O2 Graphite

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O2 Graphite
  • O2 Graphite
  • O2 Graphite
  • O2 Graphite

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight with full smart phone functionality, wireless connectivity

Cons

  • No keyboard and no touch screen resulting in cumbersome navigation

Bottom Line

The Graphite is suitable for those looking for the footprint of a regular mobile phone with the functionality of a smart phone. However, this compromise in design results in not being able to use the smart features to their full potential.

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The O2 Graphite provides everything we've come to expect in a fully featured smartphone and O2 have managed to fit all of these features into a compact and lightweight candy bar design. Operating in a Windows Mobile 5.0 environment, the Graphite offers Bluetooth and 11 Mb/s wireless support for accessing the internet and email from almost any wireless hotspot. The 3G enabled Graphite allows for video calling on the large 2.2in display and includes a 2.0 megapixel camera.

Features

The Graphite's small 109.5mm x46.9mm x18mm footprint is a welcome departure from the more bulky smart phones, but this doesn't mean it can't do everything that the larger models do. Its wireless connectivity allows for web surfing or email in almost any WiFi hotspot. Common email attachments such as Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets and PDFs can all be viewed using preloaded viewer software making the Graphite useful for business users on the move. Of course, the Graphite includes the range of applications that come standard with Windows Mobile 5, including Pocket Outlook, Calendar, Contacts, Internet Explorer Mobile Windows Media Player, ActiveSync, Pocket MSN, Calculator and Games.

Running all of this software simultaneously does not slow down the Graphite thanks to its Intel XScale PXA 270 416MHz processor. This fast processor also ensures that getting around the menu system isn't a time consuming chore. Although it can take a couple of seconds to load a program, once it's running the software hums along without a hitch. The 64Mb of RAM also helps to juggle multitasking.

Fitted with 128MB of flash memory, the Graphite can store user files including music and video, which may be viewed using Windows Media Player Mobile. However, much of this storage space is consumed by the OS and other preloaded software so even small music collections will require the use of the microSD slot. Unfortunately, you'll have to remove the battery in order to access the microSD slot which could prove tiring if you have multiple cards.

The Graphite's 2.0 Megapixel camera takes reasonable photos and the inclusion of an LED flash means the camera may be used in low lighting conditions. Other features of the camera include a 2x zoom, burst mode for taking consecutive pictures, self timer and effects such as black & white, negative and sepia. The dedicated shutter button on the side of the unit avoids fiddling with the handset control buttons while taking photos. Low resolution videos may be recorded with sound thanks to the integrated microphone.

Sound quality is excellent from both the hands-free speaker phone and the earpiece and this quality extends to your multimedia listening.

Design

Weighing just 105g, the compact Graphite exudes an overall sleekness encased in matt black and silver plastic. The large 2.2in TFT LCD displays 65, 000 colours at a vivid 320x240 resolution and the screen is clearly visible in sunlight. The base of the unit houses a mini-USB port and a headphone jack for listening to music and making hands-free calls.

The control interface arrangement is simple, comprising of a numerical keypad, a five-way navigational stick, two selection keys, a back button, a home key, as well as dial and hang up keys. This simplicity is both the Graphite's strength and weakness. Keeping it simple maintains the easy to use functionality and compact size of a regular mobile phone but also limits the use of the many smart features. Navigating the internet or trawling through a lengthy document quickly becomes tiresome using the small five-way navigational stick and writing emails or chatting using Pocket MSN is similarly cumbersome using the numerical keypad as a keyboard. These problems could have been avoided had the unit included a touch screen and stylus like many other smart phones on the market.

The Graphite claims a battery life of up to four hours talk time and 200 hours of standby time, although in practice users will need to charge their phone daily if they plan to fully exploit the Graphite's portable multimedia and smart features.

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