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E-TEN Glofiish M700
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Review posted March 1, 2007 by Lisa Gade, Editor
It used to be HTC had a monopoly on that clever side-slider QWERTY keyboard design for Windows Mobile Pocket PC phones. The HTC Wizard (T-Mobile MDA, Cingular 8125) and the HTC Apache (Verizon XV6700 and Sprint PPC-6700) were the first and they were extremely popular. HTC continues the trend with their TyTN (sold as the Cingular 8525 in the US) and a few upcoming models. But none have a GPS. Enter E-TEN and their Glofiish M700 which has an internal SiRF Star III GPS along with every other feature you can cram into a Windows Mobile Pocket PC phone. Think of it as the keyboarded sibling to the Glofiish X500 we recently reviewed, since most every feature is identical. Like the X500, the Glofiish M700 has a 400MHz Samsung CPU, Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR, WiFi 802.11b/g, a 2megapixel camera, and is a quad band unlocked GSM phone with EDGE for data. It also features the same excellent E-TEN value added software and some of the X500's quirks. You'll notice similarity in our reviews of these two devices since they are in many ways identical.
Design, Ergonomics and Keyboard
But lets start with the important difference: the form factor. The M700 looks like your average reasonably compact Pocket PC phone with a 2.8" touch screen. But there's a side-sliding keyboard hiding in that compact casing: slide the display right to reveal the keyboard. The keyboard is quite similar to the Cingular 8125 and 8525's: broad, roomy and nicely domed keys. They're backlit in light blue and have a line blue LED light running between each row of keys, in typical cool E-TEN fashion.
Two very small Windows Mobile softkeys flank the keyboard (we'd like them to be larger), and the keyboard has dedicated Windows Start Menu and OK keys. The number bad is embedded in the keyboard, and is a darker shade of gray to make them easier to find quickly. To enter a number, press the Function key first (that's the key with a red dot at the lower left hand corner). The Fn key is sticky so you need not hold it down at the same time you're pressing the desired number or symbol, and a double press of the Fn key turns on Fn lock (another double-press turns it off).
The M700 is very close in size to the HTC Wizard and its variants, though the screen looks smaller relative to the casing on the M700. The keyboard slider has no jiggle or wiggle and it locks securely open and shut. Only time will tell if the slider stays tight (the Wizard's tended to get loose over time). The Glofiish is well made and put together, but it's clearly a very plasticy device. If you love gadgets that look and feel expensive, the M700 may not suit you. That said, plastic is plastic-- regardless of whether you buy a plastic device that looks high end or not so high end. While the Glofiish might come up second class in looks, it's just as good in terms of actual function and build quality.
On the front you'll find GPS and Home Menu quick launch buttons above the display, with the earpiece centered between them. The M700 has standard Windows Mobile softkeys below the display and call send and end buttons that flank a square d-pad with center action button. Unfortunately, there are no dedicated OK or Windows Start Menu keys on the front face (these would speed up one-handed operation).
Volume up and down buttons as well as the voice command button and a stereo 2.5mm headset jack live on the device's left side and the camera and power buttons are on the right side. As with the X500, we found ourselves constantly accidentally activating voice command since the button is easy to press and is right where you grasp the device to pick it up. The stylus slot is at the bottom right hand corner and the MicroSD card slot and USB sync/charge port are on the bottom as well.
The camera lens, flash and self portrait mirror are on the PDA's back, with the speakerphone grill just to their right. The battery lives under a large plastic door on the back that's more easily removed if you pull the stylus out first, and the SIM lives under the battery. There's a battery release latch that you'll need to slide down before removing the battery. A rubber ridge runs across the back of the phone which makes for more gentle landings on hard surfaces.
In the Box
E-TEN includes the M700, a stylus, Lithium Ion battery, world charger (same mini USB connector, amperage and voltage as recent HTC phones), USB sync cable (the Glofiish supports USB charging), a black horizontal leather case with belt clip, software CD with ActiveSync and Outlook 2002, printed guide and a stereo earbud headset with inline mic.
Phone Features, Data and Reception
The Glofiish M700 is an unlocked GSM quad band phone that will work with any GSM carrier. It supports the 850/900/1800/1900Mhz bands, which are all the bands used in the world, and it has EDGE (but no 3G for data). Reception is good on the 1900MHz and 850MHz bands used in the US and we tested the Glofiish with both T-Mobile and Cingular SIM cards. Though RF isn't as strong as the T-Mobile Dash (an RF champ), it's better than average. Incoming voice quality using the built-in earpiece is good though not fantastic (the Treo 750 gets that honor) and volume is good as well, and similar to the HTC TyTN / Cingular 8525. Outgoing voice using the integrated mic is average with decent volume but some call recipients commented that we were definitely not landline clear. The bundled headset works well for calls and doubles as stereo headphones for multimedia playback.
Download speeds are good by EDGE standards and the M700 averaged 152k on DSL Reports mobile speed test. Mobile versions of Internet Explorer and Outlook are included on the device and they're a standard on all Windows Mobile phones and PDAs. Since the Glofiish runs Windows Mobile 5 with AKU 3.2 it supports MS Direct Push email for use with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 SP2 or newer.
The M700 offers the same useful phone software found on prior E-TEN Pocket PC phones and the Glofiish X500. The Phone settings applet allows you to switch between
900/1800 MHz (Europe and Asia) and 850/1900 (US). It also offers the usual Windows Mobile settings for manual/automatic network selection, call waiting, call barring, caller ID and call forwarding. The Glofiish has two forms of speed dial, one of which is basically
the traditional kind that can hold up to 99 numbers (unassigned slots
are filled with most recently called numbers, ordered by how frequently
you've called them) and another called Index Dial which shows you each
letter of the alphabet. Tap on a letter to quickly see all the contacts
whose first names start with that letter. This is much faster than scrolling
through your Contacts list, though you have that option as well.
The Glofiish M700 comes with Voice Commander 2.0, a
voice recognition system made by Cyberon that's
identical to that found on the Glofiish X500. Voice Commander works for voice dialing
(by name or digits) and issuing voice commands to the PDA, i.e.: "start
appointments" or "what
can I say?"
to bring up help and a list of possible commands. The application uses speech recognition so you need not record voice tags, though you can record them if you wish to improve recognition for challenging commands. The Settings app allows you to turn recognition on or off for applications installed on the device, record tags (if you desire, it's not required) and set sensitivity. Though there's a "Music" tab, there are no options for music. Voice Commander works
reasonably well, and it works
with Bluetooth headsets, though you must press the voice dialing button on the phone rather than initiate it from the headset.
Horsepower and Performance
We like the Samsung family of XScale compatible processors: they're fast and use less power than many of Intel's 400MHz processors. The M700 and Glofiish X500 share the same Samsung SC32442 CPU, and older E-TEN models relied on 400MHz Samsung processors that got great benchmarks compared to other similarly clocked Pocket PCs. The device is responsive by Windows Mobile standards and the CPU is more than up to demanding tasks such as gaming, mapping, video playback and rendering web pages quickly. Though it lacks a dedicated graphics chip, the M700 did a good job with video playback of clips in encoded in the 300-500kbps range.
Size comparison: Treo 750, Glofiish M700 and the i-mate JAQ3.
The X700 has 128 megs of flash ROM (standard for Windows Mobile Pocket PC phones) with 69 megs available to store files and additional programs. E-TEN's value added programs (installed at first boot) take up 18.51 megs of space, leaving 51 megs free (you can remove any of these programs if you wish). The phone has the standard 64 megs of RAM (used like RAM in your computer) with just under 32 megs free just after boot. For additional storage the M700 has a MicroSD card slot located on the device's bottom edge. The smartphone is compatible with cards up to 2 gigs in capacity. The M700 runs Windows Mobile 5, AKU 3.2 and the ROM version on our phone is WWE 052 0300.
The Glofiish M700 has a SiRF Star III GPS with an internal antenna (identical to the Glofiish X500's right down to bugs and software, so both share the same review copy). It comes with a GPS viewer application but no mapping or guidance software, so you'll need to provide your own copy of CoPilot, TomTom or whatever Windows Mobile software you prefer. The M700's GPS has impressive reception-- in fact remarkable given the internal antenna. It managed to pick up 9 satellites in the first story of a two story brick building when we were within 10 feet of a window. The included basic GPS application has a lovely satellite view that shows satellites in view (tracked satellites appear in blue, those in view are red and the 4 used for a fix are shown in green). The app has a globe view that shows the satellites' approximate locations relative to your position on earth.
The "compass" view shows the current time and date, latitude, longitude, altitude, speed and GPS status. This application has some trouble with high ascii characters as you can see in the screen shot on the right, but that's not too troublesome. What is troublesome is that the application is wrong by about 11 miles in describing your current location (altitude is roughly correct). The same is true of the X500. Your first guess is that the GPS itself is not working well, but that's not the case. We tested the GPS with other software (CoPilot and Virtual Earth Mobile) and those applications pinpointed our location correctly.
Time to first fix is roughly a minute and a hot start takes 30 seconds. The M700 has an assisted GPS feature that's similar to the HP iPAQ hw6945. It downloads satellite data over EDGE and WiFi connections to speed up fix time. The GPS settings applet lets you view and change the GPS' COM ports (handy when using mapping applications). We had to fiddle with COM ports when using Virtual Earth Mobile until the application was happy (COM port agreement alone doesn't guarantee it will work, we had to find a port that suited the application, reminding us of the dark days of DOS and Windows 3.1). The M700 has a location SMS application which will send your coordinates via SMS to another phone. It also supports the TMC function which provides road traffic information (if available in your country and area).
Display and Multimedia
The M700 has a bright and sharp 2.8" color TFT display that can show 65k colors. The touch screen works in both portrait and landscape modes (screen rotation is a standard feature of Windows Mobile 2003SE and newer), and the smartphone comes with a telescoping stylus. You can adjust screen brightness using a slider and there are options to auto-adjust brightness relative to battery level and by idle time (if you're not using the device, it cuts back the brightness after 30 seconds).
For sound the M700 has a rear-firing loud speaker than handles system sounds, music playback and the speakerphone. As with most PDAs, it won't thrill you, but it gets the job done. The speaker does distort at high volumes. Sound through the stereo 2.5mm headset jack is quite good using the included stereo earbud headset with mic. A mic gain applet lets you control recorded audio volume and there are no EQ settings built in for music and video playback.
WiFi and Bluetooth
The Glofiish M700 is a well connected device with WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR. The PDA sports E-TEN's usual wireless manager which allows you to control the phone, WiFi and Bluetooth radios.
You can launch the manager by tapping its icon on the bottom
of the today screen, or by launching it from M-Desk or the
programs group. An x appears next to a radio that's turned
off, and you can tap the ubiquitous E-TEN hammer to turn all radios
on or off. You can't go directly from the Wireless Manager to the applets that control a given radio however, as you can on HTC devices like the Cingular 8525 and T-Mobile Dash. Instead you'll go to Programs and look inside the Utilities folder to find the Bluetooth Manager and WLAN Utility.
E-TEN uses their own Bluetooth Manager and driver which
feature a wizard interface to get you connected to Bluetooth
headsets, your ActiveSync partner, or to transfer files over
FTP/OBEX. The device supports headset, handsfree, A2DP and serial port profiles as well as vCard
exchange. You can set discoverability, default headset and specify the FTP folder on the device. We tested the M700 with a variety of Bluetooth headsets including the Plantronics Discovery 655 and the scala-700 and it worked well. We tested A2DP stereo output (and AVRC playback control) using the Plantronics Pulsar 590 Bluetooth stereo headset which worked fine for system sound and stereo audio. During pairing with headsets (all used the standard 0000 passcode) we didn't have to enter the passcode on the M700-- we assume it auto-tries 0000 when pairing headsets to save you the trouble. The same is true of the X500 which uses the same software as well as Bluetooth and WiFi radios. In file transfer tests, speeds averaged 90k which is more like straight Bluetooth 2.0 non-EDR speeds but still better than 1.1 and 1.2
The WiFi manager, called WLAN Utility, gives
you comprehensive information on your current connection and
offers power saving and Tx rate settings. It's a nice addition over the
basic Windows Mobile 5 networking control panel which provides
very little connection information. Connection strength and reliability were good and on par with the Cingular 8525 and HTC TyTN.
2 megapixels sounds good for a PDA phone, or even a regular US feature phone. As with the X500, there are plenty of pixels, but image quality isn't that great. Images suffer from excessive noise in indoor lighting and a general lack of color saturation in outdoor shots. Whites sometimes blow out for no apparent reason and color is sometimes off. The Glofiish M700's 2MP camera can't compare to the HTC TyTN /Cingular 8525's, and none compare to a good Nokia 2MP camera phone. Take note of our comments on the sample images below which were taken at the highest resolution and image quality settings with auto exposure and white balance.
Undersaturated but noise levels are good.
Indoor lighting, Sammy's white belly and chest have blown out even though lighting wasn't bright or harsh.
Noisy indoor shot, and the orchids are actually pink, not purple.
The camera can take photos up to 1600 x 1200 resolution, as well as a variety of lesser resolutions including one suitable for MMS. Imaging software is the usual excellent and unique E-TEN offering. The camera app offers a wealth of settings, including white balance,
special effects, timer and continuous shooting of photos (though the self-timer and continuous shot features were disabled on our production unit). The camera
viewfinder takes up the entire screen and you can change between
portrait and landscape orientation with the tap of a button.
you tap on the wrench icon, large, mostly intuitive settings icons
appear circling the screen's perimeter. The camera offers a wizard
option which allows you to immediately do a variety of things with
an image you've just taken: send it via MMS, edit it using the
included Image Maker application, trash it, view it in Multimedia
Manager or Frame it using Image Wizard. You can save images as JPEG or BMPs and specify the default save location, including the MicroSD card. The camera has 4x digital zoom that works even at maximum resolution (the volume controls act as the zoom buttons), and an LED flash that helps a wee bit when taking photos at close range. The M700 takes video in 3GP format at 320 x 240, 176 x 144 and 128 x 96 resolutions at an average of 4.4fps in normal quality mode at 176 x 144 resolution. Videos tend to be blocky and audio is just passable.
We love FM tuners, but they're still rare in US market phones. The M700's FM tuner supports the US, European and Japanese FM bands and you'll need to select the correct band to tune in stations. You can create a long list of favorite stations (50 per band), dim the screen and move from station to station using VCR-style buttons. As with all mobile phone FM radios, the included stereo headphones act as the FM antenna, so you'll need to plug those in to get reception. The Glofiish has OK reception by phone standards when skies are clear, and you'll have better luck manually stepping up the dial to tune in your stations. Just as with the X500, the station call numbers are off-- FM station 90.1 is read as 92.8 on the M700!
As always, E-TEN includes an impressive selection
of their own value-added software with the phone. The bundle is identical to the X500's (so we'll again share review copy) and nearly identical to the older M500, M600, G500 E-TEN models. Should you delete one and want it back, use the Application Recovery program in the Utilities folder.
E-TEN's applications include Add Ringtone, Backup Utility (backup to the device to a MicroSD card), Battery Meter, E-TEN's own Connection Wizard for Bluetooth, Voice Commander,
Phone Dialer, Image Maker, Image Wizard, M-Desk, Multimedia
Manager, Speed Dial, a customized phone application and dialer skin, GPS Viewer and Skype support.
M-Desk is an application launcher with tabs for Phone, PDA and Fun. Each tabbed
screen has icons for appropriate apps and you can customize
these with your preferred apps as well. The forth tab, System,
gives you fairly comprehensive view of system status: battery
charge, available RAM, and MicroSD card memory, backlight
setting and it has shortcuts to File
Explorer, Bluetooth Manager, Satellite data updater and Voice Commander settings. In addition, there are screen rotation icons
at the bottom which allow you to quickly switch between left
and right-handed landscape modes and portrait mode. You can add any program to any tab using M-Desk settings (press the wrench icon to get there).
The M-Desk application launcher
The M700 ships with Skype (VoIP) support (a utility that automatically pipes incoming Skype audio to the earpiece), but not the application itself. So you'll need to download the latest Windows Mobile version from Skype's web site if you wish to make VoIP calls over a WiFi connection. In our tests, Skype worked well with the M700.
The bundled backup app.
There's plenty of juice to power the Glofiish thanks to a 1530 mAh Lithium Ion battery that's user replaceable. A phone with WiFi, Bluetooth and a GPS needs some serious power, so we're pleased to see that relatively high capacity standard battery. We moderate use we got more than two days on a charge, and that included talking on the phone 40 minutes per day, surfing via EDGE for 30 minutes, using WiFi for 30 minutes, accessing PIM apps, listening to MP3s with the screen off and more each day. If you're a push email addict or plan to use WiFi for a few hours each day, expect to charge nightly. The GPS is a significant power consumer, and if you wish to use it in car for trips of several hours, we suggest a car charger. E-TEN claims the device will last through 5 to 7 hours of GPS use, but that includes no other usage as a phone or PDA. The M700 has a battery meter on the top menu bar and an indicator on the Today Screen-- good going E-TEN, why doesn't Microsoft make this a standard feature?
If you're a fan of the HTC Wizard design Windows Mobile Pocket PC phones but want an internal GPS, the Glofiish M700 is a tempting choice. It ups the ante with WiFi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0 and a 2MP camera, putting it on par with the newer Hermes line (HTC TyTN et al), and lacks only the TyTN's 3G capabilities. Though somewhat plain and plasticy in appearance, the M700 is solidly constructed and the slider is snug with a reassuring snap into open and closed positions. WiFi performs well, Bluetooth is good, though profile selection is slim compared to some recent Pocket PC phones. The M700 is definitely one of those everything except the kitchen sink devices, and happily most of it works well.
Pro: Fast performance, good battery life for a Pocket PC phone with quadruple wireless radios, very good keyboard, GPS is great at getting a fix even under adverse conditions. WiFi and Bluetooth will keep your device connected and the unlocked quad band world phone will keep you talking around the globe. As always, we really like E-TEN's custom suite of applications: they're very useful and stable.
Con: Plasticy looks, occasional spelling errors in E-TEN software on the device, included basic GPS applet gets location wrong by more than 10 miles (at least in the US) though the GPS itself is accurate when used with popular mapping and navigation applications. FM radio station numbers are off (again, at least in the US). No 3G.
Price: Approximately US $640
Web site: www.glofiish.com (and www.etencorp.com)
TFT color LCD. 65,536 colors, screen size diag:
Resolution: 240 x 320. Supports portrait and landscape
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 1530
mAh. Claimed Talk time: 5-7 hours, stand by: 150~200
hours. 10 - 15 hours of Pocket PC usage, 5-7 hours GPS usage claimed.
MHz Samsung S3C2442 processor (100% ARM and XScale
compatible). 64 MB built-in RAM.
128 MB Flash ROM with 69 megs available for your
use (pre-installed and optional software consumes an additional portion of available storage memory).
Size: 117.5 x 59 x 19.8 mm, 4.62" x 2.32" x 0.78".
Weight: 165 grams, 5.82 ounces.
in speaker, mic and 2.5mm stereo headphone jack.
Voice Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player 10
included for your MP3 and video pleasure. Stereo earbud headset with inline mic included.
band GSM phone: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz. GPRS class
10 EDGE and GPRS for data. Unlocked for use with any GSM carrier.
Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR and WiFi 802.11b/g. Bluetooth profiles for FTP, ActiveSync, headset/handsfree, A2DP, DUN (Bluetooth PAN) and serial port. No IR port.
GPS: SiRFStarIII GPS, internal antenna. Supports TMC where available. Basic GPS viewer with satellite view included. You must supply navigation and mapping software. Has location SMS software and Satellite data update (updates data over EDGE or WiFi connection).
MP CMOS camera capable of taking still
photos and video with audio. Max. resolution: 1600
x 1200 still shots and 320 x 240 video. Has LED flash and self portrait mirror.
Mobile 5 Pocket PC Phone Edition operating system with AKU 3.2 (OS 5.1.422).
Microsoft Mobile Office suite including Word,
Excel, PowerPoint (view presentations only), Internet
Explorer and Outlook. Also, Terminal Services, Pocket
MSN (MSN Messenger, Hotmail), Windows Media Player
10 Mobile, Photos and Videos, and Voice Recorder,
Solitaire, Jawbreaker as well as handwriting recognition.
3rd party and E-TEN software: M-Desk launcher and
system monitor, Image Maker, Image Wizard, Multimedia
Manager, Camera, Voice Commander,
E-TEN Bluetooth Manager, Backup, Wireless Modem,
MMS Composer (some regions only, otherwise use Outlook
on the device to send MMS), Call Filter, Speed Dial,
Battery Meter, SIM Toolkit, Scenarios (create profiles
for four different environments such as outdoor and
meeting). ActiveSync 4.1 and Outlook 2002 for PCs