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Eten P300

  • Editors' rating
    7.3 Very good

Pros

  • Small and light for a handheld/phone device
  • feature-rich compared to Windows Mobile smartphones
  • removable battery

Cons

  • Poorly located camera
  • disappointing battery life
  • screen delivers only 4,096 colours and could be brighter
  • no Bluetooth

Microsoft OS fans seeking a connected device face a dilemma. Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition caters for more than just data and voice telephony, and can provide all the portable computing that some users require. But the hardware is relatively bulky, and it can be tricky to use for voice calls. Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Smartphone edition, on the other hand, is limited in terms of features, but more phone-like in portability. On paper, the £351.33 (inc. VAT) P300 handheld/phone combo from Eten looks like a good compromise between the two extremes.

Design
The hardware is reasonably pocket friendly: it weighs 165g, which is lightweight for a handheld (although hefty for a phone), and has the relatively svelte dimensions of 11.7cm tall by 6.7cm wide by 2.3cm deep. To squeeze a Pocket PC-like experience into this size of case, the screen is a little smaller than normal, measuring 2.8in. across the diagonal. It has the standard 240-by-320-pixel resolution, although it delivers only 4,096 colours (12-bit colour) rather than the standard 65,536 (16-bit colour). An antenna protrudes for about 14mm at the top right of the case. This adds a little height to the overall dimensions, but its internals are used to house the stylus, which as a result is a decent length. Beneath the screen are the usual application shortcut buttons and a joystick, which despite its diminutive size is easy to use and responsive. On the left-hand side is a jog wheel and the power switch, while the top is home to the headphone socket (by far the most ergonomic location) and infrared port. On the underside, next to the docking port connector, is an SD card slot. Above the screen sits the digital camera lens. The P300 ships with a docking cradle that provides USB host facilities and a separate slot for charging a spare battery – the supplied battery is removable. You can’t charge the P300 without the cradle unless you invest in a separate charging cable. The P300 ships with a belt-clip style protective case.

Features
The P300, which is powered by a 200MHz ARM 9 processor, runs Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition, offering all the standard applications that come with that OS. Of the device's 64MB of SDRAM, 53MB is available for applications and data. The phone module is tri-band with GPRS capability, and supports polyphonic ringtones, MMS and mobile email. Your SIM card sits in a slot beneath the battery. Eten adds some of its own applications to the default suite, most notably a backup utility that can send data either to an SD card or to a 2.18MB portion of flash memory. There are also a couple of tools for use with the VGA-resolution camera: Photo Capture for taking shots, Image Maker for annotating them or making your own drawings; and MultiMedia Manager for organising both images and ringtones. Cameras on phones and handhelds have a certain appeal and utility. There are some professions where access to quick snaps for MMS-ing might be useful, and there are clearly leisure applications. But Eten seems to have made a mistake in locating the lens on the front of the casing. In this position, just above the screen, it's impossible to use the screen as a viewfinder for taking shots of anything other than yourself or something over your shoulder -- an arrangement that makes taking photos of other people or scenery an awkward affair.

Performance
The P300 is not the slickest handheld we have come across. The 12-bit colour screen is a little dull, and refreshes rather slowly; also, we’d have liked a larger portion of flash memory to be available. Battery performance could be better, too. We turned the radio off and looped MP3s, leaving the screen always on. We got music for 2 hours 11 minutes, and the P300 turned off after 2 hours 15 minutes. Serious users of the P300's communications features may well need to invest in a spare battery. Because the screen is generally a little slow to refresh, moving the device around to take shots with the digital camera is not a particularly rewarding experience. It's certainly nowhere near as responsive to movement as a standalone digital camera. Images are captured at 640 by 480, 320 by 240 and 160 by160 resolution. There is a facility that allows you to overlay frames onto images, and there are several special effects including sepia and monochrome. You can’t capture movies. Still, for all its faults, we can’t help liking the P300. It is precisely the kind of compromise between size and features that people looking for a connected device with full handheld functionality might like. And it is available contract-free. However, we’d like Eten to produce a top-spec version of this device with a faster processor and a better screen, and to include Bluetooth.

Specifications

Cellular
Technology GSM
Application Software Calculator, Jawbreaker, MSN Messenger, Microsoft ActiveSync 3.7, Microsoft Pocket Excel, Microsoft Pocket Internet Explorer, Microsoft Pocket Outlook, Microsoft Pocket Word, Microsoft Reader, Microsoft Transcriber, Notetaker, Solitaire, Terminal Services Client, Voice Recorder, Windows Media Player v9.0
Phone Navigation Buttons joystick
Type smartphone
Integrated Components rear-facing camera, voice recorder
Band GSM 900/1800/1900 (Tri-Band)
Phone Form Factor touch
Service Provider not specified
Operating System Family Windows Mobile
Operating System Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition
Input Device Touch screen
Details
Integrated Components Rear-facing camera, voice recorder
Messaging & Internet
Cellular Messaging Services SMS
Messaging Services SMS
Communications
Data Transmission GPRS
Wireless Interface Infrared (IrDA)
Processor
Clock Speed 200 MHz
Manufacturer Intel
Display
Technology TFT transflective
Display Resolution 240 x 320 pixels
Color Depth 12-bit (4096 colors)
Diagonal Size 2.8 in
Diagonal Size (metric) 7.1 cm
Smartphone Diagonal Size 2.8 in
Media Player
Supported Digital Audio Standards WMA, MP3
Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards SD Memory Card
Header
Brand E-TEN
Product Line E-TEN
Model P300
Packaged Quantity 1
Connections
Connector Type Headset jack
USB - 4 pin USB Type A
CE Input Device
Type touch sensitive screen
Digital Player (Recorder)
Supported Digital Audio Standards MP3, WMA
Power Adapter
Type power adapter
RAM
Installed Size 64 MB
Technology SDRAM
Flash Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards SD Memory Card
Optical Sensor
Sensor Resolution 0.3 megapixels

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