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Consumer Affairs
Friday, April 1, 2005
Connect on the move

Though i-Mate’s SmartPhone SP3 has been out for a while, there is nothing dated about its sleek design, clear colour screen and extensive functionality. Despite the huge array of features it is surprisingly easy to use, thanks to its reliance on the Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 operating system, and the straightforward home start-up screen.

If ever you get lost in your navigation just use the combined home/history key to return to the start-up screen or to step back a move at a time. There’s also a Quick list. Just hold the power key down a second time briefly for items such as key lock and flight mode (which disables the phone from being awoken by an incoming call) to appear.
You use the Start key to reach the menus (services and options). They’re all numbered so you can speed up the process as you learn the number sequences. At the top of the home screen there is a ticker with icons representing the most recent ones used. Aside from standard SMS the Smartphone offers MMS (multimedia SMS), email, Bluetooth and GPRS (for the internet) connectivity.
Bluetooth provides connection to wireless devices such as your laptop, home PC or headphone, for example. Microsoft’s ActiveSync is also included to provide cable connection to synchronise data with your computer, and even download music files. Unlike standard cellphones with their own software, SmartPhone gives you access to your PC Outlook Contacts, Calendar and emails. You can dial any contact, add them to one of 99 speed dials, be alerted to appointments, and read your emails when on the move – and they’re easy to read on the phone’s clear screen.
SmartPhone comes with a built-in camera, video and voice recorder, and a couple of games. Windows Media Player allows you to play audio music with the supplied stereo headphones, amongst plenty of other features. Battery life has been nearly doubled, compared to previous models, due in part to a light sensor to adapt to ambient light, with up to 4 hours’ talk time and 140 hours on stand by.
The i-Mate SP3 is distributed by Leaf Wireless in Randburg. Check with your local cellphone outlet for suitable contract deals. Although the recommended retail price is R3 978 including VAT, I’ve found some outlets selling it for as much as R4 999. It is, however, available as an upgrade in a cellphone contract. In any case, be careful what you sign and bear in mind you can buy direct from Leaf. Call them on (011) 326 1844 or log on to: www.leafwireless.com There’s more information at www.imate.com Next issue I’ll look at their recently launched i-Mate PDA2k, a feature-rich combined cellphone and palmtop. By Nigel Benetton

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:18.2 1st April, 2005
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