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Thread: My Z520 Review:

  1. #1
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    My Z520 Review:

    also reviewed by Howard:
    http://www.howardchui.com/modules.ph...icle&artid=226

    it's been a busy holiday season and as a result there was a slight delay in getting this Z520 review together. My original hopes were to have it out before christmas, but as you can see this didn't happen. Better late then never they say:

    I am using a Rogers Retail Z520 for this review. However, being that the Z520 is a phone carried by Rogers and Fido i am going to assume all performance aspects are the same and it's my guess that the Fido software is simply Fido branding.

    The SW version of my phone is R3C035.

    Reception
    The Z520 is a great little phone. It works really well and passed all my tests and driving with ease. It blew right by the cantina test, handled the driving test* easily and sounded great to the caller and to me while doing it.

    In addition to the usual participant, Gadgetmon, on this drive by test, i also called up a few of my friends but didn't mention anything about testing. I just wanted to see if they'd complain or say anything to me at all. No complaints from them.

    *as originally noted, the drive by test is:
    Yonge and 16th, east on 16th to woodbine. North on woodbine to 19th. West on 19th to Yonge. North on Yonge to Bloomington. East on bloomington to Bayview. South on bayview to Stouffville sideroad. East on Stoufville sideroad to Leslie and Leslie back to the Hill.


    on the drive test there was no real issues, no blank outs, no dead spots. the only blip was that in the same corner of bayview and stoufville road where the V360had dropped the call, the Z520 also dropped the call. My thoughts are that it's a bad handoff because if I retrace the route it will maintain the call on both phones the 2nd time through.

    handoffs are gracefull and natural and don't jab you in the conversation as well.

    Sound Quality
    The phone presented no issues for my use. It was loud enough and clear enough for my liking on the incoming side. No hiss and crackling were present on my unit. The outgoing call quality is also very good and as seems to be the case with most SE product, nice and loud

    Camera
    the Z520 features a VGA camera. Pictures and MMS and other such fun would be it's main purpose. the Camera itself is standard faire. It's not that great, not that bad and takes a good shot for those moments you don't have a digital cam ready, and is placed in an attractive location on the front of the phone.

    the Z520's cam has normal and fine shooting settings for quality, and a night mode. There are also effects such as:
    *Normal -- single use shots
    *panorama -- Allows you to "stitch" 3 images into 1 bigger one with a neat overlay of the last pic
    *Frames -- allows you to frame your subject in 1 of 24 fun ways
    *burst -- 4 rapid fire shots

    the Z520 also comes packed with a few effects:
    *black and white -- obvious
    *Sepia -- Yellowish tint applied to pics.

    the picture sizes are 640x480 / 320x240 / 160x120 and an extended mode.
    the extended mode blows up a 640x480 shot to a 1024 x 768 size but since it's SW based you can imagine use of this feature is will probably be limited.

    attached are some various shots taken from the Z520's cam







    forgive my shaky hand on this one:


    Aesthetics
    The phone itsself I find to be a good looking product.
    nice lines, nice audible "click" when opened and closed. Good design through out and one of the best keypads i've used in a long time.







    Love it or leave it, the Z520 features a loop style antenna similar to that of the Z200. However, all references to the Z200 stop here as this phone is leaps and bounds a better product in application, design and feature set.

    The loop antenna is a good tradeoff.
    It's also the reason the Z520 is such a good performer for RF and daily use.

    you trade off having a stub antenna to a more rounded less jab you in the side loop.
    However, you still have an external antenna vs no external antenna at all. hence the trade off.

    antenna shots




    Keypad
    let's touch base on the Z520's keypad.
    One of my gripes with SE is that they seem to like making mushy keypads with their previous gen stuff. The Z520 is a fresh new take on their keypad approach. it's very tactile and provides excellent feedback. I found my self flying over the keys when composing SMS even quicker then I already am. The Keypad is excellent on this phone, hands down and will probably make a higher SMS package necessary for many



    Screens
    The External screen is average. Not good, not bad, just there.
    being a CSTN unit the colours are washed out, and depending on the theme you choose, sometimes you can't make heads or tails of the information provided. Assuming cost and keeping it low was SE's game plan I can see why they chose a CSTN screen vs a 65k TFT one. Personally I would have prefered a nice greyscale CSTN unit like that of the V360 instead of the 65k CSTN unit. In my mind external screens need to be clear and readable so either a 65k TFT screen, or a 65k CSTN greyscale screen is the way to do it.


    The Internal screen is much better.
    It's quite good and has good colour saturation and brighness. it's a 128x160 screen though so themes are a little harder to find then your average W600/K750/
    W800 176x220 variant however.
    The screen itself does wash out a little in outside light though. It's not as reflective as the S710a's unit for example.


    Removable covers
    The Z520 features Removable covers. I currently have the grey ones on according to the picture, but Blue is also included in the box. The covers are snug and fit nicely. no shimmy shake on these covers so no worries.

    Joypad
    while directional keypads aren't exactly new, and being able to assign shortcuts to any direction on that pad isn't new either, SE's "activity menu" on the up key is.
    the up key is a a fixed shortcut and can't be changed, but you probably won't want to. the new activity menu houses all the must have info that goes into running a phone in one convenient key.

    the Shortcut menu itself is split into 3 key areas which you use the right/left keypad to move and select the appropriate tabs. It's convenient and well thought out. Unfortunately it doesnt' seem to have carried over onto the W600, so we'll see if it re-appears in other SE's that are coming.







    SMS
    at this point in time it should be no secret that I love SE's T9 SMS implementations. I feel it's the best setup of all the T9 implementations out there. Nothing has really changed so I'm gonna borrow from my past reviews and add a few things later

    SE, quite simply is The king of T9 sms
    SE T9 rules the roost for ease of use. It allows custom words, it allows custom alphanumberic words, IE, Z500, 6230b GSM850. It has a list of words as you're typing which can be turned off if you don't like it. It guesses the word even if you're not done writing it, IE, I type Snowe and SonyEricsson pops up because I've saved it in the dictionary. It has the ability for you to go into your custom dictionary and see the words you've entered and delete some that you no longer want or need which is amazing for when you slip while entering a custom word and enter it wrong, like Fidm instead of Fido... whoops!!

    the SE SMS system is the smartest, easiest, most powerfull SMS system that I have EVER used. Ever.

    however, with good comes bad.
    the SE lacks a delete all in one shot feature so you'll have to go into the inbox, delete all, then go to the sent items, delete all. Unless I'm missing something, which I will append the review later if I am. The S710a also has this lack of a "clean all" feature and requires manual deletion of every folder, you dn't have to delete SMS one by one but you have to go into inbod/outbox etc etc and delete all


    Yes, SE still lacks a "cleanup" option similar to that of the Moto's where you can clean all your SMS in one shot. inbox/sent/drafts etc etc etc. One click and all gone is still missing from the Z520, unfortunately.

    However, what I really like on the Z520 and the W600 as well is the ability to mark several now. Previously you had to keep adding recepients to send out a mass SMS, or have already created a pre-defined "group" in your phonebook of those recepients. Predefined groups are great, and are still on the Z520, but lack any spontaneity if you want to send out a big message to more people then your Huartz group.

    The Z520 does lack an adjustable font size though, as most phones seem to lack these days. I found the text size to be fine but some of our harder of seeing friends may have an issue. So like anything else, try and see a real one before you jump in if text size is important to you.




    phonebook
    The phonebook is typical from SE. It's excellent.
    it's well thoght out, allowing you to set primary #'s and allows you to scrool right/left through the other saved #'s without needing to hit "details" or go any deeper into the menu to see. The layout is smart and simple. it's a great phonebook.

    you can also use the SIM card or PHONE MEMORY on the Z520 so for those of you who use the sim card and don't sync with outlook will be happy.

    sync
    The Z520 sync's up with ease which seems to be typical of SE. I don't even bother loading the SE software. I just use the generic Bluetooth IRMC sync that's on my desktop with the BT dongle. names/calendar entries/Email addresses all sync up.

    interestinly enough, the Z520 also has that SE trait where you can send the whole phonebook from one ?SE to another. the Benefit of this is you can send your contacts from your OLD SE to the new one. Not only that, it will also send any custom pictures and ringtones you have associated on your old SE.

    speed dialing
    the Speed dialing setup on the Z520 is also straightforward.
    gone are the days of sim card positioning. Here are the "nokia" days of pick the slot and pick the person.

    Profiles
    Like the S710a and SE's before it the Z520 employs an excellent profile system.
    it's pretty much the same so I'll borrow from previous SE reviews:
    1> the profile can have a # to which to automatically forward.
    For example, my HOME profile has my home # under the forward option. SO, when i select the HOME profile the phone automatically will forward all my calls to my house, or any predetermined #. these #'s are independant of each other so you can have different forwarding #'s in the different profiles.. Work will forward to work etc..

    I have a "Do not disurb" profile in which i forward my calls to VM that way I can still get SMS if it's really an emergency, i use that profile when i just want people to leave me alone for a bit so I can clean my head and enjoy a fresh cup of my favorite huartz coffee

    2> accepted callers list.
    I can set a list of accepted callers, dependant on the profile (8 profiles, 8 lists) what happens here is that based on the profile I can select who will get to call me, and who the phone will bounce to my VM. I have a profile in which only the most important people in my life can get me.. Close friends, family etc.. their #'s i've placed on that list so if they call my phone will ring. If anyone not on that list calls they will be bounced to VM. The great thing about this is that even thouth the phone bounces them you can still see tha tthey called as the phone keeps track of who called in the call list. Speaking of call list>

    I would also have liked to see a "not accepted" callers list where you can single out a few people that are annoying you and you don't want to talk to them. Or instantly bounce blocked call ID's since i never answer those. Maybe is SE is reading this they can implement that into future firwmare of this phone or future products


    Themes
    of course one of SE's strong points is the fact that they employ complete themes. Not skins, not wallpapers (although you can still do wallpapers) but complete head to toe themes. Some themes even contain their own ringtones so when you apply that theme the ringtone changes accordingly. Imagine you have a Super Mario Brothers theme, when applied you'll also get the SMB ringtone to.

    SE's theme implementations are very good and give usesrs that ability of customization.
    You can even design your own themes quite easily using SW if the thousands of themes out there don't suit your fancy.

    However, one sore spot is that during my usage of the Z520 I found Z520 themes few and far between because of the 128x160 screen. Some may be thinking, "but Treatz, just DL T610/T616/T637 themes since the screen is the same size"
    This doesnt' work though as the phone will complain about the theme being corrupted. This has to do with the Static images on the T610 vs the animated themes of the Z520. I'm sure soneone could convert them, but I didn't have the time.


    Connectivity
    No shortcomings here.
    the phone clearly makes up for the lack of connectivity of the Z500.
    Truth be told, this phone is so much better then the Z500 I dunno why SE even chose to stick with the Z based numbering.

    IR
    The phone features IR.
    while I personally no longer use IR, i'm sure some do and you'd be happy to know it's there

    Bluetooth
    Not only does the Z520 have bluetooth, but it features the new improved 1.2 bluetooth known ot many as 2.0 bluetooth. with frequency hopping and the ability to have up to 5 connections instead of the 1 phone 1 connection setup of 1.1 BT, the Z520 is a powerfull little phone indeed.

    You can leave your BT headset connected and still proceed to share media across bluetooth to your PC or friends BT device courtesy of BT 1.2

    I'm also happy to report, that as expected, the Z520 is full real bluetooth. No CDMA neutering going on here. you get the full BT applications and access with the Z520.

    Battery
    The Z520 features the same 900mah Lithium Polymer battery that the K750/W800 and W600 use. However, unlike those models listed this unit has the smaller screen, as a result battery life on the Z520 is excellent. the Z520 easily lasts me a full day of calls/sms/mms and wap hofo surfing while the Jabra BT 500 and now JX10 was attached. It's right up there with the big boys of battery and hangs with the V360 easily. Those of you looking for good battery life will be happy in the Z520's battery performance.

    Ratings:
    Performance......................9
    Build Quality.......................9
    Battery Life........................9
    Features for $....................8
    Keypad.............................10
    Camera................................6
    Bluetooth...........................10

    Overall........................8.5

    Excellent features set and implementation.
    Excellent phone overall.
    lack of EDGE really only "flaw"

    PROs
    *Excellent RF
    *Excellent handoff's
    *Excellent call quality incoming/outgoing
    *Great volume levels
    *Nice Internal screen
    *SE Software, still works extremely well
    *Excellent phonebook implementation
    *Customizable 4 way joystick
    *No corners cut on connectivity, everything is there
    *Authoritative "click" when opening and closing clamshell.
    *Excellent SE Email client
    *New fast port connector works great

    CONs
    *Lack of EDGE
    *Speakerphone not the loudest
    *Speakerphone can't be used in the closed position with current SW
    *CSTN external LCD hard to read at times
    *Camera not the greatest
    *New fast port connector means new $$ needed for accessoreis
    Last edited by Treatz; 01-04-2006 at 05:11 PM.

  2. #2
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    great job as usual
    quick, get a w810 to review


  3. #3
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    Nice Phone, Xcepting lack of EDGE !
    My choice over the RZr.



    Is that your Thumb Print & Kisser in this Shot?

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    I have both, and i prefer everything of the Z520 over the RAZR.

    Only problem is, i've been so accustomed to the size of the RAZR in my pocket that i'm having trouble getting used to the Z520 being there

  5. #5
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    great review!
    i might get this phone for back up once i get my w900i from bongo tomorrow
    HOFO Feedbacks

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    I saw this phone and it was TINY!!! but LOUD all the syncing works well, he was testing it with another member's Dell700m. If you 're looking for a good value phone call treatz.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for very detailed review.

    Since K700 themes are compatible with Z500, I believe K700/Z500 themes are also compatible with Z520?

  8. #8
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    Cool review! The grey is hotness since mine never came with one...

  9. #9
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    I have this phone and personally prefer it over my w600i.. It's a great phone with alot of useable features and amazing keypad... I agree with Treatz, if you're into text you may want to up the package. You can burn up messages on this thing..

    Great Review once again Treatz!!

  10. #10
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    what no dedicated send and end keys... SE sucks!

    hey treatz the w550i i had ... used the up for the activity menu as well.. for some reason the w600i scrapped it.

    also bluetooth 1.2 and 2.0 are different... but both support multiple devices.


    Resistance is Futile! get the nokia n8 housing for your iphone lol
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  11. #11
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    Wirelessly posted (SonyEricssonW600i/R7B Browser/NetFront/3.3 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1)

    Quote Originally Posted by shaolinmonk
    what no dedicated send and end keys... SE sucks!

    hey treatz the w550i i had ... used the up for the activity menu as well.. for some reason the w600i scrapped it.

    also bluetooth 1.2 and 2.0 are different... but both support multiple devices.
    ah yes, you're right.
    http://bluetooth.com/Bluetooth/Learn/Basics/
    Last edited by Treatz; 01-05-2006 at 09:22 AM.

  12. #12
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    i got this on my new line.

    great lil phone

    the keytones are loud one first operation,i was thought it wasa defect to how loud they were!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holishi
    Thanks for very detailed review.

    Since K700 themes are compatible with Z500, I believe K700/Z500 themes are also compatible with Z520?
    Actually, K700/Z500 themes don't work with the Z520. W800/K750 themes work fine.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRDaltis
    Actually, K700/Z500 themes don't work with the Z520. W800/K750 themes work fine.
    excellent.
    thanks for the correction

  15. #15
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    hey did you know that if you enter multiple words i in the "spell screen" when texting it adds all the words individually?

    that's cool..

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