E-TEN Glofiish M700

  • Editors' rating
    7.5 Very good

Pros

  • Slide-out keyboard
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • GPS receiver
  • FM radio

Cons

  • Lacks 3G connectivity
  • Expensive without an operator subsidy
  • Relatively bulky and heavy

E-TEN does not get a huge amount of publicity in the UK, partly because its devices are only available SIM-free and therefore without network operator subsidy. However, the company does push the Pocket PC format to its limit, as the oddly named but feature-packed Glofiish M700 shows. Our review sample came from Clove Technology.

Design
The Glofiish M700, which comes clad in silver and grey plastic, does not look as sleek some other Pocket PCs. It weighs a relatively hefty 165g and measures 117.5mm tall by 59mm wide by a generous 19.8mm thick.

The reason for the M700's thickness of is that it's made in two sections. The top and bottom slide away from each other along the long left edge to reveal a keyboard. In this, it resembles HTC’s TyTN and P4350.

The M700's keyboard lacks a number row and the keys occupy the full available height and most of the available width, so they are as large as they can be at 9mm wide by 6mm tall. These dimensions are the same as the HTC P4350’s keys, in fact. A numberpad is embedded into some of the qwerty keys and the remaining keys offer characters and functions. All are accessed via a function key at the bottom left of the keyboard.

Clearly this keyboard is not suitable for touchtyping. However, it's OK for prodding with a finger while the device is sitting on a desk, or for thumb-driven operation with the device held between both hands. Anyone who needs to create a lot of emails, edit documents or produce a lot of SMS messages may find it more useful than any of Windows Mobile's touch-screen-based entry methods.

With the keyboard out of sight you're left with the touch-screen and the buttons surrounding the screen and on the sides of the device. The left-hand side houses volume buttons and one that, on a long press, activates the Windows Mobile voice notes software and on a short press starts the device’s voice control software. There's also a 2.5mm headphone jack here.

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The right side houses the power button and a camera control button. The top is clear, while the bottom carries the mini-USB power/PC connectivity connector and a microSD card slot.

The buttons above the screen offer quick access to the Windows Mobile Today screen and the built-in GPS receiver, while two softmenu buttons, plus the Call and End buttons, sit beneath the screen. Between them is a navigation key whose central select button is possibly the most flimsy we’ve ever seen. The central button has a surround that glows turquoise when any front or side button is pressed; the same glow is applied to the keyboard when it's in use.

The screen itself is a standard 240-by-320-pixel, 16-bit-colour TFT touch-screen measuring 2.8in. from corner to corner. It looks a little lost in its surroundings, but that's because the M700 is unusually tall rather than because the screen is in any way undersized.

The stylus, which sits in a slot at the bottom right corner, is a little on the small and light side, and we found it poorly weighted for serious use.

The Glofiish M700 comes with a USB cable for PC connectivity, a stereo headset, a printed quickstart guide, a screen protector and a belt-clip style protective case.

Features
The Glofiish M700 runs Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition and is powered by a Samsung SC3 2442 processor running at 400MHz. It has 128MB of ROM and 64MB of SDRAM. After a hard reset, our review device reported 52MB of free storage. This can be augmented with microSD cards — the slot, as already noted, is accessibly located on the bottom edge of the device.

This is a connected Pocket PC incorporating a quad-band GSM phone with GPRS/EDGE (but not 3G) support. Bluetooth (2.0+EDR) and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) are built in. Infrared is notably absent though.

The M700 has a 2.0 megapixel camera, with the lens on the back accompanied by a small self-portrait mirror and an LED flash unit. Controls for the camera software are accessed by tapping the screen. They form a frame around the edge of the screen, whose centre is the viewfinder. It's easy to make adjustments to settings such as flash, white balance, file size and so on. If the tools are not required, they are easily turned off by tapping an on-screen icon, at which point the entire screen becomes the viewfinder.

A key feature of the Glofiish M700 is its integrated SiRFStar III GPS receiver, which is still an rare enough feature to be a headline grabber. Its presence accounts for some of the M700's extra bulk.

You need to add navigation software to take full advantage of the GPS, but one of E-TEN’s many bundled applications provides some functionality out of the box. Called Location SMS, this will send a text message including your latitude and longitude co-ordinates to any recipient you identify. There's a library of predefined SMS texts that you can edit as required — take care before using any of these, as many are badly written and include spelling mistakes.

There's also an FM radio built in — and again, while this not a first it's certainly noteworthy. You'll need to have the headphones plugged in to use the radio, as these incorporate the FM antenna.

E-TEN is generous with extra software, although many of the applications will only be of use to the mobile professional after the working day is done. For example, there are several applications for managing and manipulating images.

On the other hand, you get a backup utility that can make backups of selected data sets on the device to itself or to memory cards, while the Call Filter application lets you set up block and allow lists. There's also a profile manager and switcher called Scenarios. Finally, M-Desk provides a tabbed graphics-rich alternative to the Windows Mobile Today screen, and the Today screen itself can be populated with shortcuts to applications and device settings.

Performance & battery life
The battery gave us 8 hours and 41 minutes of continuous music from a full charge which is above average for a Pocket PC.

Overall, the E-TEN Glofiish M700 is positively brimming with features, and the inclusion of a GPS receiver should be of particular interest to mobile professionals who want to keep the device count to a minimum.

 

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