Sendo X: a first look

The UK’s very own mobile phone manufacturer has launched its much-delayed smartphone. Here are our initial impressions.

At the official launch of Sendo’s new Symbian smartphone, the Sendo X, the actual product was in short supply. Although review models aren’t expected until later in December, we managed to sneak ten minutes with one of the closely-guarded demonstration units at the launch.

Sendo X: due in mid-December, pricing and network operators to be announced.
The phone is light (120g) yet solidly constructed, and does not disgrace itself alongside the Nokia and Sony Ericsson competition. The VGA-resolution camera worked in low light conditions, but the promised ‘flash’ turned out to be a white LED illuminator. A hyper-bright one, to be sure, but these produce much less light than the normal xenon flash tubes in cameras and the Sendo X’s light seemed to have a range of a metre or so. The user interface is where smartphones live or die. The Sendo X is designed to be very highly configurable by network operators, so the default one we saw may not be what many users get. There’s the usual screenful of icons representing programs and services, and navigation is by a four-way cursor ring with a central button. Although this stands proud of the ring and looks like a miniature joystick, it’s just a button. This is confusing if you’re used to other thumb navigation systems. The constant status line at the top of the display is very helpful, maintaining the phone’s usability even when you’re burrowing deep into an application. The Sendo X is a tri-band GSM/GPRS Class 8 phone running Symbian OS / Series 60 with Sendo enhancements. Talk time is 4-7 hours and standby time 100-170 hours, according to Sendo. The 16-bit TFT screen measures 176 by 220 pixels, the processor is a 120MHz ARM unit with 64MB of RAM (32MB available), it plays MP3s and polyphonic ring tones, it synchronises PIM and email data with your PC, and does SMS, MMS and email (IMAP, POP3 and SMTP). It’ll even view a variety of PC document formats (Word, Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, ZIP and others) and has built-in Bluetooth, infrared and USB connectivity. As the phone’s feature list indicates, there’s a great deal to say about the Sendo X, and we look forward to bringing you a full review in due course.