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BenQ-Siemens EF81 reviewMobile library: Reviews

BenQ-Siemens EF81 review

The phone left a strange impression; on one hand, it is nice looking and well assembled, on second hand, there are some issues with ergonomics.

It is definitely an expensive prestige model, yet in spite of that it is too sluggish, even when the most basic functions are executed.

In design of EF81 one can notice the influence of Motorola RAZR, which was mentioned by all reviewers who tested the new phone. Having said that, EF81 does not look like any other model. Being in a mainstream and copying the inventions of others are two different things, right? Well, this phone is not a copy. Its original and has its own personality. And sure it deserves the attention of potential buyers.

Anyhow, EF81 has some specific features which some will not notice, and for some they might become a selling point in favor of the other model. Lets see what I mean by that

Appearance of EF81

Traditionally I pay a lot of attention to the exterior in my reviews. The matter is that in our everyday lives we rarely recall the technical features of our phones all those GPRS, EDGE or number of display colors. Well, may be only to brag about the new gadget... Thats why we do not see often the people who do not want to part with their veteran phones. Its not a question of money, good phones are largely affordable for most of the working citizens. It is a matter of ergonomics, matter of attachment to the familiar design, of comfort and convenience of the old phone.

Well, BenQ-Siemens EF81 looks great. Such impressive, elite, hi-tek gadget which is pleasant to hold. Rectangular shape, rounded edges, most of the front panel is metallic.

Its a folder, and not just any folder, but a flat, compact and an intriguingly heavy folding phone. Its size 945115,9 mm, 110 g. The front panel is covered by the layer of polished metal, encasing the outer display. The display plays an important role in EF81. not only it informs the owner of the current time and the messages (or calls) but also works as a view finder for built-in camera. The auxiliary one? No, the only. Such unexpected solution. We will talk about later.

The TFT display is capable of producing 262,000 colors and has 120160 pixels resolution. It looks good in the sunlight, the picture is clear but small. The display itself is small.

Four buttons under the display (right there, on the front cover) change their functions depending on the phones mode. The tiny pictograms on the display will show you the functions of each button, if you have a good sight and if you can guess what they mean.

Further below is the speaker, under the plastic grid (its part of the case, not covered with the metal)... Plastic is plastic. The phone, that I got my hands on, is obviously used, and the silver plastic front cover along with other parts bear the battle scars, caused by the hands of the unknown experimenter. It is worth noting because the same is likely to happen during everyday use.

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81


There are no buttons on the sides of the phone, only the molded depressions helpful for opening it with one hand. And the phone unfolds with some effort and the affirming click. The hinge has a spring, which gives an impression of semi-automatic opening and closing. But, for now, we do not open the phone and simply examine the exterior.

The bottom edge of the case, close to the right corner if you look from the front, has a proprietary connector, similar to all other BenQ-Siemens phones. It interfaces with the charger, the computer data cable and the stereo headset. I had only the charger so I could connect to the computer via the Bluetooth only (everything was OK), and there was no way for me to impress myself with the design and quality of the stereo headset, not ever theoretically I never held it in my hands and never even saw it. However, those who had say it is a good piece.

Upper edge of the folded phone is a hinge hosting the built-in camera. The lens is covered with the tiny piece of glass, and the camera is 2 megapixels with no flash and no mirror for making the self-portrait. The first is hardly needed, the second is not needed at all because at the moment we open the phone the lens rotates and aims at us. One can capture oneself or check your hair-do using the luxurious 2.2 display as an electronic mirror. However, taking shot of anything else, using the display as a view-finder, is not possible.

Well, I am running ahead of myself... The rear cover, as usually, has a cover, under cover is a battery, and under the battery the SIM-card and the MicroSD flash-memory card ( an empty slot, in my case). The battery holds them in place by its edge. And the cover itself locks in its place in the upper half of the phone by the spring.

In general, the design is sturdy and reliable. I did notice a minor free play between the halves, but it is a test sample after all And I did not really like the choice of plastic for battery cover. The same rough plastic is used for the rear part of the case, and while the case looks virgin, the battery cover bears some blotches. Its hard to judge the quality by examining the used sample, so I wont rush to blame the manufacturer. I hope the new unit looks fine.

Lets open the phone. Large... no, huge display with 240320 pixels resolution. Although, after turning the phone one, one realizes that the display is smaller than it looks (the black frame around the display under the protective glass creates an illusion of bigger size). But the display is very nice, anyway. 262,000 bright colors. Looks duller in the sunlight, but it does not matter, because it can not be used as a view-finder for camera.

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81


The lens looks at the user. If I turn the camera on, the guy who looks at me from the display is me. Wide-angle optics distorts the proportions, quite understanding at close range, yet the first look is puzzling. What happened to my face? My nose? My ears? Eventually, one gets used to it Similar experience you get from the webcam at close range, watching your kisser in the monitor for the first time.

The keypad is excellent. Its made like flat metallic panel separated by squares with some kind of glowing rubber, and the numbers are also glowing. The numbers reminded me the digits on the Russian commanders watch. There is something to it it will be hard to misdial, even when dialing blind. Large square with joystick (with a square button in the middle of it) is ornamented by the constellation of the under-display function buttons. Thanks to the flatness of the case the phone lies in the hand nicely, and the thumb lands precisely at the keypad. And the keypad, while raised some doubts at first sight, turned out convenient. Very convenient!

What I did not like is a heave hinge spring, which I mentioned before. Opening the phone with one hand took some practice. Although may be it is even for the better? I am not going to list it as a fault. Let it be the trait.

The system

Bummer! Its sluggish. Pity, because everything looks just great. It starts with showing the episode from the Star Wars, and then slows down.

Reminded me the latest gadgets from Sony Ericsson. W710i phone is not the top of the line, classic budget gadget, or the middle class. No auto-focus, cheap plastic all over, tiny display. Yet the demo video runs with such quality, that your hand is reaching for the valet to pay for the little sporty gadget, and stop wasting time on debates with the sales rep.

And EF81 is sluggish. The phone is slow! Lets open the system menu. The phone takes a second to think. The menu looks nice, animated. Lets open folders and look for something. It thinks again. It thinks every time, no matter what you are doing. Only for a second, and yet and yet

I hold in my hands an international version (sample). Not to worry, the shops have the completely russified versions (saw one myself the other day). The soft is very similar, if not the same, on most of the new phones from BenQ-Siemens.

The ringer is loud. The phone plays music quite well, the built-in speaker does not vibrate or distort the sound. The vibrator is powerful enough. Of all other phones virtues, I would like to mention the very convenient address book, good email client and browser. Unfortunately, no EDGE, only GRPS All the rest standard features calendar, alarm, calculator are in place. The rest, I hope, will be clear from the screen captures on the illustrations

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81

BenQ-Siemens EF81


Multimedia features

I could not test the phone as a player the stereo headset was not among the accessories. Obviously someone had a hard time parting with it, the 64 MB of the phones memory still held a few songs. So, I will pass to you the opinion of other reviewers the phone sounds good and is quite suitable as a player.

Now, about the camera CMOS sensor with 2 megapixels resolution but look for yourself the pictures are very good. Basically, there are two problems the selection of settings and low shutter speed.

The first problem develops in the moment when you decide to change some settings. To do so, you have to open the phone. The lens turns around, facing you now, then you go to the menu, set up the resolution, white color balance or timer delay. Then you close the phone, turn it horizontally (as instructed by the animation on the screen), find the say cheese button (left one under the display if one looks at the front of the phone in its normal, portrait position). Then you aim. Push the button. The picture on display freezes.

Now you can take a coffee break and wait for the sound of the shutter. In a couple of seconds (Im trying to be nice here actually, a few seconds). Then you have to press the opposite button (right, or upper, if the phone is in landscape position) to save the picture in the memory or to the flash card.

Yes, you can forget about catching the moment. But the picture quality is quite good. Maximum resolution is 16001200 pixels. Printable quality photos, if shot in good light (the sensor is noisy when the illumination is poor) and the static objects (slow moving cars come out smudged). The memory of the cameras sluggishness have to be kept handy at all time.

Concerning the video quality, it no better and no worse in this phone as in all others. Maximum resolution of 176144 pixels (QCIF), the picture is not very sharp, but it is suitable for registering casual events.

BenQ-Siemens EF81

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Video sample, 3GP, 103 KB >>>

Conclusion

The phone is pretty, looks impressive and, probably, it worth its price (not a small one, by the way)...

Every time when I hold a new phone, I ask myself would I buy it for myself? In case of miniature slider EL71, the answer was easy yes, of course. In this case, I can not give such definite answer.

Very nice, calm, light-blue keypad illumination, bright and large display, a good camera, in general Well, a little sluggish in execution of its functions. Put it all together, and youll get BenQ-Siemens EF81. The phone for those who would like to look presentable. True mans folder, made in modern technocratic style.

In the end, everyone chooses what suits him.


Nickolay Nadezhdin, Mobiset.ru reviews
Translated by Olga Mexina (info@mobiset.ru)
Published 28 September 2006




Read full version of the article: http://eng.mobiset.ru/articles/text/?id=3






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