Mio 8390

Mio also supplies the Anny Way MMS client, the Mio Task manager, which allows you to end applications, a utility to switch between GSM 900/1800 and GSM 1900 and finally a Java based game.

The Mio 8390 might be sold with different accessories depending on where you purchase it from, but our review unit from AGB Global came with the phone itself, a docking cradle with a slot for a second battery, a second battery, a USB sync cable, a charger with interchangeable connectors for the UK, Europe and US, a leather clip-on carrying case, a wired hands free kit and unusually, a set of battery powered Wharfedale NXT speakers with a 2.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable.

AGB Global also provides a software CD with a range of additional applications and games, such as a GPRS usage monitor, an application that allows you to sync your SMS messages with Outlook and a phone backup utility. One of the most useful utilities on the CD is a small program that unlocks the OS on the 8390 so you can install third party applications that haven’t been approved by Microsoft.

The Mio 8390 worked well as a phone and call quality was very clear when coverage was good. But even in poor coverage areas, the Mio performed well, something that could possibly be attributed to the external antenna. The battery life could be better though - it only lasted about three days with a few short phone calls made and some general usage, but the high resolution screen is most likely the source of the battery drain.

The hands free headset has the added bonus of doubling as a stereo headphone set and thus feature a built in volume wheel. This also comes in handy when you’re using it as a hands free, since it allows you to change the volume easily if the background noise alters.

But unfortunately the Mio 8390 is missing one vital feature that every mobile phone, smart or not, should have - Bluetooth. There is no reason why it couldn’t have been implemented quite easily, especially when you consider that the Microsoft Smartphone OS supports Bluetooth and the Intel PXA processor has support for it - there is even a menu option for it in the phone.

Bluetooth is a strange omission, since this would have offered an easy way to connect the phone to your notebook, share contacts and use Bluetooth car kits and headsets. Mio couldn’t give us a particularly good reason for the lack of Bluetooth support, but we were told that the next generation product should feature Bluetooth.

Considering the multitude of features and the ability for network operators to customise the Mio 8390 it is strange that none of the UK networks have taken the phone onboard. This means that if you want to buy one, you have to purchase it without a contract and since this is pretty much a cutting edge phone, you’ll have to pay a cutting edge price of £330.80. This will put off many potential buyers, since most of us will pay very little, or even nothing at all for a mobile phone, depending on the contract that we take out. A phone really does need to be special to warrant an offline purchase, and unfortunately the Mio 8390 isn’t quite special enough.

Verdict

The Mio 8390 has a lot on offer, if you like flip phones. It may be missing a few features that a smartphone should have, but it’s still a decent device with plenty on offer and a superb display. But the lack of carrier support means that the Mio is a very expensive purchase, and ultimately leaves it out in the cold.

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