Recently I bought myself a Benq P50 (Read here the earlier post). After spending time to set everything up – ActiveSync, Contacts, etc. using it for a few weeks.

I realised the following:

  • The phone is lovely, the colours are brilliant
  • Decent Browsing and usable Wi-Fi speed
  • The phone is very heavy in your pocket, you got to use the belt clip to carry it
  • The keyboard keys are too small – but you can get used to them after a few weeks of usage. First few weeks, you will end up pressing two keys at once
  • The documentation sucks big time. It leaves much to be desired. It is too shallow when it comes to First-time users of Windows Mobile and is non-existent for advanced options
  • The battery life is pathetic. So far the maximum I could get was 6 to 8 hours Standby with about an average of 20 minutes of talk time
  • The radio is poor. Many times I see 5 full bars of network signal, but people get a “Subscriber could not be reached” message
  • The main usability problem was the phone doesn’t have a Keypad Lock, so when I put the phone in the belt clip the dial key gets pressed accidentally all the time and the phone dials the last dialled number – Kind of like Artificial intelligence. The workaround I found was to dial a non-existing number like 4, each time before you place the phone in the clip. Pressing the space bar does bring the screensaver and locks the keypad but the dial key is still active and a small tap on the screen brings the keypad also active. After weeks of frustration, I found out that you can gently press the power button once to put the phone on stand-by before keeping it in the clip which shuts down the screen, locks the dial key and all the other keypad keys. Too counter-intuitive.

So overall this phone is better to be left in the Shop Window; but with the next version, if BenQ fixes the above, and upgrades the phone OS to Windows Mobile 5.0 then the phone has the potential to be a big hit.

I am now shopping for a new phone. I am considering Nokia 9300i, N70 and 6681. Last week I had been using a friend’s Nokia 9300 Communicator – seems to love the phone, especially the form factor, keyboard layout, and email support. Though there are some nuisances like the non-existence of Vibrate mode, and a few quick shortcuts available in Series 60 phones especially with Address Book and SMS, the main features that are missing are the Camera and Wi-Fi. I am waiting for the Nokia 9300i in India. If I get tired of waiting, I will go probably for Nokia 6681.

All this is not to say the Windows Mobile OS is bad, but the manufacturer (BenQ) seems to have got it all wrong in the device implementation. Proves the point that you shouldn’t be the lab rat and wait for the few versions of a phone before buying it. I will buy my next Windows Mobile only if it was made by one of the big manufacturers like Palm or HP or better still Nokia :-)

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