O2 Xda Atom

O2 Xda Atom

Summary: It has Wi-Fi, a 2-megapixel camera and runs on Windows Mobile 5.0, yet shares the same dimensions as the Xda II Mini. Find out what the hype on the Xda Atom is all about.

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The Xda Atom has Wi-Fi, a 2-megapixel camera and runs on Windows Mobile 5.0, yet shares the same dimensions as the Xda II Mini.

Design
O2's Xda II Mini has been one of the most popular phones reviewed, so we were especially keen to get our hands on its successor, the O2 Xda Atom. At first, visually speaking, it's hard to obviously tell the two apart, save for the obvious switch from a silver style scheme to an all-black one. The Atom is marginally smaller than the Xda II Mini at 102 x 58 x 18.5mm versus the Mini's 108 x 58 x 18.1mm, but that's more of a paper measurement -- we'd challenge anyone picking up both phones to intuitively feel the size difference without putting them side to side.

Physical features are pretty much as per O2's standard take on smartphones, which means that you've got a small five way selector at the base of the phone, surrounded by call accept and decline buttons and dedicated buttons for the program Start function and the integrated O2 Media Plus application. The small stylus slots neatly into the top right of the phone, which also houses a MiniSD memory card slot and the phone's power button. The rear of the phone houses the Atom's 2-megapixel CMOS camera, as well as a strobe flash. The Atom's display is a 2.7" TFT LCD touchscreen with a top resolution of 240 x 320 pixels.

O2 Xda Atom Features
If you can't connect to something with the Xda Atom, you're really not trying. For a start, it's a tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE (GSM900/1800/1900) phone. Moving beyond simple mobile telephony, it's also Bluetooth capable and Wi-Fi capable, albeit only to 802.11b speeds. For the true relics amongst us, it's even IrDA compatible, although we're not sure anyone's using infrared to send anything via mobile in this day and age. There's an obvious battery hit to take into consideration for each and every one of these technology inclusions, they're still good to have as individual connection options.

On the PDA side, the Atom runs on the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 platform, which offers the usual suite of office compatibility tied into a PC running the ActiveSync application. Beyond spreadsheets and documents, the Atom also ships with O2's MediaPlus application, which gives an integrated approach to viewing multimedia content with a very distinct Windows Media Center-type feel; it'll play back music and video, display pictures and run the phone's inbuilt FM radio application from a simple tappable interface.

Performance
O2 warned us that the unit they were sending us for evaluation was a pre-production sample -- and we could hardly miss the splash screen that warned us of this fact every time we powered the phone up. This puts us in a tricky position to accurately gauge the Atom's true performance, as it's hard to say that any particular issue might not be solved via a future ROM upgrade. Still, many of our observations of the Atom's performance had less to do with issues that might be resolved with ROM changes, and more to do with the phone itself.

As with the Xda Mini, the biggest hit against the Atom is also the unit's biggest area of appeal, in that it's a very small smartphone, and you won't feel like you're holding a brick up against your ear every time you make a call. The downside of miniturisation in this case is that everything else -- interfaces, screen sizes and virtual keyboards -- is smaller too, making it a more challenging PDA than its fuller-sized cousins. It's less of an issue for jotting small notes, but if you need to send a long e-mailed response to a business query in a hurry, you may find yourself struggling.

The MediaPlus application is a smooth bit of software design -- or, if you're the conspiracy theory type, a neat bit of interface thievery -- but you'll either have to load files in via ActiveSync or via MiniSD card. The MiniSD card inclusion is a touch disappointing, as there's plenty of SD users out there, but many fewer with MiniSD cards outside of the mobile world.

O2 rates the Xda Atom as having a battery life of 150 hours standby and 5.5 hours talktime, although that's almost certainly a figure achieved with Bluetooth silenced and Wi-Fi switched off. In our testing we found the battery lasted around four days of moderate usage, although how much that was affected by the pre-production ROM in our test unit is impossible to say -- we did experience a few crashes in that time that could have preserved or even drained additional power.

The Xda II Mini was certainly a hit amongst our audience as it dominated the early months of the year when it came to choosing our top mobiles, and given that the Atom is essentially just a feature set upgrade and a coat of black paint on the same basic design, we see no reason why the Atom won't fare as well. If you're after a small smartphone, the Atom is a solid, albeit not exactly inexpensive choice.

O2 Xda Atom
Company: O2
Price: AU$1,233

Prices

There are currently no prices available for this product.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Mobility

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Talkback

104 comments
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  • missing keyboard

    I don't understand why the keyboard and GPS are not part of the Atom???
    anonymous
  • Keyboard / GPS

    Atom is made to be small, it will defeat the purpose of it, if it has a keyboard. About the GPS, I think Atom is not built for GPS functions.
    anonymous
  • Keyboard / GPS

    The mini pro about the same size has keyboard as well as the one of the Dopod model. I think keyboard is important for small pda phone as the on-screen keyboard is too small too difficult for entry purpose; moreover, the new window mobile 2005's landscape screen orientation allows keyboard that slide out from the side.

    GPS is good for navigation and can be a valuable tool.
    anonymous
  • What is the mobile reception of the Atom like?

    I currently use an O2 XDA II and am looking to upgrade to the Atom however, I'd like to know what the Atom's mobile phone reception is like. My XDA II reception is so annoying I now use it solely as a PDA and have my trusty Nokia handle the phone side of things. If the Atom's reception is the same I may as well just buy a PDA.

    Anyone able to confirm whether the Atom has good mobile reception or not?
    PetersWeb
  • What is the mobile reception of the Atom like?

    I currently use an O2 XDA II and am looking to upgrade to the Atom however, I'd like to know what the Atom's mobile phone reception is like. My XDA II reception is so annoying I now use it solely as a PDA and have my trusty Nokia handle the phone side of things. If the Atom's reception is the same I may as well just buy a PDA.

    Anyone able to confirm whether the Atom has good mobile reception or not?
    PetersWeb
  • xda atom review

    i just bought one...and all i can say is: disaster the speed is soooooooooo slow
    anonymous
  • Xda O2 Atom 2M camera??? Must be kidding!

    It cannot be, image is far from Sony K750i. Bluetooth??? cannot beam from photo album or file to another phone, not in selection.
    anonymous
  • Atom phone reception

    I am having difficulties in getting good reception. Once I have reception my calls get disconnected within 30 secs. Can't relay decent message to other side!
    anonymous
  • O2 XDA ATOM AND THE BOOK OF STORIES

    I was one of the first to get a 02 xda atom on the 24-12-05. I have been with optus for about a year ( just to let you know reception never has been a problem). With 02 XDA ATOM i have logged 17 support calls each for different problem. Its a Peice of SHIT thats made to fool people and rob money off of em. Not one feature in it is good.

    1. Phones reception doesnt work. It drops and goes operation failed and takes atleast about 35-50 seconds to reconnect.

    2. software is so slow. everything is slow and takes time.

    3. MMS opeartions is buggy.

    4. Phone goes to sleep mode and thats it u wont receive calls.

    5. phones is in active status and your calls get diverted to voice mail. u wont even see a missed call. its as if u got a phone thats turned off.

    6. every program u opened is in background and the previous option "running programs" from xda mini is no more. so you have to brwose thru menus to kill programs each time or better yet - microsoft asked me to buy SPB plus coz they reckon keeping the programs runnin in background is a option ( wot da.....)

    6. camera takes about 50 secodns to coem to foreground and takes grainiest pictures i ever saw.

    and the list goes on. if i were you i wouldnt get this phone every and would rather let every friend of yours know thats its not worth it.
    anonymous
  • O2 XDA Atom - Nothing but Problems

    I recently purchased O2XDA Atom and am disappointted with the following:

    1. The touch screen does not register when clicked on the first time. One needs to click on twice most of the times.
    2. Slow in opening any application. Take on average 5-15 seconds before the unit reacts.
    3. Volume on the bluetooth phone set (motorola) even when set to the max is low. Mobile function sucks.
    4. Constantly locks up and requires soft reset.
    5. Phone rings, there is a long delay between phone rings. Very easy to miss calls.

    I am seriously thinking of replacing this unit. I have in the past used iPaq and never had any of this problem.
    anonymous
  • You need at least ROM 20060105B1WWE

    The ROM level that the O2 Atom ships with (20051129B2) is terrible and makes the whole device useless.

    You need to upgrade to ROM 20060105B1WWE before this PDA/phone actually works (and it does work very well).
    anonymous
  • Re: Atom ROM update

    Thanks for the information.

    Will re-update again.

    Cheers!
    anonymous
  • for those who is considering, my advice is not to buy the o2 atom...

    problems:
    1. you have to tap a few time before you get a response.
    2. You tap something but it gives you other.
    3. Can not change the alarm clock sound. The default sound is too soft.
    4. The alarm clock as well as the alarm in the media plus either don't trigger or trigger at wrong time. I was late for work a few time because of this!
    4. It is slow.
    5. It turn on by itself for no reason.
    6. Screen went black out and requires reset.

    Conclusion: regret buying.
    anonymous
  • Rom upgrade

    I upgraded the firmware and still had problems with the ringing, shaking text, freezing (all intermittent). I returned the atom and went back to my xdaII. I'm willing to try again when next batch comes out if I don't find another pda with good reviews and same features elsewhere.
    anonymous
  • To buy or not to buy

    Considering buying an Atom adn stumbled along this thread. Wow! So many problems.

    Is it as simple as upgrading the firmware as you've flagged.

    OR is the problem bigger?

    Now considering the Dopod with the slide-out keyboard..
    anonymous
  • Upgrade ROM

    How do I do what you have commented on here with my Atom phone? And how do I find out which ROM i currently have?
    anonymous
  • Using wifi

    Does anyone know how to setup teh Wifi function on the atom? I have ADSL connection at home and at work, but I can't seem to get the wifi working
    anonymous
  • Reception Problems

    I have an O2 and use different sim cards in it. I find that if I use optus, I miss calls, etc... But If I use Telstra, I never have a problem. Dont know why, I think it must be the settings optus have for the phone in sleep mode.
    anonymous
  • 02 Atom Camera

    Ths is the most crap 2mp camera I have seen. Is there a software upgrade available?
    anonymous
  • Atom's reception

    I'm in China. I changed a of sim cards from city to city. The reception is very good and i even ask to people i talk if how do i sound and it's pretty satisfying that nobody's complaining. I do experience bad lines but that is due to network not with Atom. Overall performance is very satisfying.
    anonymous