Toshiba Portégé G500 Review - Toshiba Portégé G500 Review

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The camera management software is a bit different in look and feel to that usual found on Windows Mobile Smartphones, but it offers a very similar range of options. For example, in stills mode there are burst and self timer settings and there are various camera effects for different lighting conditions as well as the usual range of filters (greyscale, sepia, cool, warm).


There is a miniscule LED flash next to the camera, but no self portrait mirror. If you want to take photos of yourself you need to switch to the front camera, which manages three resolutions up to 320 x 240.


The presence of a front facing camera gives away the fact that the Portégé G500 is a 3G handset. It supports HSDPA and is also Tri-band GSM with GPRS and EDGE so it can accompany you worldwide.


Toshiba has chosen Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone Edition for the Portégé G500. This rules out the possibility to include Microsoft’s Office Mobile suite that enables you edit Office documents. This comes with the newer Windows Mobile 6. However Toshiba has included the excellent Picsel viewer for reading documents such as email attachments.


Toshiba has also supplemented Pocket Internet Explorer with the Opera browser. The latter gives a better Web browsing experience and lets you open several Web pages in different windows, which you can switch between using the softmenus.


Both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built in, and there is quick access to the wireless control centre on the Today screen. There are some other software extras that take advantage of the wireless capability including a utility for locking the phone remotely via Bluetooth (well, that is to say, remotely if you are within Bluetooth range of the corresponding application on your computer), and a VoIP client called TIPtalk.


You can also set up the fingerprint sensor so that you can launch different applications with different fingers. I can’t help feeling this is a bit gimmicky, particularly as the slider needs to be opened for you to get to the fingerprint sensor.


There is 64MB of storage memory, and on my review sample 37MB was free. A miniSD card slot under the battery cover on the left edge lets you augment that.


There are a couple of things I really don’t like about the Portégé G500. The first is that the headphones connector is a 2.5mm pin. That said, at least Toshiba partly redeems itself here by providing a two piece headset with a 3.5mm connector just beyond the microphone, so you can use your favourite headphones and still make handsfree calls.


More annoying is the two-piece mains power adaptor. Admittedly this is smaller than that you’ll find with most notebook computers, but it is still a lot to carry around. You’ll want to invest in a one-piece mains to mini USB power cable if you don’t already have one.


In its press release Toshiba rates the Portégé G500’s battery life as ‘excellent’. I asked it to play music with its screen forced to stay on and it gave me six hours 50 minutes of life. This is not a total embarrassment, but I’ve seen a lot better and wouldn’t call it ‘excellent’. For example Samsung’s i600, another Windows Mobile 5 Smartphone with 3G and HSDPA delivered a bit more than nine hours of music.


”’Verdict”’


The Portégé G500 is a bit on the chunky side, and its use of the now outdated Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system does it no favours. But its firm keys make it easy to use, while the fingerprint sensor could prove very useful to the security conscious.

Score


Score in detail

  • Usability 8
  • Value 7
  • Features 8