REVIEW: MyPhone QW29 Duo
In today’s day and age, a WiFi connection is pretty much a must-have for anyone who is planning on purchasing a mobile phone. However for those with a limited budget, the choice is only limited to two branded models such as the Nokia C3 or the slightly more expensive Samsung Ch@t 335. Both of which are currently priced at around 5-6k php. But what if you only have a budget of below 5,000 php? Well, that’s where the brands such as MyPhone, Cherry, and Firefly comes into the table.
Even though I wasn’t able to find a single review on the internet, the brand of choice was not that hard for me to pick since Cherry has already received a ton of bad press lately and was even featured in the news for poor customer service and bad build-quality, while Firefly … well, even though I haven’t had the chance to get any user comment/review on the said brand, its price turned me off. Yes, a low price-tag isn’t always considered as a good thing. Especially when it’s almost 30% cheaper when compared to brands such as MyPhone.
Supported Networks: GSM / EDGE / GPRS Class 12 (Dual-Sim support)
Size: 116 x 63.2 x 12.3mm
Display: 2.4“ 320×240 pixels QVGA screen
Memory: Internal: 73.1mb / External: up to 8gb micro SD
Camera: 3 MP
Features: FM Radio, SMS, MMS, Email, IM, Bluetooth, WiFi
Cellphone Layout and Interface:
As what you can see on the photo above, the QW29 looks pretty much the same as any other QWERTY bar phones out on the market today. At the bottom of the screen you’ll see two round-silver shortcut buttons for MSN Live Messenger and Facebook which gives you easy and instant access to both program/website. I however found it a little bit odd that they opted to use a non-modifiable shortcut button for MSN instead of Yahoo Messenger when MSN is nowhere near YM’s popularity here in our country (and this is supposed to be a “pinoy” focused phone).
Sitting beside those two buttons are the Sim 1 and 2 switch, as well as the multi-purpose answer/menu, and end call/cancel/on-off button. Those buttons work with no issues with their primary function(s) but can be confusing when used as a menu/interface button. Unlike most phones where the button sitting directly below a particular option on the screen performs the specified task, with this phone, the button below it may or may not work depending where or what program you’re trying to use. For example, there are times wherein an “option” menu sits right below the sim 1 button but pressing on the said button won’t do anything because it’s the MSN (the silver shortcut on the left-side) button that’s linked to the said option. The same thing happens on the other side of the menu and so on. Moving around the menus isn’t as easy as one might think, but you’ll get the hang of it after awhile.
The center trackpad serves as a 4 way directional pad as well as a confirmation or “ok” button with most programs. Think of it as a touchpad on a laptop computer. It may look like a nice feature, but to be honest I would have preferred directional buttons since holding down on a particular key keeps the screen going on a particular direction, which is something that cannot be done with this trackpad. Scrolling-down on a lengthy website can be a pain as you continuously rub the pad trying to reach the bottom of a page. Luckily, the built-in browser enables you to quickly reach the other end of a website by bouncing up or down the page. For example, if you’re already at the bottom of a page and wants to go back at the top, you just have to scroll-down and the browser will bounce up the top of the page (and vice-versa).
The micro-USB port is situated at the bottom of the phone along with the 3.5mm earphone jack. While the speakers along with the camera lens sits right beside each other at the back of the phone.
The main-screen displays the usual signal-strength, battery meter, call-log and phonebook shortcuts along with the option to display the time (analog or digital), date, service provider, and WLAN name. Down at the bottom you have 6 non-modifiable shortcut icons for: options, messages, wifi, browser, camera, and opera mini.
Going to the option screen will display a ton of icons which I believe was intentionally done by the company to make the phone look like its got a lot of features on offer. However after checking most of the icons out, you’ll end up realizing that majority of the 30 shortcut icons are nothing but browser bookmarks. If they placed them on a shortcut named “Bookmarks”, the main menu would have been a lot easier to browse around with.
The phone’s interface is in no way comparable with the user-friendly menus such as the likes of Nokia. Heck, it’s not even as user-friendly as Samsung. Expect to press 1-3 more buttons just for you to reach a specific function.
The phone is capable of storing up to 1000 entries. It can save up to 3 phone numbers under a single name, plus a few extras like fax number, birthday, and email address. There are also a few built-in animations that can be used but can only be seen while the person with the said entry is giving you a call. You can customize further by using a user-specific ringtone as well as your own custom photo/avatar. The phone however just gives me an error that the picture that I’m trying to use is “too big”. It doesn’t say if it’s too big resolution or file size wise. Though it may be indicated on the users manual but I’m just too lazy to even bother reading it.
Internet / Chat / Email / SMS:
Since the QW29 is a WiFi phone, I’m sure you guys are interested how exactly it performs on 3 of the most common tasks such as browsing. Well I’m glad to say that the browser works well with most non-flash enabled websites. The texts however are quite big for my taste and I couldn’t find an option to make them smaller. If you’re going to use Facebook a lot then you might be disappointed with some of its flaws. First off, the option to upload a picture direct from the mobile site of Facebook is nowhere to be found. Photos are also at times displayed at a smaller size when compared to the list of preview thumbnails. And if you think that’s frustrating, trying to download the picture for a bigger view will prevent you from using the “back” button to quickly go back to the album and you’ll end up digging through the menu just for you to go back to the album to continue browsing. And if you’re planning on posting a lengthy status message, or any message for that matter … the phone limits you to a measly 120 characters!
On the other hand if you’re going to use the phone to chat with YM for example, then the application allows you to type in 199 characters per message which isn’t bad considering you can just type in another message when you run out of space. The chat program also enables you to set your status (busy, away, appear offline, etc), add emoticons, add contacts etc.
Sending an email using the browser limits you with the same 120 characters but, if you use the POP3 capability then you can type in a total of 4,096 characters which is good news if you’re going to use the phone for sending emails a lot. The phone is already pre-configured to send and receive emails via a gmail account. All you need to do is add your email address and password, and you’re already good to go.
Sending and receiving SMS is more or less the same as with other cellphones. I however find it frustrating that the phone doesn’t inform you who sent you a text message until you press of the “view” button. Which will not directly open up the text message, but will rather open up the inbox instead which will force you to press an additional button just so you’d be able to read the text message. Enabling the user to screen the message even before opening it has been a feature of even the cheapest of cellphones before, why it isn’t available on this particular brand/model is beyond me.
Considering the QW29′s affordable price, the list of features and the phone’s capability is quite impressive. The addition of a 3MP non-autofocus camera is quite nice. It has the capability of taking pictures as well as videos. The quality cannot be compared with branded phones but is a lot better when compared with china phones. You can also use the camera as a webcam when connected on a computer via USB, but since I haven’t tried using it, I’m not sure if it also captures your voice.
The FM radio works well and can be even placed to play on the background. There is an option to schedule and record FM stations. You can use the earphones (that comes with the package) or loudspeaker to listen to your favorite tunes. The sound quality is quite nice and there is not problem with the volume (with the loudspeaker at least).
There are a few other things like a basic image editor, and a message blocker which I haven’t tried yet but if it works as its name suggest … then it’s like a godsend to those who are being spammed via SMS by some random losers (yes, I hate ‘em too).
The phone allows you to install java programs such as UC Browser which is an excellent alternative to the phone’s built-in web browser. Problem here is that the phone doesn’t have the option to create a shortcut for the said program. You’re going to be forced to dig-in really deep through the menu to open up a 3rd party program which is simply frustrating. Minimizing the program seems to be the only way to somehow alleviate the said problem.
Battery life seems to be good for at least 2 days or even much longer than that if you keep the WiFi and/or Bluetooth turned off or only use it for sending/receiving text messages.
For a cellphone that is currently priced at 3,888php, I find it hard not to recommend this phone to anyone who is looking for a cheap all-in-one solution. One should be however aware of its browser issues such as the lack of flash support and 120 character limitation. The non-streamlined main menu and confusing function buttons can also be a turn-off to some users. It’s physically on the thin side, it’s light, doesn’t look cheap at all and comes in 3 colors (silver, red, and black). Other than that, its capability to enable the users to browse the net, chat (MSN, YM, GTalk), and send emails while also allowing them to listen to music via MP3 and FM radio, as well as take pictures and videos makes this an attractive and affordable cellphone that is worth checking out.