iMobile.com.au - Phone Review Panasonic GD90
Reviewed by Kinny Chen
Phone Reviewed: Panasonic
GD90 with a "Pearl" colour casing.
Being one of the less known brands on the GSM mobile
market, Panasonic has begun to make some new ground with their latest model, the
GD90. With an overall weight of
just 88 grams and a slim handset design, the dual band GD90 has a standby time
of 95 hours, a talk time of 200 minutes, and is sized to fit comfortably in the
hand, pocket or handbag.
With the phone being priced under the $500 mark, it is
definitely one that is worth getting!
Impressions - The Phone in the Hand
On picking up the phone, the first surprise is the actual
weight of the phone itself - followed by the special texture of the phone's
finishing. The finishing of the
phone's exterior is different from any other phone that I have come across
previously - which provided a unique "feel" towards further appreciation
of what the phone has to offer. The
keys are also quite tactile.
There are two choices of colours for the GD90
- navy blue
and pearl. I was using the latter
for this review - but have used the former on occasion.
Personally, the pearl colour would be the only choice for me - as the
navy blue delivers a totally different (negative) feel for me.
Why Pearl? One
problem is with the "material" used for the finishing is that it takes
fingerprints easily. Where the
colour is darker, the prints become more evident.
In the case of the pearl, prints are not visible unless you really put
the phone right in front of you. For
the navy blue, the phone would have natural graffiti all over by the time that
the phone has been handled numerous times.
The size of the phone can be considered
"perfect" - considering its overall weight and design.
Whilst waiting for incoming calls or text messages, the GD90 can be
placed virtually anywhere that deems "fit" - whether it be the pocket of a
tight pair of jeans, shirt, or inside a handbag.
On turning on the phone, the 5-line LCD lights up in a
fluorescent green colour that is different from the normal "green" most find
on mobile phones. On the GD90, the
lights for the keypad and the LCD are separated – with the LCD using a
backlight similar to the "Indiglo" or Casio "G-Shock" watches. This gives the user a clearer view of whats being
displayed. A choice of two
backlight colours is available - green or amber.
At the same time, one of the "minuses" of this phone is
the difficulty in reading the LCD when the backlight is not active.
Even after setting the contrast of the LCD to its maximum, it is
virtually impossible to read the display on an angle whilst being placed on a
table with sufficient lighting.
Having dimensions of 118 x 42 x 16.5mm (L x W x D) and a
considerably ergonomic design, the phone comfortably fits the curvatures of the
face providing painless, lengthy, conversations to the hands and ears.
Using the Phone's Menu System
The word "menu" was displayed on the lower right hand
side of the LCD. Being a Nokia
fanatic, I went for the button right below that (referred to as the "key"
from this point onwards) - which immediately bought up a list of the top-level
functions available. This key is
similar to Nokia's "Navi-Key" that can be found on their 3210, 5110 and
For convenience, the keyguard option was highlighted
immediately whilst bringing up the menu. Therefore,
by pressing the "key" two more times (once more to select keyguard, and once
again to confirm keyguard), it conveniently locked the keypad.
Unlocking it requires the user to press the "key" again twice.
Going through the menu system is somewhat a breeze.
By using the navigation key to move up and down (located right under the
LCD), each menu item is easily accessed (and clearly defined) where each
function only requires a press of the "key".
On some occasions, where functions may have a number of possible
selections, the navigation key is used to access those selections by moving it
left or right. This concept is
somewhat unusual at first – but is grasped over a short, but extensive usage,
Using the Phone for its Main Purpose
- Making & Receiving Calls
With the EFR (Enhanced Full Rate) audio codec being
included in most phones manufactured over the past two years, and available on
most GSM network providers (I am a user of Vodafone by the way - and they do
have EFR), the phone's performance in audio quality is considered 'above
The listed battery times - 95 hours for standby and 200
minutes for talk time - will depend on which network you are using and the
current audio codec being used. Testing
it on both Telstra and Vodafone networks, the phone have come close to both
these numbers on a full charge (which takes approximately 100 minutes).
There are a total of twenty (20) ring tones available with
the option for the user to use the phones internal vibration alert in discreet
environments. By holding down the "#" key, the vibration alert is immediately enabled and all ring and message
tones are disabled. Unfortunately,
this option does not turn off the keypad sounds - making the "#" shortcut
key somewhat pointless.
The phone book can be accessed from the phone book icon key
located on the left hand side of the handset.
This would immediately bring up phone numbers from the selected memory
area (ie. Phone, SIM, Both).
A special feature of the phone, when putting in the number
to call, is that it has a "database" of country codes that can be accessed
by using the "+" IDD shortcut. By
brining this up, the phone allows the user - via the use of the navigation key -
to choose the country that he/she would like to call. Unfortunately, one of the problems is that you have to know
your 3-letter country abbreviations (ie. AUS, USA, etc) - or you may just end
up playing Trivial Pursuit instead.
Caller profiles can also be set. Five (5) profiles can be set
- where each profile can have
their individual ring tone. By placing the telephone number(s) of the people that you want to have special
notification of when they ring, a different backlight colour will show and the
selected ring tone for that particular entry will be used instead of the
What about Sending SMS Messages?
The GD90 has the basic functionality of any other phone on
the market - which means that it can perform SMS messaging from the handset
itself. But for those who sends a
lot of SMS messages, this phone is not recommended.
Being a Nokia user, who has gotten used to the T9
Dictionary on the new series phones (ie. 3210, 7110, 8210, 8850), it was a
nightmare actually to try and send a message using the GD90 - as it took 3-4
times as long. Even using a pre-T9
Nokia or Ericsson phone to type an SMS message is not as hard.
Although having an awful message input system, the GD90
does offer message delivery confirmations (or delivery reports), which is
offered on all Nokia model handsets.
Any other Functions not Already Mentioned?
The GD90 also offers a "memo" function that allows the
user to record two 15-second messages during phone conversations, which can be
played back when convenient.
The SIM Application Toolkit is also available
allows users to access network value-added services (such as Vodafone's "MobileBank" feature).
A phone "turn on and "turn off" alarm option can
be used to schedule when a user wants the phone to turn on or off throughout the
day. So far, this is the only phone
that I have come across that has both on and off options available.
Desktop Charger (with battery slot)
Software Modem / PCMCIA connection to the GD90 handset
For the casual mobile phone user - whether it'll be
male or female, this is a phone worth purchasing.
One of the main considerations for this is that the phone has a very "general" appearance that would appeal to virtually all audiences.
The silver colour of the GD90 is the preferred buy.
If you're one that uses the phone for SMS also, then
consider a Nokia with the T9 dictionary instead - as it is a nightmare to do
SMS messaging on this handset!
In terms of talk time, usability, functionality and price
combined, I personally feel that this handset is comparable to the three major
brands of mobile phones around - Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia.
Priced at less than $500, it is one phone that is truly worth getting if
your budget is set around that mark.
Although Panasonic does not seem to specialise themselves
in the design and manufacture of mobile phones, the GD90 has shown that the
company is willing to be innovative and take into consideration the needs of the
general mobile user. Over time, we
may see handsets from Panasonic that may just "beat" models offered by the
three major brands mentioned previously.
|| 118 x 42 x 16.5mm
|| 200 minutes
|| up to 95 hours
| Handset + Battery
Pack (EB-BSD90) + AC Adaptor +
- 20 Selectable Ring
- 2 Colour LCD Backlight
- Dual Voice Memo
- 100 Mobile Phonebook
- Exceptional Battery
- Built-in Vibration
- Clock and Alarm
- Hot Key Dialling and
Service Dial Numbers
- Software Modem
- Support for Multiparty
and Call Transfer
- Easy to Use
- Triple Rate Codec/EFR
Improved Sound Quality
- Fax and Data
Compatible (internet/e-mail access)
- SMS Capability
- Support SIM Toolkit
- Send and receive SMS
- Cell Broadcast
- Advice of Charge
- Calling Line