Metallic Marvel: The Dopod 595 Reviewed

By Darius Wey on Thursday, November 23, 2006

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Figure 46: HSDPA enabled.

Here's where the 595 gets a big red mark. It's only a tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE Smartphone. By lacking support for 850MHz, it impacts residents and frequent travellers of the North America region, and so global adoption of the 595 takes a hit. Its single-band UMTS (2100MHz) support rubs salt in the wound, as it's only really good for European and Asian 3G networks, and also half of Australia's 3G networks. Long story short, the 595 (Breeze) is not one for the North American market. Unfortunately, my current SIM is not provisioned for 3G data, so I wasn't able to stress test much of the 595's UMTS connectivity. I did manage to borrow another SIM for a couple of minutes, and while I did not have time to perform number-crunching speed tests, I can confirm that browsing was fast. However, it could have been faster if the network was HSDPA-enabled. Variants of the HTC Breeze are HSDPA-ready, though it's up to each manufacturer to enable support. Is the 595 in that cohort? Yes. A look in \Windows\StartUp reveals a "SetHSDPA_Enable" shortcut pointing to a system file that does the job of enabling HSDPA support and offering an approximate five-fold jump in data speeds from the theoretical 384kbps (UMTS) to 1.8Mbps (other 595 users have reported real-world rates of around 1.2Mbps). Enough to make any user disregard the 595's lack of Wi-Fi? Perhaps - if you're lucky enough to be on an HSDPA-enabled network. So there you go - undocumented support for HSDPA: a factor that gives this Smartphone a bonus point on the score card.

All that said, I can't help but wonder if the 595's wireless radios eat into the battery life. The specifications sheet mentions a talk time of 5 hours or a standby time of 220 hours off a full charge. That's the theoretical figures. In real life, you'll discover that it's far less than that. In standby mode, I could only achieve approximately 72 hours before the battery hit 30% capacity. First impressions: not good. It was worse when I put it through the "daily usage" test (load a few applications, listen to an hour of music, and make a ten minute voice call). The result? 40% after 24 hours. You'll require a lot of patience when using this phone. Expect to charge at least once a day, and if you're on the road a lot, be sure to pack that spare charger.

On a positive note, the call quality is excellent. Audio is loud in both directions and crackles are minimal. I was unable to assess video telephony (which is supported, unlike the HTC MTeoR) since I could not get in touch with another party with a capable device.

Finally, like other CMOS cameras incorporated in Pocket PCs and Smartphones, the 595's primary 1.3-megapixel camera does not offer exceptional photo quality, but for what it is, it's decent. Colours are generally accurate, but bright lighting can lead to over-exposure of certain areas. Figures 47 to 49 are unaltered samples taken with the primary camera.

Figure 47: Note the over-exposure in the top right corner. Click the image above for a larger version (JPG, 466.5KB).

Figure 48: Colours are generally well done here. Click the image above for a larger version (JPG, 338.7KB).

Figure 49: A low-light shot with a bit of noise. Click the image above for a larger version (JPG, 292.8KB).

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