Relatively new to Australia, Dopod was first seen down under on the mass market when Three took on the 838Pro and 565 models earlier this year. The D810 is the latest handset to be picked up by Three, and is loosely based on the 838Pro.
The D810 includes almost all of the features the 838Pro, with a little change here and there. The only major change is the removal of the slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The D810 has a complete set of connectivity options – both wide area and local area. Other features include the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system, miniSD memory card expansion slot, and a range of pre-installed functionality applications for the on-the-go worker.
As many will already know, Dopod was acquired by HTC several moons ago – back in June 2006 to be exact. The D810 is based on the HTC P3600 (Trinity), which has been released by that name in some areas of the globe. The HTC P3600 and Dopod D810 only differ slightly.
And without further ado, let’s get into the review!
The D810 has a 2.8” touch-screen TFT LCD display which is used for almost all interaction with the handset. The LCD is capable of displaying up to 65,536 colours and the handy stylus slides in the handset from the bottom right hand corner of the device.
Running the Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Edition operating system on a 400MHz Samsung CPU, the D810 is reasonably powerful. Out of the 128MB of flash ROM and 64MB of SD-RAM, the user has approximately 58MB of storage space available out of the box.
My personal favourite feature of the Dopod D810 is the wide range of connectivity options. Dopod have covered every base in long- and short-range connectivity. Starting with the long-range options, every type of 2G and 3G network is supported: GSM 850, 900, 1800, and 1900MHz and WCDMA/HSDPA 850, 1900, and 2100MHz. On the GSM networks GPRS and EDGE data protocols can be used, and on 3G networks the high-speed HSDPA protocol is supported. WCDMA is used if HSDPA is not available.
WiFi, Bluetooth, infrared, and USB keep you connected to local devices for synchronization and data transfer. The sales package includes a USB data-cable, which charges the handset while transferring data! The D810 uses the lightweight ActiveSync application on Windows machines for data transfer; except on Windows Vista where the software is part of the operating system.
Other highlight features include a standard 2mpx digital camera, forward-facing VGA camera for video calls, push e-mail support, and a 360° scroll wheel for easy navigation through the user interface without the need for the stylus.
The Dopod D810 is of the usual PDA form factor, with the majority of the few buttons on the front of the handset. The face of the D810 is mainly occupied by the touch screen TFT LCD display, with 6 keys and the 5-way navigational keypad below. A forward-facing VGA camera for video calling is located above the QVGA resolution display. The 360° jog-dial and ‘ok’ key is located on the left hand side of the handset, with the on/off key, dedicated Voice Commander key, dedicated camera key, and miniSD slot on the right hand side.
Available in either black or white, the D810’s overall design is kept to the bare basics. The entire body of the handset is made of glossy plastic, which unfortunately is very prone to fingerprints. On the back of the handset is the 2mpx camera lens, loudspeaker, and external antenna port. The back cover, which wraps around onto the top of the handset, easily slides upwards and off to reveal the battery insert. Underneath the battery is the SIM card slot.
The bottom of the D810 houses the unusually shaped miniUSB port. Thankfully, regular miniUSB connectors still fit in the strangely shaped jack. The infrared window is also positioned on the bottom of the handset. Unlike most PDA’s, the D810’s stylus is accessed from the bottom right hand corner of the handset. This did take some getting used to, having only used ‘top-loading’ PDA’s before. I see no problems with the relocation, though.
All up, the D810 weighs 150 grams and measures 108 x 58.2 x 18.4mm. It’s not the smallest of all PDA’s, and on the other hand it’s not the largest either. Most high-end handsets weigh around the 150gram mark these days anyway, so it’s not really that heavy in comparison to similarly featured devices either.
User interface & display
The Dopod D810 runs the Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition operating system and is powered by a 400MHz Samsung processor. The 838Pro also used a 400MHz Samsung processor, but the D810 is slightly faster in some regards, especially Java applications.
For memory the D810 has 128MB of flash ROM and 64MB of SD-RAM built in. I performed a clean re-install of the operating system when I received my D810 trial unit and the ‘Memory’ application gave me the following figures:
In use: 25.84MB
In use: 20.97MB
As you can see, the memory is divided into two sections: one for system files/programs, and another for personal user storage. Memory can be expanded by way of miniSD memory cards that slide into the right hand side of the handset.
The LCD is a touch-screen panel with support for up to 65,546 colours within its 240 x 320 pixel resolution. Although the display isn’t a 262,144 colour LCD, most users will not notice the difference unless put side-to-side with a 262k display. The stylus slides into the bottom of the handset on the right hand side.
Some applications can be used without the stylus, most notably the ‘Phone’ application which is used to make calls. The ‘buttons’ in this application are large enough for you to press with your thumb without hitting any other button. On the other hand, messaging is practically impossible without the stylus.
The 360° scroll wheel can be used to access functions that would otherwise need the stylus – such as the sections on the Today screen which are just that tiny bit too small to be pressed with a finger. The scroll wheel can be pushed in to open or select something on-screen.
The Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system runs well, but some areas can be sluggish. Opening a few too many programs without closing them properly will impact the performance of the handset. I would have personally liked to have seen Windows Mobile 6.0 on the D810, considering it’s been out for some time now. Rumours flying around suggest that an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.0 could be in the works, but that’s just hear-say at the moment. Fingers crossed!
Making and receiving calls
Regular audio calling and video calling is supported on the Dopod D810. With support for GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz and WCDMA/HSDPA 850/1900/2100MHz networks, the D810 will keep you connected in every corner of the globe.
Phone calls are handled with the ‘Phone’ application, which has large on-screen buttons so it can be used without the stylus. The main window of the application displays your provider and the details on the last call made. When you start to enter a number any contacts with the same number are displayed at the top of the screen. If you’d like to grab a contact from the phone book, hit the left soft key (either the physical key or the on-screen key). Browsing through contacts will require the stylus because the scroll bar is tiny!
Pressing the green key below the display will start a voice call to the contact, as will the green on-screen key that says “Talk”. For video calls, just press the green on-screen video button. The video call camera is located just above the display. Speed dials can be created in the Phone application, with the number ‘1’ always reserved for voice mail.
When in a video call, a row of buttons appears below the two video boxes. The first button is used to edit the brightness of the outgoing video. The second button will turn off outgoing video, and the third activates or deactivates outgoing audio. The fourth button allows you to select which camera should be used for outgoing video: the forward-facing or 2mpx camera. The last button in the row changes video mode.
Volume can be adjusted at any time by scrolling the scroll wheel up or down. In my opinion the audio was a little quiet, even at full volume, but only slightly.
All messaging on the D810 is handled by the Outlook Mobile application. Support for SMS/EMS, MMS, and (push) e-mail is built into the handset. As the D810 doesn’t have a physical keyboard, all input is through the touch-screen display via several different techniques.
SMS, MMS, and e-mail messaging is divided into three sections of Outlook Mobile, each with their own inbox, outbox, sent messages, drafts, and deleted items folders. Outlook Mobile is closely tied in with the Today interface to display new messages direct from the idle display.
Outlook Mobile is compatible with POP3 and IMAP4 mail servers, and also with compatible Exchange servers for push e-mail. Other push e-mail technologies like Blackberry are not supported (but could be added with additional applications).
The message composition window is kept plain and simple, with the majority of the display open for the message body. Above the message body are different fields (depending on the type of message you are sending) for the recipient(s), subject of the message, and also a non-changeable field which displays the type of message being sent: Text Message, Outlook E-mail, or MMS Message.
MMS Composer Version 18.104.22.168 (ArcSoft) is used for MMS composition, and the interface is similar to that for SMS and e-mail messages however it carries more of a ‘wizard’ type feel – the window is divided into sections for text, pictures, sounds, and video.
The D810 provides 5 different text input methods: block recognizer, keyboard, letter recognizer, phone pad, and transcriber. You can change between the different types at any time, it will not affect the message you are typing.
Block recognizer: similar to the Palm Graffiti method, single strokes are used to enter characters. Old-school PDA users might be familiar with this method.
Keyboard: a small QWERTY keyboard is displayed on screen for you to enter each character. Full word prediction is provided.
Letter recognizer: the stylus is used to write letters as you normally would on a piece of paper.
Phone pad: just as the name suggests, a phone pad is displayed on screen for text input. T9 predictive text is provided.
Transcriber: this technique recognises handwriting in cursive, mixed, and print styles. You do not have to enter one character at a time when using transcriber.
Following the trend of the 838 Pro, The D810 offers the most complete set of connectivity features on the market at present. The handset supports the GSM 850, 900, 1800, and 1900MHz 2G networks, the UMTS 850, 1900, and 2100MHz 3G networks, as well as Bluetooth, WiFi, and USB local connectivity.
As the D810 supports every 2G and 3G network band, you will be covered anywhere you travel, across the entire globe! The D810 will automatically switch between 2G and 3G bands, and also provides the option to only connect to 2G or 3G bands. The default option is to change between both types of networks.
When on 2G networks (GSM 850, 900, 1800, or 1900MHz), packet data connectivity is handled by the GPRS or EDGE protocol (where supported). On 3G bands the handset will choose the HSDPA or WCDMA data protocol. The handset includes a web browser and Windows Media Player Mobile supports streaming video and audio for on-the-go multimedia content.
WiFi 802.11b/g connectivity has also been packed into the Dopod D810. Connecting to a WLAN network will save on data (EDGE/GPRS/HSDPA/WCDMA protocols) costs from your network provider by utlising a wireless network in range. The D810 supports WLAN security protocols including WPA and WEP. The only downside to the D810’s WLAN connectivity is that the set up is a little confusing and you’ll have to consult the user guide if you’re not an experienced user.
For local connectivity, there is the choice of Bluetooth or USB. The sales package includes a USB data-cable and Microsoft ActiveSync software for transferring data between the handset and your PC. The Bluetooth radio is version 2.0 compatible and supports the major Bluetooth profiles.
The results are quite impressive, both up a considerable amount from the 838Pro which used a similar 400MHz Samsung processor. There are no pre-installed Java applications, but inside the Games folder you will find the usual culprits: Bubble Breaker and Solitaire. These applications are Windows Mobile-based, not Java.
Windows Media Player 10 Mobile is the main multimedia application on the Dopod D810. The little sister software to the Windows variant is compatible with MP3, WMA, WAV, polyphonic MIDI, AMR, AAC, and M4A files. Full screen playback and streaming playback of video & audio over GPRS/EDGE/WCMDA/HSDPA is fully supported.
The D810’s external loudspeaker leaves a little to be desired, but it’s safe to say that most of the time you’ll be listening to music with headphones and using the loudspeaker for multimedia quite infrequently.
Java games and applications can be installed using the Midlet Manager application. Transferring .jar files to the memory from a PC or other device and simply opening the file will launch the Midlet manager and install the file.
To get an idea of the Java performance, I installed the JBenchmark testing suite on the D810 and ran the usual tests. The D810 is compatible with MIDP 1.0 and 2.0 applications. Attempting to run the JBenchmark 3D software resulted in a blank screen with no error message. Here are the results from JBenchmark 1.0 and 2.0:
The Windows Mobile Pictures & Videos viewer displays a grid of thumbnails for all images and video clips saved on the selected memory/in the selected folder. Files can be sorted by date, name, or size, and there is even a full screen slideshow setting for images (similar to the slideshow feature on Windows XP machines).
The Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system comes with pre-installed applications providing mediocre PIM functionality. The Microsoft Office Mobile application suite includes PowerPoint Mobile, Word Mobile, and Excel Mobile. Adobe Reader LE is installed for viewing PDF documents.
Other PIM applications include a basic calculator, note taker (text via on-screen keyboard and hand-drawn objects), Tasks, Calendar, and Voice Commander for controlling the handset with just voice commands. Strangely enough, the Calendar application cannot be found in the Programs menu and can only be accessed from the Start menu or via the Today interface.
The Tasks and Calendar applications integrate tightly with the Today interface to display upcoming tasks and appointments straight from the idle display for easy reference.
Additional PIM features can be added to the D810 by way of Windows Mobile or Java platform applications.
The D810 is a very solid and reliable handset, with only two moveable parts – the back cover and the stylus. The handset feels solid in hand, and all buttons push down with a satisfying ‘click’. The LCD is protected from scratches from the stylus with a protective plastic-type sheet over the actual LCD module.
My only complaint for the D810 is the glossy material used for all the exterior surfaces. It looks great, but as soon as you touch it it will be covered in clearly visible fingerprints that can only be totally removed with a cloth.
The D810’s standard battery is a 1500mAh lithium-ion pack. The battery life estimates from Dopod are:
2G talk time: Up to 5 hours (without backlight)
2G standby time: Up to 250 hours
3G talk time: Up to 4 hours
3G: standby time: Up to 200 hours
As always, these figures are dependent on network and application environment. Video-talk times were not given.
During my time with the Dopod D810 I found that a fully charged battery lasted approximately 3½ days with average usage. This included data transfer/internet browsing on Vodafone’s HSDPA UMTS network, a lot of text messaging, and moderate use of the PIM and office applications.
Battery life can be checked at any time by pressing the battery icon on the Today screen. The included power adapter can be used to charge the handset, as well as the included USB data cable.