Small is beautiful when you take into consideration the Panasonic G50. One of, if not the smallest GSM handset on the market at the moment, the G50 is small on the outside, but has more features than its weight on the inside. Most of the things that are not included in the Panasonic G50 shouldnít be a problem with most, because the other features of the phone more than make up for it.
A revised version of the Panasonic GD55 which lacked in a colour display and polyphonic ring tones, the G50 is a much better handset, even though the slight weight increase.
If anyone is after a small phone they can take anywhere comfortably, and one that includes most aspects found in the larger phones, the G50 is a great option. Based not only for girls, the guys would love this handset as well!
Take one look at the G50 when itís off, and you may automatically think that itís not going to be that good when you turn it on. However, when you turn this baby on, it really comes to life, and an opening sequence will welcome you to the world of Panasonic Mobile.
A great range of features on the Panasonic G50 include a brand new 128-by-96 pixel 4,096 colour display, 40 chord polyphonic ringing tones, WAP 2.0 browser (over WAP 1.2.1 protocol), games, PIM applications, and T9 predictive text input. As you can see, the handset may be physically small, but the software of the phone isnít! ;)
The 9 icon menu of the G50 has access to everything you need, and because there isnít a four way navigational key, you can just press the number representing the menu that you want, and the phone will take you there. You can still scroll through the menus as well though.
Interchangeable covers was sadly not something that the G50 has, it would have been nice to match the G50 with who you are! You can however get the sales package handset in several different colours, including Blue, Silver, and Red.
Small with attitude is the Panasonic G50. The review unit I received was the blue colour, but silver and red are also available. The chrome frame around the handset and chrome buttons look extremely hip.
Barely 75 grams, the Panasonic G50 is tremendously small. Although classed as a miniature design phone, it does take on the normal standard form factor alignment of keys and selection buttons. The two Ďsoftí keys are located on the left and right side underneath the display. These two buttons are attached to the pick up and hang up buttons, but are two separate buttons. In between these two keys is the two way navigational key, which is a great chrome colour with a vertical blue groove in the centre. The numerical keys are located beneath these, and are quite small, but are still usable. The 5(jkl) key has the bump on like seen in other handsets the market over. The buttons are horizontal in the middle row, but the 1, 3, 4, and 6 keys rotate slightly upwards, and the 7, 9, *, and # keys are rotated a tad downwards. This is in my opinion a very good idea, because if they were all horizontal you may have some problems jamming more than one key at a time.
There are no extra buttons on the G50 other than the soft keys, two-way navigational key, and numerical keys. The hang-up button is used for the on/off function when held down, so no need for an extra key. This makes the phone smooth around the sides and bottom; it can easily slip into your jacket pocket. The charging port of the G50 is located at the bottom of the phone, and is indented in to keep the smooth idea flowing. If you need to plug in a
The backlight of the G50 is a bright while colour, but turns semi-blue when activated on the blue handset that I received. This tiny 80 x 43 x 18.8 mm handset is actually quite comfortable to use and fits nicely into the palm of your hand. Because covers are not changeable on the G50, the battery pack is the only part that can be removed on the phone, which exposes the SIM card insert and other information. Itís uncomplicated to remove the battery, just push up on the tab and that battery will pop out a little so you can remove it with your hands.
The chrome colour used in the buttons on this Panasonic phone is also used to form a box without a top around the whole phone, to frame the display and Ďworkingí area. The aerial is located to the left side of the handset, and is quite petite so you shouldnít have fears about accidentally breaking it off or bending it.
User Interface & display
I am quite a fan of the Panasonic user interface, itís very friendly and probably one of the easiest ones Iíve used in my mobile phone travels. The only problem with this model and the user interface is that there is only a two-way navigational key, so you have to go up or down in the menus, not left and right too!
When the phone is idle, you can view the service providers name and reception quality, time & date, battery life, and you can also see your selected background image. Along with just changing the background of the G50, there is also a range of colour palettes that you can use. Orange, Violet, Blue, and most other colours are available, so every time you change your background, change your colour scheme too! The only part of the colour scheme chosen that is visible when the phone is idle is the two tabs located at the bottom of the screen, which will be in the colour selected by you. When you open the menu or phonebook the colours will be more visible. ;)
Although the display on the Panasonic G50 is smaller than most other phones, this is what Panasonic is after. They wanted a miniature phone, for people that want just that. We canít say that making the screen smaller was a bad idea, because if it was bigger, the phone would be bigger, and therefore wouldnít be a miniature design. However, I do believe that the display on the G50 was quite good when used in conjunction with the user interface. Everything is conveniently displayed on it, and the text isnít too small or too large. The 100 x 96 pixel and 4,096 colour display do this phone wonders.
Sunny or bright light conditions shouldnít cause any hassle if youíre using the G50. The display ought to be viewable without having to change contrast or anything like that.
Making and receiving calls
When I first used the G50, I thought that no one would be able to hear me because of the size, and that I would be experiencing dropouts galore. However, this wasnít the case, and everyone could hear me, and audio quality was more than reasonable. The two pick-up/hang-up buttons were a great help as always, and there a quite a few in-call features that are helpful as well. Holding the handset was also not a problem which I thought might come up, but it didnít. It is crafted so it will fit in your hand while in a call, although you may have some trouble holding it with your shoulder!
There are two ways to make a call using the G50. Key in the number and press the green pick-up key on the left side of the phone, or find the name of the contact you want to call and press this same green button. To get into your contacts list, press ďNamesĒ and then select SIM or Phone phonebook. Once this has opened, you can scroll down and up the list using the navigational keys, or just press the first letter of the name you want and the selection will jump there. You canít enter more than one letter though, only the first will be recognized. Once you have found the name you want, press the green pick-up button, or press view (if several numbers are attached to the name) and pick the phone number you want to call.
To answer a call when someone rings, press the green pick-up button, or if you wish to reject the call, press the opposing key. If you reject the call it will be diverted to any active diverts or purely hung up on. The only way to identify your caller is by reading the name; a picture phonebook isnít available on the Panasonic G50.
The 40 chord polyphonic ring tones will make their mark when someone calls and you will be able to answer your phone in a flash with the combination of tones & vibration alert. You can also change the settings on your phone (profiles) if you are in a meeting, or just need to have some silence for a while =)
SMS and EMS messaging are the only two options on the G50, but getting used to the keypad design and size of the keys may take a few days of messaging to get accustomed to.
Predictive (T9) text is in my opinion the only way to go with messaging. Itís so much faster, very easy to use, and available on most handsets today - including the G50. Iíve only used one other Panasonic phone, and this handset has a bit of a different way of entering text. If you have used other phones like me you will notice this difference, otherwise it shouldnít worry you. If you enter in a word that isnít in the memory, you can put it in and the phone will remember it for later messages. Read more about the T9 support in the Major Features section of this article.
EMS messages can have black and white pictures added and even monophonic ring tones. You can also add text, so EMS is kind of like MMS for handsets not supporting it. Almost every phone had EMS support as well, so why not send a whole bunch to all of your friends? =)
There are no connectivity options available on the Panasonic G50, except for the WAP browser. This means you can connect to the mobile internet on your handset, but not connect your phone to the PC and transfer files, backup phonebook and messages, etc.
When your GPRS settings are stable and finalised, you can open the browser from the menu and start surfing the internet, while on the go! You can download ring tones, and much more to personalise your new mini handset! =)
Since there are no removable covers, the only movable part is the battery pack, which clips into place from the bottom to the top without much stress. No other parts can be removed by accident, so there isnít much to comment on =)
The battery life when using the Panasonic G50 is reasonable, when compared to battery life of some other models using the same power type. I mostly noticed significant battery usage when talking on the phone, and usually had to charge afterwards so I wouldnít get caught out having no power.
A lithium-ion 780 mAh battery is used in the G50, and perhaps Panasonic need to think about better battery management in their next model for the Australian market.