zzzPhone Review- Standard model

Two days ago we said we would write a review of these phones-TV/Standard and Windows Mobile-and also an interview with one of the members in the company. So here is the first part of that with the review of the TV/Standard phone. PS you’ll notice some bold text throughout the post (like here), that is some of the main or interesting points that the “skimmers” out there may want to notice.

The zzzPhone!

Basics and Features

The basic features that come on this phone at its $149 unlocked price are:

  • 3 inch QVGA touchscreen (QVGA is the screen type found on most cell phones though not always touchscreen)
  • 1.3 megapixel camera ( with ability to record video
  • Mp3 player
  • Video player
  • 2 SIM card slots. A rarity among cell phones in this country, these slots allow the ability to have basically 2 phone numbers working together on one phone at the same time. I am not sure how many teens will use this-if any-but it still is something interesting to have.

Okay now that we covered some of the basic features, lets go to what makes this phone so interesting.

First is the ability to choose exactly what you want in your phone in terms of features. We-average teens-usually buy our phones directly from our cell phone carrier and have to pay their price on a phone model that may not be what we need or want.

The whole zzzPhone idea is the ability to choose what you want in your cell phone (think of it like how you would buy a computer from a company like Dell who gives you a model and lets you customize it to your liking). This specific model offers a lot of options in what you can add on to it. For one you can add on a higher camera with a resolution of 5 or 7 megapixels (like that on some regular cameras). We didn’t get to test those cameras, but did get to test the standard 1.3 megapixel one and found that it takes pictures that are better than that of your average camera phone, even some with higher megapixels.

You also can choose the overall exterior look of the phone. That means everything from the colors-red, blue, white, yellow, green, pink, and black-to having a picture or logo on the case, to putting your name on the phone, to even getting fake-or real if you can afford it-diamonds on it.

Other available additions include:

  • a TV tuner-allows for watching live TV free from stations like Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS-with very good quality with some good reception (this will only work though till everything switches to digital broadcast- HD like- in February 2009)
  • FM radio (included with TV tuner)
  • GPS
  • 4gb memory card
  • more speakers (4 to be exact, though from the phone we used which was said to be just 2 speakers, the sound was very clear and very loud)
  • a second camera on the front (presumably used here in the US for taking self pictures) though it has lower quality than the regular camera in the back

Picture of phone with TV antenna extended (the silver bar at the top- it actually goes much futher just all couldn’t fit into this picture)

Use

Despite all the unique features with this phone, the key question is how useable the phone is. The answer to that is it is a useable phone, but not without a few comments on that use overall. The call quality on the phone was okay: We heard others but not without a little echo in the background, while they were able to hear us most of the time clearly. Texting on the phone is a little different then the usual phones you use as this phone has both a touch screen and a regular keypad. The touch screen keyboard looks like a regular computer keyboard, but it was small in size and not the easiest to text on even with the included stylus (which in of itself was a little difficult to get out). Its physical keypad okay to use but took us a little getting used to; also the buttons were cramped together and felt weak/not sturdy and also the spacebar is the zero key on the side-in contrast to the typical American style where it is located on the bottom. The phone’s interface also was a little new for us but was pretty simple and we were able to use it pretty easily after a little bit of time. In regard to the phones casing, the phone itself was thick and had the height around the size of a Hershey bar, and also had a plastic/cheap feel which made it harder to use. A couple of other things that we would’ve liked to see in a phone would be 3G support, higher standard camera, and also having the memory card slot on the side of the case instead of being behind the battery.

Back of phone (this was just customized without the zzzPhone logo, you could though upload your own logo/picture and name which would be on the right and left of the icons in the middle)

Overall

Overall this is a solid first effort from a company that may revolutionize the way we choose our cell phones. As of right now though, this phone is a good but not great phone with decent call quality, picture quality, and texting. We think that this phone and its idea have a lot of potential to be big, but from what we saw, we may want to wait till they work out all the kinks before spending our money on it.

Click here for our Flckr slideshow with some more pictures on the phone

Side notes: We were not able to test everything given that we only had a limited amount of time with the phone. The phone has a battery with a rated talk time of between 4-6 hours according to the zzzPhone main website, and is also covered under the company’s 1 year warranty. The phone can be bought and customized from the website http://www.unifiedtelcom.com/. Also stay tuned for our upcoming review on the Windows Mobile phone and the interview with company member Jesse Nowlin.

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Posted on May 1, 2008, in Cell Phones, First Look/Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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