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Panasonic GD55

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Panasonic GD55
Miniature in size and light on the features, this great value handset will appeal to a youth market segment. Read our Australian review.

The first aspect that you notice about the GD55 is its size. Like its sibling, the colour-screened Panasonic G50, the GD55 is a really petit phone. It measures a miniscule 77mm by 43mm by 16.9mm and weighs only 65 grams. Although it does sport some helpful features, it would seem that from first impressions Panasonic is aiming a youthful market segment attracted to size and character before substance.

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The GD55 comes in three eye catching colours (silver, red or pink) and includes a cord for hanging the phone around your neck (probably a good idea as it is very easy to misplace). It fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and has very small rounded key surfaces. These small keys might pose difficulty and those with large fingers can combat this by pressing keys with their fingernails.

Due to its weightlessness and tiny size the phone is easily grasped in the hand and fingers. The two centimeter antenna might be obtrusive to some users but we found that it rarely gets in the way due to the phone sitting neatly in your fingers while scrolling through the menu.

For such a small phone it has a relatively large brightly back lit blue screen display with decent contrast. The phone is navigated via a central up/down silver key as well as soft keys on both sides.

In the messaging department, the GD55 is limited to SMS (short message service) only and this is can be undertaken with T9 predictive text input. It is relatively easy to create a message using this function, however for punctuation you'll have to swiftly scroll through for your mark using the zero or one key.

Considering its size, the GD55 is fairly accommodating for memory, whereby you can hold up to 15 text messages in the message facility and 250 contacts in the phone book.

The hands free speaker function is a neat inclusion with this phone. However our gripe with this is you cannot set the phone up so that calls go directly to hands free mode. To activate hands free mode during a call on the GD55 you need to press two keys - a bit of a contradiction. The sound quality in hands free mode is fair, being slightly distorted on full volume and you will need to have the phone no more than 20 centimeters away from your mouth for the person on the receiving end to hear you clearly.

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Sound quality in normal call mode is quite satisfactory. As with most phones, you have to turn the volume up substantially to gain clarity in a noisy environment.

Added functions while on a call are conference call in hands free mode (which allows a group of three into a discussion), the ability to hold calls, juggle two calls with call waiting and transfer calls.

Other features include a WAP browser, vibration ring function, a very handy time zone listing, a calculator and a currency converter.

The phone contains 30 inbuilt polyphonic ring tones that can be set to groups within your phone's memory. You can also build your own polyphonic ring tones using the melody composer which we found to be a lot of fun.

Fun factors for mobile phones usually lie in the choice of games. For the GD55 the intended youth market for this phone may be a little disappointed. The phone sports only one game which is a rather trivial cat and mouse affair whereby you must predict the hole the mouse is going to pop up through and consequently eradicate it using your keypad.

Panasonic rates the GD55's stand-by time to be approximately 78 to 230 hours. Quite a broad range broadly on the mark and probably closer to the 230 hours for those who aren't messaging, playing the game and using the other functions regularly.

At a price point of AU$275 we think that Panasonic will achieve connection with the younger market, first-time phone buyers or parents buying a phone for little ones with little fingers. If you fall into this category you will be receiving a great value for money phone that has a lot of character.

Panasonic GD55
Company: Panasonic
Price: AU$275
Distributor: Selected resellers
Phone: 13 26 00