Dbtel are big in Taiwan, very big. Their range of mobile phone handsets will be hitting our shores very soon, so it’s only right to review one of them before they are released so you can get the idea of them first!
The handset I received was the red Dbtel 6668. It’s one of the smallest clam-shell phones to be released, and therefore some aspects of the phone have been slightly down-graded; like the display size. A few times when I was using the 6668 I was asked if it was a real phone - some people believed that it was a candy-dispensing toy! The 6668 is far from this, as you’ll find out if you read on.
Some features have also been left out of Dbtel’s 6668, but you can read about in the problems and issues section of this article. The 6668 however does have colour graphics and a 65k colour display & a monochrome external display, 40 chord polyphonic ring tones, PIM applications and a customizable indication LED.
Be welcomed to the Dbtel 6668 with an opening sequence with music and video, bringing to life the handset which is also dubbed ‘Elizabeth’ by its creators. Once the handset is turned on you are presented with an opening sequence, and when you turn off the phone a closing animation is shown.
The main ‘feature’ of the 6668 would have to be the size. Measuring only 66 x 37 x 23 mm this is phone has got to be the tiniest clam-shell around. Although it’s small, everything is spread out evenly and nothing is crammed in. The overall look of the phone is very simple, but stylish as well. Unlike other small phones the buttons are reasonably large, and you won’t hit 6 keys instead of one ;)
A colour LED is located on the external of the phone, above the monochrome display. It can change colour, and can be present to any colour you want. It’s bright - very bright. I had no trouble finding it in my bag which is always jam packed with a whole heap of stuff - it’s like a dark cave. The LED on the 6668 almost lit up the whole bag so it was easy to find, and answer in a flash!
The internal 65,536 colour LCD is bright and although smaller than most, it does its job just fine. The external display is monochrome, and displays the time, date, service provider and other icons like alarm, reception, etc. It’s got a yellow backlight and visible in most situations.
Small, small, and small. This handset is really tiny; weight and measurement wise. It’s very sleek as well, which makes the physical side of things better. The red model I received is red all around, with chrome paneling on the sides and around the monochrome display and Dbtel logo at the front. Inside the chrome on the front is a grey backdrop to the actual monochrome display and then above that the blinking LED. Red rubber stoppers cover the headset port and charging port at the bottom of the phone, and fit in perfectly to not look out-of-place.
Open the phone up and the display comes to live. Like the outer display, the internal one has the same grey backdrop with a chrome ring around it. The directional and “OK” button are all chrome, the rest are dull grey. The buttons have a blue backlight which lights up the “butterfly” directional key arrangement too.
The battery back hides neatly and fits perfectly into the phone - no bulkiness.
User Interface & display
The 6668’s UI was fairly stable and easy to navigate around, the menu is displayed in icons along the left side of the display (once open) and you can select what you want with the up and down directional buttons. A press of the “OK” or left selection key will open that sub-menu.
Navigating around is done with the directional keys; up, down, left, right, and the left/right selection key or the “OK” button in the middle of the directional keys. Whichever you use you shouldn’t have any trouble with small buttons like I did in the Panasonic G50.
One thing I liked on the 6668 was the changeable wallpapers - the phone can be set to change the wallpaper every day/week! This gives you a nice variety when you wake up in the morning and check your phone. The handset grabs a random one from the wallpapers folder, so the pre-installed ones and any you have added can be used.
The menus are pretty straight forward; you can scroll through them using the down/up buttons and the animated icon to the right of the display tells exactly what that option is. There are 9 submenus, and you will notice the normal ones like Messages, Phonebook, WAP Browser, Extras, and Records etc.
The main display on the 6668 is a 128 x 96 pixel 65,536 colour STN LCD that performs well in the daylight as well as in a dark situation with its white backlight. The external display is a 48 x 80 pixel monochrome display which is also very bright.
Making and receiving calls
There is a headset port on the left side of the 6668 if you need it, otherwise will have to answer the phone like you usually do, by putting it to your ear - of course after you’ve opened it :)
Clam-shell phones offer great quality audio on both ends, because the really get around your face with help from the hinge. I didn’t have any problem with audio on the 6668, and it was easy to adjust the volume if need be by the controls on the side of the handset.
The 6668 has support for SMS message only, which includes support for extra long SMS messages. There is an English dictionary included as standard, which is much better than the ABC method in all aspects - except for the positioning of the ‘okay’ button.
The messages menu is the first icon when you open the menu, so it’s easy to get to. Pressing okay will open the menu where you can select the inbox or ‘read’ folder as it is called on the 6668, send messages, delete messages, configure SMS settings, go to you voice mailbox or broadcast messages.
Writing a simple SMS message is easy, you can choose between dictionary text (like T9) or the old multi-tap method - in uppercase, lowercase, or sentence case. The dictionary text on the Dbtel 6668 is like eZi Text on the LG G7020, is predicts the whole word you’re typing after about three or four letters. This may be a little confusing to start off with but gets easier and time progresses. Using the dictionary text, when you have got the word you were after you will need to press the ‘OK’ button in-between the directional keys to accept that word and move onto the next. You can’t press the space button (key ‘1’) like if you were using the multi-tap format. This is a difficult maneuver to get used to, but never the less you will get used to it.
Long SMS messages can be both sent and received on the Dbtel 6668, so you will be able to tell everyone everything in one long message separated into bits.
The key press lag is a bit annoying particularly when typing messages, because you can’t start typing a new word until the phone is ready again. To judge when you can start typing again isn’t an easy task, and you’ll most probably end up getting half-words instead of the whole thing.
The Dbtel 6668 can connect to a personal computer by a data-cable only, as it doesn’t include an IrDA port! You can however connect via GRPS to mobile WAP pages - GPRS Class 10 and WAP 1.2.1 are supported on this handset.
GPRS enables you to be virtually anywhere within your networks coverage area and connect to the mobile internet and download whatever data you want. Images, ring tones, java games, and general information is all available on WAP over GPRS.
An infrared port would have been a bonus on this handset, but being so small you can’t expect everything!
For the most part the build quality of the 6668 was fine, but I did feel like the hinge was going to snap off if any extra force was applied to it. It is quite thick, and in some places feels hollow. When talking on the handset and holding it against your ear the top flip feels like it is being pushed further back than it should, and you’ve got to remind yourself that this little handset isn’t as strong as the bigger ones!
Other than that, the battery fits in nicely into the back of the phone, a push down on the lever pops it out and you just need to ‘snap’ it back in - it can only go in one way. The SIM card insert is quite good, it fits in horizontally under a catch and then a metal slider is pulled down over it to keep it in place. There is a rubber stopper in the charging port to keep everything dust-free.
Battery life on this handset could have been better. The 6668 must be given some credit for being so small and still being able to support 2 - 3 hours of talk time and 50 - 150 hours of standby time on the little 550mAh lithium ion pack. A possible battery type increase would have been welcomed by many, but the supplied battery is reasonable.