Back in February, Toshiba announced two Windows Mobile Smartphones, the Portégé G500 and the Portégé G900. The latter is not due for a little while yet, but the former is now available.
Readers in the UK can be forgiven for not associating Toshiba with Windows Mobile as its last UK device, a Pocket PC, launched in 2004. The Portégé G500 is Toshiba’s first Windows Mobile Smartphone.
And there is another first, this time not just for Toshiba but for the whole Windows Mobile Smartphone category. The two new Portégé devices have fingerprint recognition. Even in Pocket PCs, fingerprint recognition is a rarity.
Toshiba is touting this as a key selling point, and it may indeed prove to be popular, particularly among users in the business sector. After all, the Portégé G500 (and G900 incidentally) can handle mobile email with attachments, and this alone is enough to allow for sensitive information to be on a device small enough to be easily left in a taxi, train, or coat pocket.
So how small is the Portégé G500? Not very, as it happens. Toshiba has opted for a slider format and this means that the device is rather chunky. It is not particularly tall or wide at 96mm tall and 49mm wide. But it is very thick at 22.9mm, and rather heavy at 135g. Compare these dimensions to those of Orange’s SPV E650 (102 x 49 x 18mm and 130g) and there is a considerable difference in chunkiness, yet the SPV E650 has a full QWERTY keyboard hidden away under its long edge slider, while the Portégé G500 can only muster a more usual number pad.
At least the G500’s number pad is pretty large. Even the stubbiest of fingers should be able to effectively tap out phone numbers and the relatively heavy base section means the phone is fairly well weighted in the hand. Fast texting is also achievable thanks again to the large keys but also thanks to a significant return and a meaty click on each key press.
With the number pad put away only the screen and front keys are visible. The screen is large at 2.3 inches corner to corner, and it delivers a standard 320 x 240 pixels at 65,000 colours. There are no surprises in the array of buttons beneath the screen. A large 8-way navigation pad with select button sits centrally, with softmenu buttons to its upper left and right, Call and End keys to its lower left and right, and Windows Mobile Home and Back keys lodged in between.
The lens for the built in camera is on the back. Slider phones often hide their camera lenses under the sliding mechanism on the back fascia. In this case that spot is occupied by the fingerprint reader so the lens simply has to go onto the back.
A shortcut key on the right edge activates the lens and then shoots a still or video. Images are captured at resolutions up to 2-megapixels (1,600 x 1,200), video at 144 x 176 and 240 x 320.