, POP3 and IMAP4 protocols and has predictive text input support for all major languages for Europe, Africa, the Asia-Pacific, and the Americas. The 8800 even has Instant Messaging and Presence-enhanced contacts to allow you to check the status of your friends before you call them.

It’s got 64MB of internal flash memory (no memory card slots), a music player, a video player as well as high-quality QCIF video recording. This Nokia also has Bluetooth connectivity, and for data transfers, is EDGE/E-GPRS-, GPRS Class 8- and TCP/IP-enabled (with integrated XHTML browser). It even has Mobile Wallet 2.0 application for those carefree shopping sprees, and allows over-the-air downloads of Java-based applications and games. And we haven’t started talking about its drop-dead gorgeous looks yet.

The 8800’s fine-pitched screen is made of scratch-resistant glass – just like in high-end watches – while its keypad is protected by a slick spring-loaded slide mechanism. The tri-band 8800 displays pictures that live up to its own beauty, thanks to an integrated SVGA (0.5 megapixel) camera, a dazzling 262,000-color active TFT display (208x208 pixels), and 3D imaging for enhanced graphics. And with polyphonic (MIDI) tones of up to 64 voices composed by award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and an FM radio, it makes beautiful music as well. At 134 grams, this pricey P50,000 phone is not a lightweight. Still, I can’t think of anyone not desiring to be "weighed down" by all that steel in one’s pocket or purse.
LG C3380
Housed in an elegant black-and-silver or red-and-silver casing, the clamshell C3380 makes the perfect all-occasion accessory. Flip it open and the internal main LCD screen greets you in all its 65,000-color glory. Those with big fingers will appreciate the C3380’s well-spaced silver keypad that’s neither too soft nor too hard to press.

For an entry-level clamshell handset, it’s fairly full-featured, especially in the camera department. The external VGA camera takes clear pictures even in poor lighting conditions, thanks to a built-in flash that doubles as a penlight in theaters. It even allows you to close in on the subject with its 5x digital zoom. Resolution settings are High (640x480), Medium (320x240), Low (128x160) and Phonebook (48x48), while picture quality can be set to Basic, Normal and Fine. Images taken may also be set as color, sepia, and black and white, while the image’s brightness may also be adjusted through five levels. You can even take nine rapid-fire action shots (in the Low setting; six in Medium) with a touch of a button. The C3380 also has a self-timer function.

User-friendliness, especially for first-time users, is enhanced, thanks to a keypad that is etched with useful icons. Learning how to compose text messages using this phone is likewise easy. (It’s got T9 predictive text input, for those who use it.)

Other useful tools are the organizer functions, a world timer, unit converter and voice recorder. The latter is not for long recording, though, as it can only hold 20-second soundbites. (Are memory card slots too much to ask for an entry-level handset?) This GPRS/WAP phone has Bluetooth connectivity for wireless sharing of files. The C3380 is also Java-enabled to allow you to download games and other Java-based applications. All in all, a highly recommendable handset, especially for those who are very much into the photographic aspect of their mobile phones.
Samsung E720
Another black-and-silver clamshell phone, the Samsung E720’s claim to fame centers on the design itself: classy in a subtle and understated way. The external 65,000-color screen, which displays in all its OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) grandeur, shows you the time, signal strength, battery level and "new message" alerts. The E720 may have the unassuming simplicity of neutral colors, but its superb megapixel camera and MP3 capability betray its higher-end aspirations.

Flipping it open, you’re faced with a stunning 262,000-color display. The interface is easy enough to get used to but might take some time if you’re used to the Finnish brand. The Bluetooth-enabled E720 is meant to be an MP3 player/phone, hence the controls on the cover. It’s got 80MB of internal memory (no expansion slots) that other applications (camera, video, downloads, etc.) have to share with.

The built-in flash is a very helpful feature because there’s no night mode among the camera options. There are, however, several useful stuff that compensate: the side button that takes you straight to the camera mode, the multi-shot, and the mosaic shot. The effects are fun to play and work with and allow you that extra creativity that’s absent from some of the more traditional camphones in the market.

The E720 allows you to choose color schemes, ringtones, and preset message alert tones. You can’t personalize your own settings, though. Except for the quiet mode (which you cannot set in the settings menu but through a long press of #), you have to change each setting every time you see the need for it. Nevertheless, the Samsung E720 should find itself a strong contender in the megapixel camphone stakes.

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