I’ve probably used the news service the most, and when I find myself at a loose end, I take the V800 out of my pocket and check the latest headlines. Another great feature is Find and Seek, which allows you to search for services like ATMs, petrol stations or restaurants near to your current location. The hit rate is usually very good, and you’re even sent a map to indicate the exact location of the amenity that you’re after.
Find and Seek is not infallible though, and while sitting in an Italian restaurant in Kingston I decided to search for Italian restaurants – the result was a plethora of Italian eateries, but no mention of the one I was actually sitting in. That said, having been in a situation where I was in desperate need of a petrol station, with no idea which direction to look in, I can appreciate just how useful this service can be.
The problem with reviewing a phone like this is that it’s easy to forget how much all these services cost, because it’s not my phone. Basically the subscription services all cost around £3 a month, so if I was a paying customer, my subscriptions to the movie service, the football highlights and the news downloads would add around £10 a month to my bill. At least you don’t have to pay for the amount of data that you download from Vodafone Live!, but there is a fair use policy in force, to avoid customers using excessive amounts of bandwidth.
Unlike 3, Vodafone doesn’t limit the online access of its 3G customers. This means that you can theoretically access any website from the V800, whereas with 3 you can only access its portal content. Now I say theoretically because you won’t be able to view graphically heavy sites like TrustedReviews, but pages like the www.bbc.co.uk/mobile work flawlessly.
The V800 also has integrated Bluetooth, which will obviously allow you to use a headset, but it also lets you use the phone as a 3G modem. I setup the V800 to work as a 3G modem with a Dell Axim X50 PDA (there’s a full review of the Dell coming soon), and the result was very fast mobile web browsing and email. The downside of using the V800 as a 3G modem is the cost of data downloads – at £2.35 per megabyte of downloaded data the costs will mount up. If you really need 3G Internet access on the move, you’re better off with Vodafone’s Mobile Connect data card, although you won’t be able to use that with a PDA, unless you have a PC Card adapter.
I’m still fairly sceptical about video calling, but having played with a few 3G handsets in the office I will admit that it is fun. I made video calls between the V800 and a Motorola E1000 on the 3 network, and the results were good – the incoming image is a little blocky, but that’s probably due to the compression applied for the transmission. Video calls between Vodafone 3G devices will cost 35p per minute, while calls to other 3G networks will set you back 55p per minute. If you’d rather send messages, texts will cost you 12p each, picture messages 36p and video messages 60p each.