Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Torque DTV100

I just got hold of a new mobile phone unit from a new player in the local market – Torque. It’s a local brand and most of their phones are sourced from China. The model that I have is the DTV 100, it’s a dual sim (standby only) with a built-in TV and FM radio.

Before we go into the details of the unit, let me give you a brief on dual sim phones for those who are new to this.  There are 2 types of dual sim, the dual active and dual standby.  Most of the dual sim phone models that were released in the market a few years back are mostly dual standby, which means that while you are using one line, you cannot receive any calls or sms messages on the other line.  For the dual active, both sims are working at the same time. You can receive another call on the line (just like call waiting) and receive it at the same time (just like conference call, though some models only work if it’s within the same network). This holds true also with your text messages. 

Now going back to the DTV 100, the packaging is quite attractive if you’ll compare it to the other brands in the market, you can’t help but notice that the box is somewhat similar to the iPhone.  
The DTV 100 unit is quite sleek with its black thin casing, I just got disoriented with its keyboard layout. Half of the keyboard is for the menu and function keys and the other half is the numeric keys. The keys are small enough not to accidentally press the other keys but if you have large fingers, this is not the phone for you.  It might take you some time to get used to this kind of keyboard layout especially if you’re used to doing other things at the same time while using your phone.
The interface takes time getting used to especially if you’re setting up the phone for the first time. Though it has several user profile settings which you can program based on your type of mood for the day.  The response time of its function keys is quite fast compared to the other brands but going through the several features of the phone is quite bothersome since you have to go through to a lot of commands just to confirm a function. Take for example send an sms, it will take you an average of 8 presses just to send a message. It’s sms inbox has a separate folder so you have to go through a few folders just to check on your inbox items.

The TV function is basic but very useful especially when you need to check on your latest local shows. Watched the funeral procession of Pres. Cory Aquino from LSGH to the Manila Cathedral last week on the phone the whole time. It’s a good thing had the phone fully charged that morning. The TV mode uses a lot of power from the battery.  Be sure to have the charger always on hand. It has a dedicated TV key on the keyboard so going to the TV function is just one press away. The signal depends on your location, but I noticed that it’s easy to get a good reception from QTV and Net 25 anywhere I go.  It also has a landscape view where you can watch on the whole 2.4” screen of the phone. The antenna is a bit tad, using the old style retractable stainless type that you see in old transistor types of radio in the past. The DTV 100 is also equipped with a micro SD expandable memory where you can store and watch your videos through your supplied earphones. But if you are into high fidelity sounds, replacing the stock earphones may not be that easy since the DTV 100 uses only a mini-usb type of jack for everything aside from the earphones, this goes the same for charging and file transfer (aside from Bluetooth). The radio function also has a dedicated key on the unique keyboard layout.
Transferring your contacts from your old phone may be a bit problematic. You can only transfer your address book via your sim card and Bluetooth (one at a time!). But according to the manufacturer, they are already developing a third party application where you can extract your address book either from outlook (for pocket pcs) and other formats from your Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. This will be available thru download from their site at in the coming months.

The built-in 1.3 MP camera is very basic. Actually most phones right now have either at least 5 MP in their arsenal, so don’t expect anything with this camera.

Overall, the DTV 100 is a nice weekend phone where you can store your entire address book (1000 phonebook entries) from your 2 lines and just bring one phone anywhere.  Features are basic with the extra TV feature (not HD though) but it keeps you entertained. And for the price of the DTV 100, P 5,499.00, very reasonable compared to the other branded phones with the same features. 

Light and Portable

Gadgets are becoming even smaller with manufacturers finding ways to create smaller components giving the word “handy or portable” a new meaning. Take for example Torque’s latest product, the ES-5HD, one of the smallest HD video camera in the local market.  It claims to have an 11 megapixel maximum still resolution for its digital camera while for its High Definition video recording, a maximum of 720p/30 frames per second. The ES-5HD has a 64MB internal memory with an expandable storage up to 16Gb SD card slot.  I only have a 1Gb SD card that usually give me about 25 to 30 minutes of HD videos, for the D1 video resolution (PAL/NTSC), it will give you about a little bit over an hour worth of videos.
Aside from the usual Audio Video jack output, the Torque ES-5HD is equipped with HDMI for those who want to directly show their videos on their LCD screens at home. With its small size of about 100 x 57 x 17.9 mm, it easily fits the palm of your hand or in your shirt pocket. It’s almost the size of a regular pocket pc phone.  Video quality is quite good if you compare versus the camera phones.  But with its very portable size, video output seems to be a bit shaky. Not recommended for those suffering from trembling or “pasmado” hands. But there is a built-in stabilizer, the drawback using this feature is that it disables the digital zoom feature.  Having that trusty tripod at hand will greatly improve your shots.  
This is also useful on “spy” missions due to its very compact size.
Also the function buttons and the jack outputs are all located  on one side of the camera, easy for those who have petite and cute fingers. 
Picture resolution is good especially for outdoor shots. But for low light conditions, it just gives you dark or sometimes blurry pictures even with the use of the built-in flash. Video output is relatively good both for outdoor and low light conditions. Turning on the night mode function improves it a little bit except if you are shooting moving objects. 

Sample outdoor shot taken from the ES 5HD during one of our out of town trips.
Color registration is quite good

It also has a motion detect function useful for monitoring purposes. It stops recording when it doesn’t detect movement anymore. Perfect to spy on your nanny and kids if you are always in the office. 

The ES 5HD can also function  as a Web Cam so need to buy and upgrade from your  Winnie the Pooh web cams if you have this camera.  It also boasts its music player capabilities but it can only play mp3 files. Sound quality is average using the stock earphones, though you can use your iPod earphones for improve music experience.

For the price of the ES 5HD at P4,999.00, not bad with all the features you get in just one small gadget .  Though not recommended for the discerning photo enthusiasts or videographer, but very useful for your everyday use.  

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Porsche Mobile Phone

A subsidiary of Porsche car maker, Porsche Design, has recently unveiled the new P'9522 Black Edition Mobile Phone. Available only in Singapore as of this writing, but according to Sagem Wireless, the manufacturer of the P'9522, it will next be available in Hongkong, China, Dubai, Germany and Russia.  No announcement yet if it would be available locally considering the very few owners of the premium car brand in the Philippines.
This unit will only be available to Porsche car owners, sorry to those gadget freaks out there who might be eyeing getting a hold of this one.  Unless you can buy a Porsche, maybe you can get hold one of these very limited model - only 1,600 units will be manufactured with a price tag of US$ 1,650.00 per unit. The P'9522 is available only in black anodized aluminum and black mineral glass, with the material alone, it looks very expensive. One of the most notable features of this phone is its Biometric Fingerprint Sensor technology - you can only use the phone if it recognizes your fingerprint. I just don't know if it can also start your Porsche using this phone - James Bond style.

The P'9522 is a quadband phone, it also has bluetooth, WIFI, a 2.8" WQVGA AMOLED display, GPS, and a 5 megapixel camera.
So if you're planning to upgrade both your car and mobile phone, maybe you can consider this latest offering from Porsche Design in the next few months and become one of the few owners of the P'9522.