All 36 entries tagged 3G

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December 29, 2009

Sony Ericsson C905 Long Term Review


I waited ages for the Sony Ericsson C905 in 2008. It was just what I needed, a phone that could handle many features, but is not a smart-phone. I still wanted a xenon flash to replace my trusty K800i that served well for 2 years. A xenon flash is undeniably useful. It allows you to be there to take something that only a regular camera could have. The K800i ran all the apps I wanted to: OperaMini to google maps to a trading platform. The addition of WiFi, HSDPA and GPS in the C905 was very welcome. Despite my previous abhorence to the 3 UK network I decided to return because it was the only network that had Skype available, and plus it is now managed by a reputable telecoms firm.

So after about a year how has it faired?

The camera with xenon flash has been brilliant - with red eye reduction on it is capable of three successive bursts. Only gripe is the colours on any daylight photos are a bit washed out. Everytime I take a picture it produces a 1MB file which I just right click and email or upload online. It has followed me around the world allowing me to capture important moments such as visiting the Acropolis and socialising with great people in Mexico.

Most days when I wake up, BBC's World Business Report show is unavailable on computer at 7am, so I just use the phone to stream the show over HSDPA to catch up on the news. One time I found myself on the train to London watching the Wimbledon final. The other commuters were hunched over my little screen.

I like how on the phone each java application can be set permissions for whether it is allowed to use mobile network and/or WiFi. This has been useful for ensuring the mobile network's Skype application continue to work whilst hooked on to WiFi. I have noticed a few issues (probably with earlier SW versions) where on WiFi emails can't be sent/received unless when your phone's on a non-home network. This can be solved by allowing connections to "Any Network." Not an issue for me, but might affect some people.

The GPS doesn't work too well in built up areas, even with assistance (where the local mobile basestation provides which satellites can be reached from the area). If you're in an empty field you can get lock without assistance but then you might be waiting anything between 30seconds or 30 minutes. I find googlemaps works better without GPS enabled. When the GPS does work, you can use it from log your running regieme to turn-by-turn road mapping with Wayfinder. Wayfinder (subscription needed) did work well on a quick drive to Wales and it even tracked my progress for reviewing later in Google Earth.

Battery life is ok. When I use it (with gmail, operamini and skype open all day), I use just over 50% each day which means a daily charge is needed. When I leave it alone on HSDPA network, it lasts 2-3 days on standby. Unfortunately my operator has locked out the 3G/2G switch for commercial reasons.

The phone reboots every now and then, but then again I am stressing it by running three java applications simultaneously all the time. I wanted the simplicity of the basic Sony Ericsson OS but I think I have now reached the limits of non-smartphones. So to conclude the phone has been very good for the past year. Great travel companion, WiFi allows hooking on to local cafes to send your emails and allowed me to capture moments I might otherwise have missed. Next phone may be an LTE Android though!

February 11, 2008

I. want. one.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

Just when I thought deciding between the Asus EEEEEEEEE PC and the HTC TyTN II (aka O2 xDA Stellar aka T-Mobile mDA Vario III) was difficult enough, there's now another one to add to the mix. I want that shiny thing pictured above. Looks like SEM have done the wise thing and dumped the rubbish Symbian OS and are installing Windows Mobile instead. Copying the HTC angle-sliding screen design, should be a hit. The only problem is its only got HSDPA but no wi-fi (according to the spec sheet) (update: it does have wifi!). It will probably out at the end of the year - hopefully when I'll have some money to afford one!

More Info on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1

February 07, 2008

Internet first, voice second

I have notice a huge flaw with my phone. Supposedly, the best thing about 3G is that you can be on the internet and have a phone call at the same time. Unlike 2.5G GPRS which is like a V.92 dial-up in terms of low bandwidth and (lack of) connection permenancy - you can't receive calls when you're actively on the internet.

On my SEM K800i I find that even with 3G good reception, I get awful call quality, because it can't handle a switch-circuit voice call and data at the same time. It keeps dropping a lot of downstream switched-circuit voice data - and I can't hear a damn thing. This means I have had to stop using push email (which maintains a permenant internet connection to the email server). I have no idea whether this limitation is due to the phone itself or UMTS technology. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

November 30, 2007


Ultra Mobile Personal Computers are really good. Chris has a Samsung Q1 Ultra with an OEM HSDPA card making it a very portable computer / a very large phone.

Using the UMPC to use LogMeIn to remote desktop to my home PC

The 7" screen is good enough for general surfing, reading and note taking. What really surprises is the fact that the 800MHz processor with 2GB RAM is enough to run Vista Aero interface. And its not sluggish either. I managed to use LogMeIn to remotely connect to my home desktop over HSDPA without any trouble at all. Despite the sluggish ping time of 130ms and slower 1Mbps sync speed (up to 6.3Mbps in T-Mobile UK Nov-2007), the response was really good and totally useable. MSN webcam video call struggled a bit at 2fps though.

I'm now thinking about getting the Asus EEE PC when the 8GB version comes out. I can't find a decent smart phone and this mini-laptop is a bargain at £220 RRP for what it does. It would pair up nicely with my old K800i (no HSDPA though).

November 26, 2007

Bypassing T–Mobile Image Proxy

Writing about web page

T-Mobile UK Web 'n' Walk is a nice and speedy service. Chris has said he's seen it sync at 6.3Mbps. Another reason it is so fast (besides HSDPA connection) is the fact T-Mobile have a transparent image proxy that compresses all images until they are really really small and subsequently really really awful in image quality. This is fine for adverts, banners and picture titles and phone browsing, but starts to get annoying when you're using it on a UMPC or laptop or PC.

The simple fix is pressing CTRL+F5 to force a non-cached refresh. Fortunately there is a way of modifying the headers permenantly using a simple add-on for Mozilla Firefox as discovered and documented in this awesome guide.

Unfortunately I haven't found a way of modifying headers in IE yet.

November 21, 2007

LG Viewty

Not a bad phone, but not a great phone either. Its basically the prada phone in 3G with a newer camera. There's some promotion going around campus whereby you can borrow one for a few hours - so I took them up on that. I was immediately impressed with the HSDPA connection (primarily because I've never used one before). Loading clipped webpages at 3.6Mbps was certainly fast. The camera is 5MP and is ok. It has some very high ISO operating values (but obviously a lot of noise too). Overall its quite well specc'd. The problem was the interface, the touch screen wasn't as sensitive as say the iPhone, and iChris said the handwriting recognition was much slower than his old Sony Ericsson W950i.

I guess with a little bit of familiarisation, the Viewity would be good to use. I recommend trying it out to see if you can live with it before committing to it.

iPhone memo taken on a LG Viewity

October 12, 2007

Web 'n' Walk

This year I did something really different: I did not upgrade my phone! Seeing that the SEM K800i has served pretty well I decided what I really wanted was a web tariff more than a new phone. Enter T-Mobile's web 'n' walk. I'm on the basic plan which means I get 1GB per month. I am only allowed to use http and email and only on my phone (no IM, no connecting to computers - unless you upgrade to web 'n' walk plus). It turns out my normal use is about 35MB per month. Its really hard to use any more than that on a phone.

I do the odd bit of web browsing during breakfast etc, and the phone is generally set to retrieve emails regularly. I can use push email which means I get my emails viagra spam as instantaneous as I would get a text, but it eats up the battery monstrously because its permenantly connected to the mail server. A 5min check interval does do the job just as well and saves a bit more battery power. I personally think that emails shouldn't come that quickly. They should be every 15mins, but there's no option between 5 and 30mins on the K800i.

The Nokias (such as the N90 I borrowed) allowed you to set email checking to be only active during certain hours (e.g. 07:00-23:00). Useful, because I really read emails when I'm asleep.

I managed to get the 12 month contract on a wonderful 10 months free deal, which means it really is a steal. I can upgrade to web 'n' walk plus (3GB) tariff to use as internet access on my PC when (not if) university resnet screws up. Its a nice backup to have. Problem is, UMTS 3G is actually a bit sluggish. Max download speed is 384kbps and ping times on T-Mobile are 130ms. Speed is fine for phone browsing, but if you're doing more, you'll need a phone or datacard that supports HSDPA (1.8/3.6/7.2 Mbps).  Currently got my eye on a K850i. Tempting...

More to come next month when we laugh at Chris for buying an iPhone...

May 15, 2007

Just in case you didn't know

Writing about web page

If you've got an O2 contract and a 3G phone. You can use your free voice minute credits to make free video calls until 27th September 2007.

Ever wondered what video calling is actually like? 

Last time I video called Ivan (who was in a bar) it took me 3 minutes to work out his location because of the poor pixellated image and because the background noise coming through the speakerphone made conversation impossible. Sign language and visual aids were useful though. Another time we had a bit of fun using the video phones as a rear view mirror for his car, when we were bored and stuck in traffic. He planted his W880 in the steering wheel and I popped my K800 on the parcel shelf.

But generally no one I know ever answers video calls because they are self-concious. Ooo don't forget to put makeup on before answering the phone...

November 23, 2006

Comms Overload

(“Phone Wang” is a pre-emptive warning that I will be talking about phones, you may look away now)

mDA and xDAChris P this week became the first person in the world to carry two PDA phones: his outgoing xDA and his new T-Mobile wenched mDA Vario II. Obviously the new one is faster at 400MHz and because of its conventional design, it means he can answer the phone without needing to spin the screen round 180degrees.

He has the T-Mobile Web ‘n’ Walk plus tariff which means he’s on the internet constantly (unlike O2’s £2.35/megabyte) and signed into MSN constantly. This is a very strange concept, as it will mean that instead of SMS, IM can be used. Despite our efforts to take the mickey out of T-Mobile, it seems that the signal in 2G and 3G is very good round here in Warwickshire and the only decent data tariffs (their plus package is 3GB).

I researched for a MSN client and it seems that have java clients for pretty much all phones. I got one for my Sony Ericsson K800i and it works fine (there are nokia clients too). It seems the data rates are fairly small, but I still don’t reckon anyone could use it economically unless they are on a data tariff. But its there if you want it. Might be useful for those communicating with friends when abroad for long periods? Just letting you know it exists.

August 31, 2006

Goodbye 3–Nobile

Time to bore you with more phone related rubbish – you’ve obviously been missing this fix for a while! Cue: run away as fast as you can

Ah! I’m finally free from the shackles of the 3 Mobile 12-month contract from hell. I have been cut off once in the last month not paying the £280 phone bill I wasn’t even liable for. I think eventually after settlements and goodwill, the contract didn’t cost me very much at all (but soooo not worth the hassle). The lowest points were: waiting 72 days for a working sim-card. Being charged for all my calls, and paying 2 line rentals for one phone line. And the phone needed to be replaced twice (Sony Ericsson’s 2nd 3G phone was a bit dodgy), but on the whole the K608 served well.

So despite 3’s efforts to provide me with more goodwill, new phone and 12months half price line rental, I stuck to my morals and left that sinking ship (plus they’re going on Orange for GSM in the next year), and joined O2. Obviously O2 have got their problems too, but my other (“wenchboy”) contract I’ve had with them has been fine, International Traveller Service (ITS) is very useful for any international calls/texts and I’ve got a Sony Ericsson K800 on it. To be honest, there weren’t many decent phones around, I was hoping for the K610, but it was too much like my last phone and its become obsolete already after 2 months! Phones down the line coming up are the lovely Walkman W850 and the cool Z610 flip, but “coming soon” could mean a matter of 3-6 months, so I settled for the K800 and its 3.2MP camera – nice to have something smaller than my Canon SLR to take out, and it has a proper flash! Nice screen, fast processor, nice browser, my only grip is the weight and bulky size of it. I think I shall nickname it “fatboy”. Music player is nice, will become full-on-mp3-player when the 2GB cards come down in price. So its pretty good being a videophone, MP3 player and 3.2MP camera in one. So I guess living with “fatboy” in the year ahead should be good.

Problems so far: the first charger it came with was a duff one, the guys in CPW Angel aren’t very knowledgable – tried to blame the simcard for a charging problem… okay… I guess its annoying going to shops where you probably know more about the products/till than the people working there. Hopefully this is the last time I will ever have to bore people about phones!


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