This is all fair enough, but the three buttons are tiny and difficult to get at unless you have small fingers and/or good fingernails. I found things like changing camera’s image resolution really difficult.
The camera shoots stills at resolutions up to two megapixels (1,600 x 1,200) and it has an autofocus system. It has a flash and a range of filters.
Shooting stills outdoors was a challenge because it was difficult to see the screen in bright daylight. Images were often over exposed too – the daffodils, shot on a bright spring morning, lack clarity.
The autofocus system was very fiddly to use. The small side button for controlling the camera only has to be pressed the tiniest amount for autofocus to kick in, then you have to wait a bit and fully press the shutter without moving the phone to take your shot. The picture of the cat was the best of many I tried to take and at the beginning of the shot he was looking right at the camera.
Indoors the camera fared better. The coloured dish, shot under normal household lights, is quite sharp, though the background should be uniformly white rather than bluish and pinkish white.
On the music front the Shine does OK but you have to jump through a few hoops to get the best from it. It’ll find tracks from a miniSD card but only if you put them in a folder labelled MP3, which is itself in a folder labelled Sounds. The phone plays more than just MP3s though – it handles AAC and AAC+ too.
The manual warns that audio can be distorted through the phone’s speaker. My main issue was in fact that volume was rather low. The headphones are two-piece with inline controls that include a hold button and a 3.5mm connector so you can use your own headset.
Battery life was an absolute enigma to me. After fully charging the battery I set the phone up to play music which it did for six hours. It kept alive for a total of 17 hours 55 minute, though, giving me a low power warning every three minutes after music playback stopped.
Other features include PhotoID, Bluetooth, document viewers for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and PDF, Web and WAP browsing, mobile email, calendar, calculator, memo, stopwatch and unit converter and a USB mass storage mode for file transfer and a PC connection cable in the box.
The Shine is one of most obvious examples of the triumph of design over usability that I’ve seen in a long while. It looks stunning, but is simply too difficult to use.