Something weíve all been waiting for from Panasonic, Bluetooth. Now weíve got what we wanted, in a neat clam-shell design, named the X70.
With all the features one looks for in a handset in 2004, the X70 has Bluetooth, Infrared, WAP 2.0, MMS, e-mail send and receive support, tri-band GSM compatibility, and a huge TFT LCD display. Also something we all love in this day and age, an embedded camera. The X70ís camera is one with a different though; it has its own photo-light. Instead of taking photos in low light situations with a night-mode function, you can take photos in a low light situation with light. The photo-light is located above the camera on the external flip.
To store all your images there is a shared 4mB memory, but no external memory. You can also download games and images, along with 16-chord polyphonic ring tones using the WAP 2.0 browser over GPRS.
The most outstanding feature on the X70 would have to be the photo-light. Explained thoroughly throughout this article, the light is one of the best ideas Iíve seen incorporated into a handset in a long time. The photo-light can be used by anyone and guarantees great photos.
The embedded camera on the X70 offers great pictures at a 176 x 120 pixel resolution when viewed on the internal display. The pictures are great when combined with an MMS message sent off to a friends e-mail address or directly to their phone. If you want to send and receive e-mails on your phone like you would using a computer at home, set up the e-mail servers and GPRS settings and youíre off. You can receive messages on your X70 and reply to them, and then send them all off in a big block.
You can play 16-chord polyphonic ring tones on the X70, and also download the ring tones along with images and games using on the mobile internet. The best was to browse through menus is used in the X70, the icon menu. The X70 has a 9 icon menu, with some menus having their own 9 icon sub-menu; like messages. Itís just easier to navigate around and select what you want to do.
The shared internal memory on the Panasonic X70 is 4meg, and average photos are only a few kilobytes so running out of memory should be a thing of the past. Read more about all the features in the X70 in the Major Features section of this article.
The Panasonic X70 is silver in style. The whole phone is cased mostly in silver externally, except for the external display and the small rubber inserts for the charger and headset port. Once open the blue keypad frame is illuminated by a white backlight, ensuring you can see what youíre doing all the time - with or without the ambient light from the TFT LCD display.
Back to when the X70 isnít open, the whole phone is covered in a shiny silver coating, with the camera button the left side of the phone being chrome. The external antenna has a grey plastic coating, much like the colour that is used on the rubber inserts to protect the charging port and headset port. The only other colour not on the grey/silver range is the white photo-light just above the camera, and the black Infra-red port. Just under the camera is the small chrome bar where you can view yourself before taking a self portrait - very handy.
On the small external display you can view in monochrome the phones statistics, like reception, battery life, time and date. When the external display is idle either the digital or analogue clock is displayed, facing left or right depending on what you have set. To view the other information press the camera button twice in a row.
Open the X70 and the large LCD display comes to life. In full 65 thousand colours, the X70 can display your images captured from the internal camera beautifully. The keypad is grounded on a blue plastic, which the white backlight shines brightly through. There are two soft keys (selection keys) on the X70, a third selection key in the middle of the directional key, and all the numerical keys along with hang up and pick up buttons. There is an extra key, Ď@í, which starts up the WAP browser on your X70.
User Interface & display
The main display of the X70 is a TFT LCD 65,536 colour 132 x 176 pixel one, and the external is a monochrome 96 x 26 pixel display. The Panasonic X70 uses an icon main menu, whilst some submenus have large icons as well. The main menu is a 9 icon menu, with the camera automatically highlighted when you open the menu. The left selection key jumps to your MMS folders from the menu, although it can be changed somehow.
One thing I noticed with the X70 is when you close it, the handset will remember where you were (menu-wise) and then when you re-open the phone, you will be placed back where you finished. Most other clam-shell design phones donít remember this fine detail, but it is quite useful =)
On the main idle display your selected background will be shown. You can select a pre-installed one, or one you have taken using the camera/downloaded from WAP. From this screen you can also view normal things like if Bluetooth is activated, or infrared. Also, you can see the battery life and reception quality. The time is also conveniently displayed on the top line too.
Navigating around the menus and writing messages is quicker with a four way navigational key. The large circular button acts as a selection key too; just pressing it in different places is the key. When youíre writing a message you can skip to the next line using these keys, one of my favourite uses.
When you open the menu the most used functions are closest to the middle. For example the messages menu is one key press to the left, whereas the phone settings are all the way in the top left corner.
I didnít have any problems using the X70 in the dark or sun; it was great in both situations. =)
Making and receiving calls
You would probably know if youíre a regular visitor to iMobile.com.au that Iím a lover of clam-shell design phones because of the way they wrap around your face, and the microphone is closer to your mouth for best audio quality. The X70 is much the same, except the only thing I did notice was the lack of volume keys on the side of the phone to use during a call. Other than that, no drop outs occurred when I was making calls, and everyone could hear me with the upmost quality.
When receiving a call on the X70 you will know, without a doubt. The external display background flashes with all its colours and the photo-light flashes green. The name of the caller is also displayed on the monochrome display so you can decide if you want to answer or not. If you choose to answer just flip open the phone, because itís clam-shell you donít have to press any buttons - one thing I love about this design choice in handset. If you have the handset open or in the middle of something, whatever youíre doing will be stopped and the call window will open. To answer you will need to press the green button, and to reject/divert the call press the red button. Also, if the phone is open and you receive a call you can view your callers picture if youíve attached it to the entry in the phone book.
When itís time to make a call, the phone must be open, which is to be expected. Key in the number you want to call, and press the green button. When you get a message from someone and you feel the need to call them, you can press the green button when viewing the message and a call will be started to the number of which the message came from. This is the same for MMS and SMS messages. If you need to get a number out of the phone book press the left selection key from the idle phone and find the name you want. You can just press the first letter of a name to jump directly to the names with that letter. For example if I wanted to find a user named ďDrueyĒ I would press the Ď3í key once, and jump to ďDrueyĒ and all my other contacts that have D as the first letter. If there is more than one number attached to a name you canít press the green button straight away, you will have to high light the number and then press the button.
A loudspeaker is in the X70, so if you need to use hands free but donít want to get a hands free kit, just enable the loudspeaker. The audio will become louder so you can hear it, and all you will have to do is talk and the microphone will become more receptive and pick you up.
If you receive a message while youíre calling someone you will hear a small beep to notify you. You can open the message when youíre in a call, but thatís a bit rude isnít it? =)
Using the X70 you can send and receive e-mail messages from your handset using your POP3 or STMP mail server. You can also send MMS messages, SMS messages, and EMS messages.
MMS messages are SMS messages - advanced. Theyíre more than a text message these days, and you can say more without words. Depending on what you want, you can add images, sound, and text to your MMS messages on the X70. Using the MMS editor is easy, you simply choose the aspects of a message you want to add; text, sound, and images. Insert what you want, preview the MMS message if you want to using a slide-show and then send it off to an e-mail address or other mobile handset. The internal camera on the X70 means pictures can be taken in an instant and added to your messages so you will never have an excuse for not having a recent photo.
Short Messages can be send from the X70, alike any phone on the market. These SMS messages can contain up to 160 characters per message, but you can add more on the X70 and the messages will be just sent in concession. These messages are one of the most widely used ways of communicating around the world, with around 4 billion being sent during the first part of 2003. An average of 294 messages are sent per phone in 2002. Thatís constantly growing because every phone supports these messages.
EMS messages are text messages with a twist. Small black and white images can be added to them, along with monophonic ring tones. These are widely supported on GSM handsets also.
The e-mail support on the X70 is extremely useful when you need to send a message or read messages quickly when youíre not at a computer. Once all your settings for your POP3 or STMP servers have been established you can connect to your mail server and download incoming messages and send messages, all from your phone. The connection is made using GPRS, and instead of sending messages individual where you may be charged for connection, you can send messages in a large bunch and save money.
T9 predictive text input is the only way to send any kind of text message in my opinion. Itís so much easier, and just simply faster than any other way of input. Instead of tapping a key several times in a row, do it once and the phone will put together a list of words that can be made from the selected letters. When you donít get the word you want, input it normally and the phone will save it for use later on in your text messaging. The Panasonic X70 used the Ď0í key to change the word from the selections it had made, or the down/up button. To accept the word and place a space you press the Ď#í button. If you want to change the input mode from T9 to multi-tap, or any other method you need to press the left selection button.
Some of the 4mB internal memory is put aside for MMS messages, and you can store up to 200 SMS messages on the phones memory. Enough for any user I believe! =)
Bluetooth, Infrared, data-cable, and GPRS. There are only a few which are missing from this almost complete list of connectivity options for the X70.
Finding Bluetooth on the X70 was a surprise to me. One of the first handsets from Panasonic to include the wireless technology, I think itís a great idea. Bluetooth enables easy connection to other devices in a wide range, like PDAís, other mobile phones, and even computers. You can connect over the air, without cables or having to have your phone in a certain position to initiate a connection. All kinds of media can be transferred via Bluetooth; you can also connect a wireless headset using it. The Bluetooth in my trial unit X70 was alright, not as buggy as some of the previous versions.
Infrared is available on the X70, a port is located on the outer flip so you can use infrared whilst the phone is open with ease. Using the X70 I managed to send images and ring tones to my computer and other people easily with my Infrared adapter and a supporting phone.
A data-cable is available from Panasonic to connect your PC or laptop to your phone. You can do most things you can do with any other connection to your PC using a data-cable, but you are restrained by wires.
When your phone is connected to a PC using Infrared, data-cable or Bluetooth you can synchronize, backup data, and more. Images, ring tones, and games can all be transferred from one medium to another using the connection methods on the X70.
To jump onto the mobile internet using GPRS and WAP 2.0, just press the dedicated Ď@í key on the keypad and a connection will start and the browser will open. Once you are connected you are able to browse a world of information and get up to date information on almost any subject.
The only large moving parts of this handset are the main flip and the battery. There are no covers or anything else like that to remove to get to the battery, so it makes up most of the backside of the X70.
Removing the battery of the X70 is simple, all you have to do is push down the small grey plastic tab and then grab the battery from the two small tabs at the side. Once itís out you can place your SIM card into the insert, which follows down underneath the back of the handset. To place the battery back in you slide in the top and then push down the bottom, it will click into place. There is no chance of putting it in backwards, it only fits one way.
When you open the flip it will click into place at a slight angle for better viewing. Then when you close it itíll click into place down preventing it from flapping around when itís closed.
I found the battery life on the X70 quite good; nothing much special can be said about a battery that does its job. After the full charge to start off with battery life was to be expected, with the only big decrease when using the camera, with or without the photo-light.
Battery life with the X70ís 680mAh battery has an approximate talk time of 1.5 to 5 hours, and standby time of 75 to 120 hours. The approximate charging time is 120 minutes. All these details are approximates from Panasonic and are achievable by a full recharge of the new battery.