All the same, if you just consider the G810 as a feature packed Windows Smartphone with a nice shell layered on top, it has got other things in its favour. Call quality is perfectly decent. Corporate users will appreciate the ease with which it hooks onto Wi-Fi networks, the pre-installed Office Mobile apps, an Image to Text OCR applet aimed specifically at reading business cards and sucking the data into the contacts list and the Pixcel document and image viewer. If they want push email, however, then they’ll have to get it going using the regular Messaging client – there is no dedicated Exchange client as there has been on some recent Nokia devices.
Those not in work mode might be more thankful for the built-in FM radio, the option to play AAC, WMA, M4A and MP3 files and WMV, MPEG-4, AVI, ASF and 3GP video files and a half-decent built-in camera. The latter is still mildly useless in low light conditions, but outside or in brighter indoor settings it manages crisp, well-exposed images with plenty of colour and detail.
There are quick launch keys for the camera and voice recorder applications, and images, recordings, music and video can all be stored on standard Micro SD cards via the slot at the bottom left. The one major black mark here is the use of a proprietary mini-USB stereo headset connection. Sure, you can always use an A2DP Bluetooth headset, but is it too much to ask to be able to plug in a wired set of earbuds with a standard 3.5in mini-jack connection?
There are some other slight concerns over battery life. I took the G810 away and used it over a long weekend, mostly checking email and browsing the Web over Wi-Fi, 3G and GPRS connections and taking the odd photo. Leaving on a Saturday morning, the phone still had some juice by Monday evening. However, Toshiba itself admits that the phone can only handle 4 hours of talktime, and reports I’ve seen elsewhere suggest that slightly less may be the case. This may be a worry if you use your smartphone more as a phone and less as an always-connected PDA.
All in all, nobody who wants an iPhone should be fooled into thinking that the G810 is a serious alternative – in terms of things like ease-of-use, entertainment and Web browsing it’s still several miles behind. On the other hand, it is a decent Windows smartphone with an extremely strong set of features, excellent build quality and a reasonable price. While not exceptional enough to warrant any awards being dished out, it’s still worth auditioning if you want a contract-free smartphone with a touch of extra class.
Toshiba’s efforts to make the G810 a credible iPhone rival are only half successful, but as a Windows smartphone it’s a well-built and feature-packed device.
Score in detail