For users who want loads of features crammed into a smart phone, the E-TEN glofiish X800 packs everything but the kitchen sink. While E-TEN is the new kid on the block, the company is making itself a home in a neighbourhood ruled by Nokia and HTC. Is the X800 ready to rule the roost or should it just stay indoors? We pounded the pavement with this handset to test its strengths.
The X800 is available for £385 SIM-free.
Relative to most phones, the X800 cuts a chunky profile. Still, if you sized it up next to the similarly featured HTC TyTN II and Nokia N95, it would be punching in welterweight. Although tall, the X800 stays slim and trim and we didn't have too much trouble slipping it into our pockets.
The X800 has a solid and well-built feeling, and in an accidental drop, you probably wouldn't find it on the floor in pieces. E-TEN has added red rings around the VGA (0.3-megapixel) camera on the front and the 2-megapixel camera on the back. It's not a revolutionary design point, but it's a nice touch.
While relatively small to the size of the handset, you'll find the touchscreen large enough to comfortably press with the provided stylus. But if you'd rather not dirty the screen with your tapping, you can use the joystick, and we found this fairly effective. When using our fingers, we noticed the screen's border does get in the way of navigation. We also yearned for a scroll wheel, particularly when reading long emails.
The X800's 640x480-pixel (VGA) display looks noticeably sharp, as E-TEN is keen to rave about on its Web site. All the Windows Mobile icons are noticeably less fuzzy and pictures look that much more detailed.
You can connect to practically anything, including Wi-Fi, HSDPA and GPS, and we managed this with relative ease. While there was no sat-nav software on the X800, we couldn't test out navigation, but it picked up satellites well.
Considering the various connection options, getting emails was a snap. Of course, it all works over Windows Mobile 6 Professional so it's primarily aimed at Microsoft Exchange users. But here's the rub: there's no Qwerty keypad, so you have to type on the touchscreen.
We're not against virtual keypads, per se, but if you love to write long emails out on mechanical Qwerty keypads, then you and this phone are going to get along like water and oil. Fortunately, the on-screen, 'Easy Keyboard' option isn't too painful to use but you'll still need the stylus.
During our tests, we found audio quality during calls on the X800 transmitted loud and clear. This was also the case for the loudspeaker, which, at full volume, conducted plenty of sound waves for our eardrums to enjoy. There's also the option to use Bluetooth for calls, which we also used without any problems.
Sadly, with only 64MB of RAM, running several apps at the same time was slower than we would have liked. It's a shame E-TEN didn't put more RAM in this phone to speed its performance.
While you shouldn't be aiming to shoot Gurskys on this 2-megapixel camera, you can still send MMS pictures to your friends and colleagues and at a push, produce small prints. The X800 also includes video capabilities, but don't expect to be Gondry either.
Battery life is quoted at 5 to 7 hours talk time. Overall, we were disappointed with the battery performance, particularly when we used all of the features intermittently. We had to charge the X800 before the end of on day, which isn't great.
While its products aren't necessarily on the cutting edge, E-TEN still produces quality handsets. The X800 features a solid casing and comes with many useful features. Unfortunately, it's let down by a lack of RAM and droopy battery life.
If this device had moved into the mobile market a few years ago, it might have revolutionised the whole smart phone block. Looking at it now, among the high-rising N95 8GB and innovative TyTN II, we can't help but feel that it's just skipping down the wrong street.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday