Quickie: Sony Ericsson TM717 (Equinox)

January 3, 2010

After Mobilize, I asked T-Mobile for a Motorola CLIQ review unit, but this Sony Ericsson TM717 (Equinox) arrived instead – oops :)

So I’m not the target demographic for this device, but I have to admit that the Equinox is quite sexy for a flip phone! It’s surprisingly compact, and features some interesting touches like a secondary OLED display and a programmable notification light…

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Motorola Droid camera

November 6, 2009

I’ve been using the Motorola Droid for a week now, and while the device is quite impressive overall, the camera is a mess…

“But wait,” you protest, “those shots look fine.” Sure, the Droid can take pretty decent pictures (slide show). But I’m a camera buff, and do you know how much effort I put into these?

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Samsung T929 (Memoir) camera

July 20, 2009

It’s been almost 6 months since I picked up the Samsung T929 (Memoir), the first subsidized 8 megapixel cameraphone in the US, and I’m overdue for a review :)

Over the years, I have tested a plethora of 5 megapixel devices – the i-mobile 902, the Nokia N95/N95-3/N95-4, the Sony Ericsson K850i, the Nokia N82, the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE), the Nokia N96, the Nokia N85, the Nokia N79, and more recently the Nokia N97

There are now several 8 megapixel cameraphones available from Samsung (Pixon, Memoir, INNOV8, Omnia HD), LG (Renoir, Viewty Smart), Sony Ericsson (C905, W995), and Nokia (N86 8MP) – not to mention upcoming 12 megapixel units.

I’m getting a Nokia N86 8MP review unit soon, but so far I’ve only played with the Samsung i8510 (INNOV8), the Samsung i8910 (Omnia HD), and of course the Memoir.

For over 4 months I used it as my primary imaging device, and 1000+ pictures later, I have to say that the Memoir features the best camera I have ever enjoyed on any phone – and by a wide margin!

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Pictures taken with the Nokia N85

March 7, 2009

In 3 months of ownership, I snapped nearly 1000 pictures with my Nokia N85, US version, including some truly great ones! That covers most of the pictures taken during my holiday road trip to New Orleans.

Right about now, you probably expect me to write a glowing review of the N85 camera, but I can’t – it’s pretty nice, but it’s not good enough.

Despite almost identical specs, it falls short of the cream of the 5 megapixel crop: the Nokia N82, the Nokia N95, the Motorola ZN5, the Sony Ericsson K850i, and the i-mobile 902

The culprit? Noise, noise, and more noise – just like its sibling the Nokia N79, the Nokia N96, and the 3 megapixel 5800/E71/E66. Do you see a trend here?

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Podcast: Talking with Matt #3

December 15, 2008

Welcome to my 3rd podcast (41 min) with Matthew Bennett – well, the audio version anyway! Look for the video version on his blog…

Topics include the Nokia N85, the Nokia 5800, Google Maps, N-series, photography and video recording. It’s a bit long, but let’s just blame the cold and rainy day :)

Click here to subscribe to this podcast.


Pictures taken with the Motorola ZN5

December 12, 2008

In the past 2 years I’ve used quite a few 5 megapixel camera phones: the i-mobile 902, the Nokia N95/N95-3/N95-4, the Sony Ericsson K850i, the Nokia N82, and now the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE)

Without mincing words, the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE) is a mediocre phone that takes stunning pictures!

Spec-wise, the ZN5 is similar to the K850i. The 5 megapixel (Kodak branded) camera features auto-focus, macro, a xenon flash, and an active lens cover.

Exposure and light metering are excellent. Colors are rich and well balanced. Low-light performance is pretty good for a CMOS sensor, but the i-mobile 902 is still better thanks to its CCD sensor.

The ZN5 beats the speedy N82 with an even faster startup time and faster (LED-assisted) auto-focus – it’s almost as quick as a point-and-shoot digital camera!

The macro is somewhat disappointing because it’s unable to focus on objects as closely as the other devices. This is not a deal breaker, however.

When the time comes to upload pictures there’s no 3G. No accelerometer means no auto-rotation, just like the i-mobile 902. No GPS means no geo-tagging – then again, it’s also missing from the K850i.

Unfortunately, video recording with the ZN5 is limited demoted to QCIF (176×144 pixels at 15 fps), vs. QVGA (320×240 pixels at 30 fps) with the K850i, and VGA (640×480 pixels at 30 fps) with the other devices…

The verdict? As a camera, the ZN5 is one of the best 5 megapixel devices on the market today – it’s up there with the fabulous N82. As a phone (or a video recorder), it’s a different story.


Motorola ZN5: the good, the bad, and the ugly

December 4, 2008

So I played with the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE) for almost a month, and it’s been a mixed bag. The camera is absolutely fantastic, but data connectivity is severely lacking because the phone was crippled by T-Mobile…

It’s not a smarphone – feature-wise, the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE) is very similar to the Sony Ericsson K850i, which I reviewed last year. The main difference is that 3G on the K850i was replaced with WiFi on the ZN5.

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Podcast: Talking with Matthew Bennett

November 24, 2008

As promised here’s my first audio podcast (17 min) with Matthew Bennett! It’s also available as a video podcast on his blog…

It was recorded with a Nokia N96. Pardon the background noise and the low light – we’re still adjusting things :)

Click here to subscribe to this podcast.


Unboxing the Nokia N96, US version

November 22, 2008

This is very exciting! Yesterday I received a Nokia N96, US version (aka. N96-3) from WOM World. For the next several days I’ll be putting it through its paces and using it for a secret project…

So far I’ve only managed to take some pictures and make a video of the unboxing. Then again, I’d already played with the N96 at the Nokia lounge.

I used the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE) to take most of the pictures :)

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Unboxing the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE)

November 3, 2008

Wow, T-Mobile is on a roll lately. First 3G, then the first Android device in the world, and now the first subsidized 5-megapixel cameraphone in the US :)

Yes, I can has Motorola ZN5 (ZINE) to review! Take a look at my unboxing video and pictures

So what’s so special about this device?
- 5 megapixel Kodak camera with auto-focus, macro, xenon flash and lens cover
- WiFi support
- Standard 3.5 mm audio connector
- Affordable

And what’s missing?
- 3G support
- Not a smartphone
- Inoperable without SIM inserted

I’ll be playing with the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE) for a few weeks, with a focus on camera performance (pun intended). Can the camera compete with Nokia’s finest? I’ll keep you posted.


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