However, there are still some problems. Firstly, there are several jarring occasions when you’ll find yourself rather rudely chucked back into the usual Windows Mobile menu system. Secondly, the on-screen keyboard is too small to be finger driven so you have to resort to the stylus (which is tucked away in a slot on the top right-hand corner of the device) when you want to compose emails or enter text into the web browser. With a bit of effort you can replace this with any number of more suitable and free software keyboards, but really O2 should have done this leg work for you.
On the storage front the handset has 256MB of flash ROM and 128MB of RAM onboard, but you can add extra space via MicroSD cards. However, the card slot is rather awkwardly placed under the SIM card holder, which means that it can’t be reached without taking the battery out. We would have much preferred a more easily accessible slot so you could hot swap cards.
The Zest’s 2.8in screen might be a tad small compared to those found on high-end handsets like the HTC Touch HD, but its sharp resolution of 480 x 640 pixels helps text and icons look very crisp. The display is also very bright and colours look wonderfully vivid too, with the result that it was great for watching videos downloaded from ”BBC iPlayer” and for viewing digital photos.
The rear of the phone is home to the 3.0-megapixel snapper, but it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill camera phone affair and lacks a flash so low light shooting is a no-no. Snaps taken in daylight don’t look too bad when viewed on the phone’s own screen, but when they’re transferred to a PC the weaknesses, such as blurry edge detail, quickly become apparent.
The built-in GPS functionality, on the other hand, is a whole different kettle of fish. The phone uses the latest SiRFstarIII chipset which is very quick to pin point your location. To make best use of it you can try it out with the included Copilot 7 software, but unfortunately this is only a two week trial version. After this period has elapsed you have to shell out £49.99 if you want to continue using it. Naturally, we would have preferred to have the full version included as standard, but you can’t have everything, especially at this price.