This double sided approach certainly has potential, but the controls on the music player side really let things down. The large pad beneath the screen on the music player side has a central button for Pause/Play (or ‘OK’). There are functions on all four points of the pad which light up when the music player side is activated. Left and right take you to the Next or Previous tracks while a circular button on the top section brings up menu options, and a Back key takes you out of the menu you are in.
So far, so straightforward. But the pad is touch sensitive, and you can also ‘sweep’ it with a fingertip and I found it took me a while to get the sweeping system just right. In music mode a sweep up or down on either side of the pad changes the volume though you can also use the previously mentioned hardware volume rocker. If you’re in a menu, sweeping up moves through options, the central button selects. In all honesty it was a real annoyance in the first few hours of usage and I often accidentally hit the pad and it did things I didn’t want.
Other options on the handset are the camera, FM radio, a voice recorder and the ability to view pictures and video albums. With one side of the phone dedicated to music it seems quite odd that there is a music player on the ‘phone’ side of the handset too, and that to use one you have to stop playback on the other. To take shots with the camera facing away from you actually have to use the music player side. Its lens is on the phone side, as is a shortcut button which starts the camera software running. A softmeu button lets you switch over to the large screen.
Stills are shot at resolutions up to 1,200 x 1,600 and there’s a self timer. You can apply a few effects such as sepia, and add some fun frames. It has some white balance presets for different lighting conditions and 100, 200 and 400 ISO settings as well as an automatic mode. Sweeping lets you use the digital zoom and change the image brightness, and you need to sweep to move between menu settings too.
Image quality is reasonably good. Colour reproduction in my standard reference shot of the dish photographed under normal household lighting is OK, though as is often the case pink and blue tones are present in what is in reality a white background.
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