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Cingular 8525 Pocket PC Phone Review and First Impression

Posted by Keith Elder | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 01-03-2007

Some call it the best windows mobile phone currently available, others call it too expensive, others, well they are just jealous.

Several days ago I got an opportunity to get a new phone so I took it.  A friend of mine who was so smitten with my Cingular 8125 cell phone that I won at Tech Ed 2006 went out and got one themselves several months ago.  A few days ago their phone was stolen.  Since they only owned the phone for a very short time, it was going to cost the full retail price to replace it.  Most of us are familiar with how the carriers contracts work.  My contract period happened to expire recently and I could upgrade.  My friend offered me a fair market price for my phone and I decided to take the offer as an opportunity to get a newer model.  I know, I know, I’m a great friend 🙂

My Previous Phone – Cingular 8125

I was really happy with my 8125 in terms of the features.  There were a few things that bugged me about the 8125 though.  I wouldn’t call it the “perfect” device and for the record I never recommended it to anyone unless they were a power user.  I always loved the keyboard sliding out and seeing everyone’s eyes get big as if they were 8 years old and had just watched a Transformers commercial for the very first time.  The 8125 only had a 200MHz processor so it wasn’t the fastest kid on the block.  With a lot applications open, switching views (by sliding the keyboard out) could get sluggish more times than not.  It did play movies and MP3s with ease and was good at multi-tasking and was extremely stable (unlike previous Treo’s I’ve owned). 

The form factor of the 8125 is what I really liked about the device.  Having a big keyboard to type on is nice.  The downside to this form factor is it isn’t a one handed device.  To do pretty much anything it required sliding the keyboard out.  The keyboard was really too large to type with one hand.  Good luck doing anything if you had another hand occupied (steering wheel for example).  

The first time you open the 8125 the reaction is, wow, nice keyboard.  Then you try to use it and start to notice things aren’t as easy as they should be.  The keyboard took up the entire area allowed but things were too crammed.  I couldn’t easily dial numbers with the keyboard since they were on top of the row.  The two action buttons were too close to the top and hard to press.  Since the keyboard did take up the whole allowable area you had to use two hands to type on it or dial numbers.  The device is great at doing email and text messages and this is where the keyboard shines.  I could type faster on this device than any other I’ve ever owned (including Blackberry, Treo, Danger).  Obviously there are some areas to improve with the 8125.  So how does the newer 8525 stack up?

Cingular 8525

The 8525 builds upon the 8125’s form factor and fixes a few usability problems.  If you’ve owned the 8125, you really notice the small details they fixed.  For starters let’s start with the keyboard.  Based on the picture above notice it doesn’t take up the entire area.  This means it is smaller and easier to navigate with one hand.  They also removed the numbers from the top row, and made them blue and put them in the keyboard itself to make it faster to enter numbers.  The action buttons on the very top are not jammed up against the bottom of the device and are easier to press.  The keyboard itself also has a completely different feel and even though the keys are smaller, they are extremely easy to use and type with. 

Another major addition in terms of usability is the addition of the scroll wheel and “ok” buttons which are positioned on the left of the device.  This is a very welcomed feature and allows you to do a lot of things quicker and easier.  For example if you are on the phone screen, simply scroll down and you will see your speed dial options.  Much faster than having to press speed dial then the number you want to dial.  When reading emails you can press and hold the scroll wheel and a context menu appears whereby you can delete or move emails.  Honestly it reminds me of my blackberry days a lot.  The only difference is I can touch the screen to carry out actions instead of relying on the scroll wheel for my only way to interact with the device.

On the front of the device they added a windows button and an ok button.  Honestly I think these keys are useless and they are there to only make the other keys smaller and harder to hit.  This is one area I wish they’d left alone because I was perfectly happy with the way the 8125 was.  I actually wanted them to add this to the 8125 but since you have the scroll on the 8525 these buttons on the front aren’t needed I don’t think.

The 2.0 megapixel camera takes decent pictures.  Much better than the 1.3 megapixel camera on the 8125.  It also has a slider on the back which allows you to move between portrait and landscape mode.  I haven’t used it honestly but it is there.  Here is a picture I took from the back of my deck over looking the back yard.  Click it to view the full 1600×1200 picture.  This was taken on the highest settings available.

 Another welcomed feature is the 400MHz processor.  So far the device has been really responsive and the battery life has been better than expected.  Syncing with the device in Windows Vista works very well.  I like the way they integrated tagging of pictures and videos when syncing with the new Vista Windows Photo Gallery application.  If you haven’t used the new Windows Mobile Center here is what it looks like below.  This new version in Vista completely replaces Active Sync which leaves all of us warm and fuzzy inside.

The 8525 has other features such as Bluetooth, WIFI, and oh, 3G baby!  It also has a built-in light sensor which detects if it is dark and then turns on the blue back light on the keyboard.  A feature that is extremely welcomed.  On the 8125 I constantly pressed the space bar to get the keyboard to turn the back light on.  I did read somewhere that someone holds their finger on the sensor to make it come on although I haven’t had to do this yet.  If you have an Exchange Server you can also get your email in real-time just like a blackberry and with 3G, the wireless modem feature allows you to get on the Internet wherever service is available with your notebook.

Push to talk is also incorporated with the 8525 although it will not be available until a few months.  This is kind of a bummer since my sister and her husband have push to talk on their phones.  At least I have someone to play PTT with 🙂

Windows Mobile 6.0 also just got released recently and I hope this device gets an update ROM soon.  Mobile 6 has a lot of nice features and since it is the latest, I of course want it! 

If you haven’t looked into this device and you are a power user I would say give it a shot.  By far the best device I’ve owned to date and I hope I have another friend that gets their phone stolen when the next model comes out. 🙂

Comments (4)

why dont you just COPY the LG voyager from verzion and bring it to cingular…just put it a lil different but trust me, INCLUDING MYSELF it will be a BIG BIG BIG hit with cingular users! so do it exactly like the lg verizon phones but for cingular

How much does this phone cost and where can you buy it at?

how much would this phone cost

how much does this kind of phone charger cost? and where can i get one?

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