The ETEN X500 is currently one of the thinnest Pocket PC’s available on the market. ETEN introduced their new lineup of Pocket PC’s called Glofiish. Currently two Glofiish models have been released; the Glofiish X500 and M700. They are ETEN’s high end models, offering features that other models do not. The X500 has built in GPS, Wi-Fi, FM radio and a 400 MHz processor. It is similar to the HTC P3300 offering the same features, but which one comes out on top?
Currently the X500 is the thinnest Pocket PC available on the market and measures only 15.5mm in thickness. The phone’s width is almost the same as the P3300’s but it is a bit taller. The front of the X500’s housing is silver and the back is fitted with a smooth black plate.
The X500 has a four-way directional pad located under the screen. On the right side of the D-pad there is the right soft key and the red end button. On the left side of the D-pad there is the left soft key and the green talk button. There are also two buttons located on top of the display. The one on the left side is the GPS hot key and the one on the right is the home button. This is one of the first Pocket PC’s to have the home key. A home key is usually found exclusively on Smartphones not Pocket PC’s. Both of these buttons can be customized to your unique preferences. On the right side of the phone is the power and camera button. Also in between the power button and the camera button there is a small hole for resetting the phone with the stylus. On the left side of the phone we have the volume up, down control and voice dial button. The voice dial button can also be customized to your own preference too. The left bottom side of the phone has a 2.5mm headphone jack. The leather case also has a hole for the headphones, therefore allowing you to listen to music while the phone is in its case. On the bottom side of the phone there is the Mini-USB port and memory card slot. The stylus, which can be extended is located on the bottom right hand side of the phone and is very secure.
A downside to the X500 is the fact that it does not have dedicated hardware buttons for the start menu or ok/close programs which the HTC P3300 has. However, if you want you can assign them their own hardware buttons. Beside the home key and GPS key there are two lights which glow different colors. When you have a missed call, the right LED flashes red, indicating that you have a missed call. When the phone is not in use the LED flashes green.
The X500 has all the basic features that Windows Mobile has to offer. You have basic calendar functions with appointments, calculator, PDF viewer, tasks and a lot more. The X500 also comes complete with Microsoft Pocket Office which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint. With Word and Excel you can not only view documents but edit them too. If you use a word processor like Microsoft Word, it may be a good idea to get an external keyboard. There are quite a few available but they differ in price range, some use Bluetooth technology while others use infrared.
The X500 has a lot of advanced features like a 2 mega-pixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, GPRS & EDGE and FM radio.
The X500 has an excellent 2 mega pixel camera. Although there are a lot of camera phones these days with better cameras and more mega-pixels, the pocket PC standard is now 2 mega-pixels. The camera has a mirror for self portraits and a LED light for flash. A cool feature that is included with the camera software is the ability to edit the picture in paint. The camera produces clear pictures during the day or in well lit areas but not in the dark even with the flash.
The built in Bluetooth version 2.0 which is now the new standard, is much faster and has a better range than the old 1.2. The X500 also supports A2DP stereo over Bluetooth for wireless media streaming.
The X500 also has Wi-Fi built in that supports both b/g wireless signals. The home screen plug-in also has a shortcut for Wi-Fi, in which you can configure all the settings.
The built in GPS works great with the X500. The GPS chipset is the same one found in the HTC P3300; the Sirfstarr III. The GPS works great but the downside is that the X500 does not come with any GPS software. The P3300 comes with TOMTOM preinstalled but only gives you the option to download one city. I tested the GPS on the X500 using iGuidance GPS software. The program works fine but overall I felt that TOMTOM is easier to use which uses big icons. One aspect of the iGuidance software I liked a lot was the setup application. The GPS setup application automatically detects your GPS settings and is excellent for people who do not know how to setup their GPS. This app does all the work for you! ETEN has included some extra GPS features and are not found on the P3300. Three programs which are included are: GPS Viewer, location SMS and Satellite Data Update. The GPS viewer shows your GPS signal, how many satellites you are connected to, location in degrees, speed and direction. The location SMS is a small program that sends a text message of your location in degrees. The person you’re sending it to needs a GPS phone in order to find your exact location. The satellite data update is a program which downloads your location information which makes finding a signal and location faster. In the program you can setup to download at a certain time after the data expires or you can download manually when connected to the internet. On average the GPS data expires in three days but only takes seconds downloading. The P3300 also had a similar app which downloads GPS data while synced with your computer. When you open the GPS viewer or location SMS programs the GPS automatically turns on and starts searching for a signal.
Eten has added a lot of great programs to there ROM which are exclusive to ETEN phones and will not be found on other Windows Mobile devices. Under programs there is a multimedia folder and in it are the following programs: image maker, image wizard and multimedia manager. The image maker is a paint program and is identical to the paint program found on your Windows computer. When you take a picture in the camera application you have the option to open it directly in the image maker to edit. Image Wizard is another program dedicated to editing your pictures. With this program you can add borders and frames, crop the image, rotate it, doodle on it etc. Multimedia manager is a program for viewing files on your phone. It is almost like the viewer found on most Windows mobile devices but adds a few minor features.
Another great feature that ETEN has included in their ROM is speed dialing. The speed dialing is set to the left soft key as default. When you press the speed dial it goes into a menu with a grid of contacts that you call often. Let’s say you call “home” more than any other contact, home will be number one on the grid. All you have to do is tap the contact and it will start dialing. Another feature of this program is that it opens a small on screen keyboard and allows you to type the first letters of the contacts name.
The X500’s display has a resolution of 240x 320. The touch screen is 2.8 inches and displays 65,000 colors. The OEM home-screen of the X500 is awesome. The home-screen plug-in has shortcuts to every program and setting on the phone. The X500 has almost everything on the home screen plug-in but forgot to add the rotate screen function which the P3300 has. Even though there is no home screen option, you can make it a hardware button so when you press the button it rotates the way you want it to. It is always a good idea to buy a screen protector especially for touch screen phones because they tend to get scratched by the stylus.
The X500 is great for music lovers, offering excellent sound quality. The phone comes with stereo headphones which can be used for answering calls as well as listening to music. The phone has Bluetooth version 2.0 and supports A2DP. The speaker of the x500 is located at the back beside the camera and is excellent quality.
GPS, Wi-Fi and FM radio are all forms of entertainment and if that’s not enough then you can always download songs, games and applications. The best thing about Windows Mobile is that you can download all sorts of games and software for free without worrying about fees. There is a wide variety of freeware and shareware games available that you will not have time to try them all. A good website is http://www.freewareppc.com/ where all program are free.
The X500 has built in Wi-Fi, GPRS and EDGE. Wi-Fi is great for when you have a wireless signal and runs very smooth. Although Wi-Fi does drain a lot of battery, you can go into Wi-Fi settings and adjust the Wi-Fi to best battery or best performance or in between. Wi-Fi works best when it’s in best performance and is not only faster but has a better wireless signal too. The phone has Internet Explorer which works great and you can also download other web browsers like Opera if you like. The X500 does not have 3G or HSDPA built in. The X500 has the new AKU 3.2 ROM so it has the Microsoft Push Email service built in. Although the X500 does not have a built in keyboard, a newer version called the M700 does. The M700 is currently the only Pocket PC with built in GPS and a slide out keyboard.
The X500 has 64MB RAM and 128 MB ROM. Even with all the ETEN programs installed on the phone there is still a lot of user memory available. The phone also allows for expandable memory in the form of Micro SD, also known as Trans Flash. Currently there are 2GB micro SD cards available on the market, retailing for approximately 100 dollars. The memory card slot is located at the bottom of the phone near the USB charging port. Since the memory card can be accessed without taking out the battery, Hot Swap is available. Hot Swap means that you can insert or take out the memory card while the phone is on. Unlike the P3300 which has the memory card slot under the battery, the X500 is more practical.
The X500 is excellent but when compared to the P3300 it doesn’t look as durable. The P3300 feels like metal as opposed to the X500 which feels like plastic. Overall the X500 feels nice due to the black rubber feel on the back of the phone. Overall the phone feels very solid
The X500 does not have a built in keyboard and for some a keyboard is essential. The new version of the X500 is the M700 which is similar to the HTC TyTN because of the slide out keyboard and fast processor. The M700 also has GPS and cost more but is thicker than the X500. Currently the X500 is one of the thinnest Pocket PC’s available on the market. Even though it is thin, it makes up for how tall it actually is.
What’s in the box?
The X500 comes with a home charger with various plugs for around the world. The phone also comes with a USB cable and software, stereo headphones, manuals, extra stylus and a carrying case. The carrying case that comes with the phone is excellent. It makes the phone look like an organizer instead of a phone. The case has a flip open cover with a magnet latch. When using the phone for PDA functions the case is amazing but when you need to make a call it is a bit awkward. Pulling the phone in and out of the case is also a hassle if you make a lot of calls so I would suggest using a Bluetooth headset.
Overall I like all the extra features ETEN has put in to the ROM. The dialer screen is different from the original blue dialer screen from Windows Mobile but has all the same buttons: speed dial, call history, talk and end. The numbers are a lot bigger and easier to dial with, so you can use your fingers instead of the stylus. The overall color matches the OEM theme which is yellow and orange. All the extra programs ETEN has installed are exceptional and the best part is that you can uninstall the ones you don’t use from remove programs. Usually, when companies add extra software they install it in the extended ROM which is not as easy to remove.
ETEN has been in the market for a while but recently started to focus on high end Windows Mobile devices. With this approach they have become quite popular by offering the latest features; GPS, Wi-Fi, EDGE and FM Radio. With ETEN’s new approach on their high end handsets, “GLOFIISH’, they are doing extremely well in meeting consumer demands. I hope to see some nice devices real soon!!
I found an excellent website that I would recommend to all ETEN owners:
Author: Fareed Mahdi