Hang on, we’ve been here before haven’t we ? Yep, the iMate Ultimate 6150 and 8150 were designed with a similar idea. Keep the handsets looking the same but twiddle with the specs.
On the right we have the grey unit, aka the GSmart MS800. This has 3G + HSDPA and video calling, however the black unit on the
left is the MW700. This only gets quad-band EDGE / GPRS and no 3G, therefore no face-pointing camera.
Both units do however get a pretty respectable specs list and they don’t look too bad either. Apart from the fact that the round silver navigation band doesn’t spin, it’s an instant feel-good factor from both handsets. Given their similar design we’ve lumped them both into one review.
Specs (Both devices) –
– Windows Mobile 6 Professional
– Marvell PXA270 CPU running at 520 Mhz
– 240×320 pixel screen
– 2 megapixel camera
– microSD, 256Mb ROM, 64Mb RAM
– WiFi (802.11b/802.11g), Bluetooth, GPS (SiRF Star III chipset)
– FM Radio
On the left of the phone is a reset hole for poking your stylus if things go wrong. Below that is a camera button protected by some little stud things to presumably stop you hitting it by accident. It’s also indented for even more protection.
The scroll-wheel doesn’t spin all the way round, it instead rocks up and down and you can push it in to select stuff. I like this sort of thing for one-handed control of a phone. Below that is a microSD card slot for adding extra storage
complete with some wording …just to let you know.
At the bottom of the phone you’ve just got your miniUSB port for charging and sync’ing with your computer. You can also see the microphone hole and, to the right there’s the stylus.
The stylus, once you pull it out, is a fixed-length stylus in
On the right there’s a 2.5mm headphone adaptor for listening to your favourite tunes and doing hands-free….
…. whilst at the top is a nice chunky power button which is again protected from accidental presses.
Notice the front-facing camera on the MS800 – this is really the only way you
can tell the difference between the two handsets physically (apart from the
colour of course).
Up front there’s a whole load of chunkiness as far as buttons go. There’s six buttons which are big, bold and easy to locate. The bottom-right button can be held down to turn GPS on or off, plus you can tap it quickly to go back from the application you’re using. The lower left (Windows Start) button does a similar trick – hold it down and you get some quick-launch options to let you switch profiles, rotate the screen, adjust brightness or close programs. Press it once and you get the regular Windows Start menu.
The navigation system works well, once you’ve ignored the fact that the silver
band doesn’t spin. Everything is well build and sturdy with the navigation
control providing good feed-back.
Now, unless I’m very much mistaken I couldn’t find a way to lock the screen. It seems that if you simply tap the power button it’ll sleep quite happily and pressing any key other than the power won’t do anything. I’ve also noticed that GSmart have added something within the Settings function to turn off the touch screen functionality during a call to save power and also stop you accidentally launching stuff with your ear. Nice touch. It’ll also vibrate when an outgoing call is answered – something I’ve only ever seen on the HTC Touch Diamond – plus you can turn it on or off. Nice touches.
While we’re still looking at the outside, let’s flip both devices over and look
at the rear camera then show you some of the shots it produces
Both camera are auto-focus 2 megapixel shooters without a flash.
They sit next to the external speaker and you can see them here covered by their
protective peel-off covers (we weren’t allowed to keep these units
unfortunately). The camera software is pretty sweet and the auto-focus happens
quickly. The resulting pictures were bright and vivid. Low-light shots camer out
fairly well too, which is excellent considering there’s no flash here. The
camera software comes with a huge range of options too, with several screen
modes, effects and settings. I loved the GPS tagging too – this is
excellent if you’re travelling around and want to record exactly where you
snapped a photo. It’ll warn you about leaving this function on, which is another
Here’s some shots I took on the phone. My one major gripe with phone
manufacturers is when they DON’T set the camera to it’s highest available
settings as default – this happened here, with the pictures below all snapped on
1280×960 instead of the highest 1600×1200 setting. Doah!
At this point I felt like a software AND hardware video was
needed. There’s a lot of very interesting tweaks to the software, with a control
panel called "Smart Touch" inside the device to ease you through the sometimes
tricky Windows Mobile navigation process. Although it didn’t perhaps look as
well produced as the HTC TouchFLO and TouchFLO 3D system it worked quite well..
That QuickMark software is something we touched upon a
couple of years ago,
and I thought it deserved it’s own little video…
Take the back panel of the phone away and you’ll find yourself a 1300 mAh
battery which performs well. It’s the same on both handsets – in fact, you can
probably try to play spot the difference over the next few photos !
The SIM card goes into the top-left section, just above where
the stylus finishes…
Inside we’re met with a mainly green screen and some funky
GSmart animations on bootup and shutdown. Instantly you can see that some
thought has been put into the device, and this is always a plus for us here at
coolsmartphone.com. You can even adjust the startup and shutdown animations if
you want ! Blimey! Where were GSmart a few years back when we all craved these
tweaks ? :)
The screen above is taken from the main GSmart "Smart Touch"
system, which – I have to say – works pretty darned well. Sure, it’s missing the
odd bell and whistle that you could find on competitors like the HTC TouchFLO
system, but it does the finger-prodding navigation well and I’ve rarely cursed
at it…… …always a good thing. In fact, I’m going to completely ignore the
standard Windows Mobile "Today" screen here because I’m sure we’ve all looked at
it far too much these past few years. It includes all the usual stuff –
contacts, Live Search (which no-one uses, it’s Google, let’s face it) tasks and
the date. However, back in the Smart Touch world we’ve got funky drag and drop
action with this shortcut manager, which lets you plonk new apps into the slider
mechanism at the bottom of the Smart Touch screen. If you haven’t already seen
this in action on the video below, go see – it’s very fluid.
On the above screen you can also choose the "Wizard" app which
lets you quickly rotate the screen or adjust the brightness – even switch
profiles. All really quickly and easily.
In the "standard" program listing we’ve got some lovely extras from GSmart. The
Phone Manager folder includes a block list and SIM manager, whilst in the
Multimedia folder we’ve got an Audio Mixer, Voice Recorder, Java app and a Photo
Editor which I showed on the video above. All great stuff and added value.
Along with the GPS photo-tagging you also get a GPS tracker to
plot your journeys. In the Tools folder there’s a Magnifier, Pocket Remote
(it’ll let you control your PC to some extend) and a backup utility to stop your
important documents vanishing. In Settings you can tweak the SMS settings,
switch the band, look at the network broadcasts and much more.
Whilst these phones run Windows Mobile 6 (as opposed to 6.1,
which nearly all new Windows Mobile handsets roll out with now), I instantly
took a liking to them. The design, whilst perhaps simple at times, works well
and the handsets perform as expected. I’ve used the phones for several weeks now
and I struggle to find anything bad to say about them. The GPS lock is fast and
spot on, the camera produces excellent photos, the call quality is good, the
interface is good, the screen is bright and crisp, the device is a mere 15mm
thick and it’s got WiFi and great network connectivity (in the MS800 at least.
I’m not totally sure who the devices are targeting – the design of the exterior
does lack a little flair, but the OS improvements seem to push this towards the
personal customers. For me, I’d recommend this to someone who wasn’t IT literate
but needed a PDA for their job – it’ll sync your contacts, email and calendar –
it’ll do your push email, it’ll remind you about that important meeting, but
it’s got a friendly face and a rather nice interface underneath.