Panasonic has recently released two new handsets into the Australian market - the GD75 and GD95, each offering a revised user interface and some new features as well. Some may think that the GD75 is inferior to the GD95 - when you just simply look at the model numbers. On the contrary, both phones are an improvement over its predecessor, the GD92, where they carry very similar features - with some “pluses” and “minuses” here and there.
The GD75 is a “somewhat” upgrade to the GD92, adding in some much-needed features that are now requirements for today’s mobile phones. These include the addition of a WAP browser, operator and animated background logos, concatenated SMS messages, downloadable polyphonic ringtones, a set of organiser functions, and two games.
Physically, the GD75 is a “fatter” phone - compared with the GD92. I did not really find this a problem - as the phone’s width is considerably reasonable compared to other phones on the market. At the same time, this allowed for a wider screen allowing for a slightly larger LCD screen. The average person would find holding the GD75 much easier than the GD92 because of the wider footprint and lightweight design. Also, this is the first Panasonic that incorporates an internal antenna design.
One feature not available on the GD75 compared with the GD92 is the different screen backlight colours. The GD75 uses a light-blue backlight, which some may either dislike or think it complements with the green keypad backlight well.
graphics LCD screen provides for an improved user interface"
The slightly larger, high-resolution graphics LCD screen provides for an improved user interface. Icons used are now larger than before - with more screen space to display menus and functions. In conjunction with the addition of a 5-way directional joystick (left/right, up/down, and depress), this improves the phone’s overall usability by decreasing the number of keystrokes to perform an operation.
Another neat idea added to the menu system is the use of ‘bubbles’ (like the ones used in comics). When a user is using a feature of the phone, such as typing an SMS message or going through a phone book or message list, depressing on the joystick will bring up a bubble showing the options available. For example, when looking through a message list, the bubble will show options such as “delete”, “read”, “reply”, etc.
A screen image option can be set - where the phone can be set to display either a static or animated image during standby (that is, while waiting for a call). By default, the GD75 uses an analogue clock image with date and digital time display. The information is presented quite well considering the amount of space available on the screen.
The tactility of the keypad was quite good. But the response from the phone’s software wasn’t as responsive once your input speed quickens. The phone buffers the keypresses that are not responded to immediately.
Making and receiving calls
Similar to the GD92, a user can make or receive phone calls in two different ways. One is the standard method of holding the phone. The other method is to enable the desktop handsfree option where the phone can be placed on a nearby surface (for example, on the desk in front of you) where you can conduct the phone conversation without physically interacting with the handset itself. The caller’s voice is fed through the speaker located at the back of the phone.
Polyphonic (harmonic) tones are played when the phone either receives a call or SMS message. These ringtones produce a similar level of music quality found in MIDI files.
Concatenated SMS messaging means that a user is able to type more than the 160-character limit imposed on SMS messages. Now one can type up to the length of three messages long (up to 459 characters). Also, an SMS chat feature (similar to that used by some Nokia phones) allow for ICQ-like dialogues.
The GD75 uses an internal battery. This same battery is locked down with the back cover by a latch located at the bottom of the phone - ensuring that both items stay put until the latch is released. Usually, one would not need to remove the battery unless he/she decides to use a spare battery. Charging of the phone is done by plugging up the charger at the base of the phone.
Approximate battery life averages around 2-3 days on standard usage.