Dopod 838pro Review

After owning this phone for three months, it is about time I expressed my opinion on what has been my constant companion for the past three months.

As my only previous phone was a very basic model, this is not a comparison with other smartphones out there, instead it the adventures of an inexperienced user with a brand new toy.

The Dopod 838pro is the same phone, different badge as the HTC Hermes, Orange SPV M3100, Cingular 8500 & 8525, MDA Vario II, i-mate JASJAM, O2 XDA Trion, and the Docomo Htc Z, so this review covers the features of those phones.

Bad points

Size

It is just to big to stick in your jeans pocket comfortably.

Windows Mobile 5

This is a frustrating OS, every day or two I have to do a soft restart after a program freezes every day or two.

Camera

As previously stated the camera is not the best, ok for stationary objects in daylight, frustrating for everything else. That said what do you expect from a cameraphone?

X-Seris services are not available

Three my mobile service provider started offering some good deals with their X-series packages with relatively inexpensive internet access and other goodies. Wwich is available on the Dopod 810U but not 838pro. Which is surprising seeing the 810U is literally a 838Pro, sans keyboard and with a different button arrangement. There was a three month delay between the upgraded ROM being created that allow access to some additional three services and it being made available from the Dopod International Members Club. Highly recommended if you are on three, just for the browser upgrade and slighly more stable OS. So hopefully another ROM upgrade will be available within a couple of months.

Good points

QWERTY keyboard

Great for sending SMS, email, entering URLs or even writing blog posts.

Touch screen

First couple of weeks, I would only use the stylus to touch the screen when absolutely necessary. Now everything is done using my forefinger on the touch screen. I will use the keyboard to enter text, but otherwise I will use the touch screen. So much so, I have to keep stopping myself trying to use my MBP screen as a touch screen.

Screen size

240 by 320 pixels, makes it possible to browse web sites, use twitter, take notes and heap of other things I never thought practical on a mobile phone.

Getting me organised

I never considered the calendar when purchasing the phone, now it is indispensable and finally I am organised, even if I needed to purchase Missing Sync to sync with the MB.

Internet access

Either through wifi at home or one of the handful of free wifi cafes in Perth. Or by HSDPA at a cost 10Mb for $5 or 200Mb for $30. I went the $5 route, with unlimited email.

Battery life

In normal use it lasts three or four days, in heavy continous use (ie browsing the web via wifi) it should last three or four hours. The most I have done is two hours, after a day of regular use and no complaints, the battery indicator stated 40% charge remaining.

Conclusion

Lets just say this phone rarely leaves my side, I have come to depend on it. yes it has shortcomings but the only one that really annoys me is the instability of Windows Mobile 5.

If you are thinking about upgrading from a mobile phone to a smartphone I can not recommend it enough.

If you are looking to get your first or a new smartphone, you need to consider whether you need a QWERTY keyboard. If you intend to send a lot of SMSes, email, use word or just want to use a keyboard when browsing the web, I would recommend it.

So if you need a smartphone with QWERTY keyboard that can easily fit in a pocket, then the dopod 838pro (or rebadged variant) is for you. It has a much smaller form factor than the alternatives, the monoblock Nokia E61, Samsung Blackjack and their ilk.

If you can live without the QWERTY keyboard (and I don’t think I can), then you can avoid Windows Mobile by looking at a Nokia or Sony Ericsson. Their Symbian OS may be more to your liking, note smartphone OS is a matter of personal taste, so try both and ask questions of friends.

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