As technology relentlessly marches onward, smart phones tend to get more of things. More megapixels, more regular pixels, more gigahertz, more cores -- it's relentless. But until now, we've had to make do with only one SIM card.
Rejoice, citizens for we are about to leave those dark and frightening times behind us -- the ViewSonic V350 mobile phone has dual-SIM capability, and runs Android 2.2 to boot. We've gone hands-on with the V350 and here we bring you our first impressions.
Grabbing hold of the phone, we have to say we've felt sturdier handsets. At 125g the V350 felt eerily light, and while that's no bad thing, we hope it's not an indicator of shoddy build quality.
The phone is a decent size, measuring 61 by 114 by 12mm. It felt comfortable in our hands, and the rounded design was quite satisfying. It's not the slimmest phone we've ever wrapped our meaty digits around, but it's slender enough to slip into your pockets without any hassle.
Along the bottom of the phone you'll find the usual four touch-sensitive buttons associated with Android, and around the edge of the V350 there's a band of silver that's wider at the bottom of the phone. It does add an element of class, we suppose, and the back of the phone is flat, with a brushed aluminium effect. That looks a little out of place, to be honest.
We feel slightly mean criticising the V350's design, because it's built to be useful, not stylish. With that in mind, let's talk about the dual-SIM gubbins.
There's space in the V350 for two separate SIM cards, and it can run on two networks simultaneously. That could come in handy if you need to keep your work and personal bills separate, for instance, or even if you live in a signal black spot and want a SIM card from a different provider to use as backup, in case your bars mysteriously vanish.
When you fire up the phone app, to the right of the numerical keypad you'll see two separate call buttons, each assigned to a different SIM card, so it's dead easy to decide which SIM you want to use for a call. On the homescreen you can see the names of both networks you're connected to, which is very handy.
We want to use this feature more before we decide how helpful it is, and how well it's implemented, but for now we're cautiously optimistic. This feature won't be useful to everyone, but to a small group of users it could prove massively beneficial.
Elsewhere, the V350 looks like a budget Android phone. It's running Android 2.2 Froyo, which means you'll be able to play Flash video in the phone's browser, among very many other cool features. Android has excellent email integration and an app store bursting with useful stuff to add to your phone.
There's a 600HMz processor inside, which isn't particularly powerful, but could ensure the phone is cheap. We noticed occasional lag during our brief testing, but nothing catastrophic.
There's a 5-megapixel camera on the back of the V350, and the 3.5-inch capacitive screen has a resolution of 320x480 pixels. Wi-Fi and 3G are ready to go as well.
All things considered, the ViewSonic V350 could prove to be a handy little mobile if you need two SIM cards. We're hoping that with more testing the phone proves easy to use, and the slightly weak processor doesn't slow the phone down too much. Stay tuned for a full review.
Edited by Nick Hide