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Check out these new MP3 phones
Priyanka Joshi | November 25, 2005
Though the new lot of MP3 phones also suffer from the limited memory problem that plagues the older models, their looks are great.
If design was the only criterion as far as mobiles go, BenQ's Z2 would be the top scorer. The square Qube (called that for obvious reasons) catches your fancy immediately, and at 66 x 66 x 20.7 mm, it fits snugly into your palm.
Since the model has six equaliser modes, 3D sound and an integrated FM-tuner as well, it's a pleasure to listen to. And, at 106 grams, it's pretty light as well. A big plus is that it supports both the MP3 and the Apple AAC format.
But the problem is the limited storage space, as with most MP3 phones nowadays. A 58-MB memory is good enough for just around 15 songs, and so the additional 64 MB miniSD card that comes along for free is a must. Any addition beyond this has to be paid for and you can get cards with up to 1 GB memory - this can cost about Rs 2,000 more.
The phonebook can hold up to 500 entries. The Qube can support MMS and has a built-in handsfree (stereo phone). There is also a 1.3-megapixel camera complete with a 4x digital zoom-in QVGA/VGA/128x128 preview mode. The disappointing bit is the 1.5" 262 k colour TFT-LCD screen with 128 x 128 pixel resolution, which does not really do justice to the 1.3-megapixel camera.
The model will be available in India by first quarter of 2006 and you can choose from Vanilla White, Berry Blue, Wasabi Green and Bubblegum Pink. Currently, tagged at $375 (approximately Rs 16,875), BenQ might have to reconsider its price. BenQ officials here, however, are not certain of what the price will be in India.
LG's latest M4410 is another innovative model to talk about since it looks like a sports car sat down as a prop for the designers of the M4410. I was impressed by the high glossy two-tone colour in black and silver, dynamic and sleek sidelines and dual speakers that resemble headlights.
Taking the car theme a bit further, LG has added ringtones and message alerts that resemble an engine starting-up or a car horn. At 94 x 48 x 25 mm and 107 gm, the mobile is sleek enough to slip into your pocket without creating a bulge. The turn off for me was the plastic fibre body. A metallic case would have been a better option.
Loaded with a 1.3-megapixel camera, the lens is placed right at the centre of the front flip. The mini-LCD at the front is sufficient for MP3 usage (complete with playback keys for some quick music), pretty much the same way as the LG F1200.
The front LCD measures 128x128 pixels and is capable of 65,536 colours. The main LCD is a 262-k colour 176 x 220-pixel display. This again is an upgrade from the F1200 handset, which has 96 x 96 pixels. By contrast, a lot of low-end handsets have a 128 x 128-pixel LCD as their main display!
The video is a slight let down - you can record only up to 30 seconds of video and that too without any sound. A 64 MB free mini-SD card can take care of the users' memory needs and I would say that you will need it since M4410 comes with only 8 MB of shared memory.
The phone has an MP3 and AAC player for entertainment that sounds good on the 3D sound that the LG M4410 boasts of. LG's earlier T5100 also comes with a similar music experience.
Since the tri-band GSM phone is EDGE-enabled, services like MMS or downloads from the net are a real pleasure. Though the company claims speeds of 177 kbps, I managed to get 100 kbps using my EDGE-enabled Hutch SIM card - it's a much lower 32-48 kbps on the normal GPRS. The M4410 supports Java applications and games, and has a USB port for quick transfer of files and synchronisation.
Other features the M4410 includes are a WAP 2.0-compliant browser, GPRS data, bluetooth, T9 predictive text, and 40 polyphonic (in-built) ringtones. The handset is priced at Rs 17,990, which I feel is reasonable for this beauty. A must have for mobile enthusiasts!
Talking of designs, the tri-band Haier Pen Phone is sized and shaped to resemble a pen, and can even be clipped to your pocket in exactly the way a pen is. Apart from its unusual looks, the P7 comes with a TFT colour screen - a 65-K coloured 128 x 64 LCD, VGA camera, messaging, a dictaphone and the standard mobile goodies one has come to expect (games, polyphonic ringtones, WAP 2.0, and so on).
Menus can be accessed through the mobile's joystick and directional pad. Currently priced at $350 (approximately Rs 15,750) the mobile might be little overpriced, even if weighed against its innovative design.