Friday, August 11, 2006

Doc's Dopod 838 Pro Photo Review


The Dopod 838 Pro was officially released last week in Malaysia and is the successor to the Dopod 838. Thanks to Yeapch for the review set which I have been playing with for a few days.
Here are the basic specifications from the Dopodasia Website.

Updated June 11th 2007. I have only recently bought one for myself and so I have added some new comments with my experience so far.
  • Basics


    l OS: Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0

    l Frequency: GSM Quadband (850/900/1800/1900)+WCDMA Triband (850/1900/2100)

    l Processor: Samsung 400MHz

    l Memory: 128MB ROM, 64MB RAM (persistent storage)

    l Size: 112.5 x 58 x 21.95 mm

    l Weight: 176 grams w/battery

    l Standby time: up to 220 hours

    l Talk time: up to 5 hours

    l Colour: Classic Black

  • Interface/messaging

    l Messages: SMS; MMS (English; Chinese support via CE-Star)

    l Email support: Outlook, multiple POP3, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo mail

    l Push mail (in conjunction with Exchange Server 2003 SP2)

    l Recording: Unlimited (up to memory capacity)

    l Voice tags: Yes

    l Hands free: Yes

  • Communications

    l Mobile data connectivity: EDGE/GPRS/UMTS

    l Bluetooth: Yes, v2.0

    l USB: Yes (Sync and charge)

    Screen

    l Main: 2.8" 240x320 resolution (QVGA)

    l Colors : 65536 colors TFT screen (effective)

    Multimedia

    l Supported ring tones: 40 chord polyphonic, MIDI/SP-MIDI/WMA/WMV/MP3/AMR/SMF

    l JAVA: Yes

    l Multimedia player: Windows Media Player 10 Mobile

    l MP3 player with music auto-detect and music alarm function

    Camera

    l Primary: 2.0 megapixel CMOS w/flash and mirror

    l Secondary: 0.1 megapixel CMOS for video calls and self-portraits

    l Focus : Yes

    l Video Recording: Yes

    l Memory slot: MicroSD (hot-swappable)

    Others

    l Supported languages: English (Chinese via CE-Star download)=

    l Built-in Office Mobile and ClearVue Document Viewer (PDF)

    l Others: PenPower's WorldCard Mobile business card recognition software

The review will be mainly based on the photos and comparisons with my Dopod 838; please click on them for a bigger picture. Ok lets check out the Pro!


Here's the box, nothing to shout about. Dopod's new logo is pretty snazzy.




You get a nice case which looks a bit like leather, an extra stylus, sync cable, handsfree headphones and charger.



Front View


Out of the box, the 838 Pro is a real beauty. It's curved design and silver black theme makes the older 838 look dated.Looks wise, the Pro wins hands down.


The Dopod 838 Pro's 3G capabilities are evident in the extrafront facing camera at the top right corner...


And the videoconferencing call button on the bottom left corner.


The front layout is compact and stylish. There is the video call button, 2 softkey buttons, windows start button, ok and phone buttons. The buttons in the middle can be hard to press if you have big fingers. The D-pad is slightly depressed but is quite usable.

Update : The windows and ok buttons are quite difficult to press. A bit too close to the other buttons.


From the back, the 838 Pro also maintains it's sleek curves.


The locking mechanism is spring loaded and removed by sliding a small button on the bottom. Inside there is a huge 1350Mhz battery and the usual simcard slots.








The camera module is compact and has a macro mode switch which is easily used. There is also the self portrait mirror and flashlight for night shots. The maximum resolution is 2mp. I feel that the camera responds faster and also takes video without skipping, probably due to the 400Mhz processor. The picture clarity and quality is very good, on par with the Dopod 818 which has one of the best pocket pc cameras. You can even use the macro mode to take pictures of barcodes or namecards for storage in a digital format.

Update : The 838 pro camera has a very high contrast setting, perhaps to better capture namecards and words. However the default setting for contrast is too high. Best to set it to a lower setting.


"Look I have a portable torch!"
But it's only good for night shots within 20cm. But it is useful as a spare torch if needed!

Update : VJcandela is a freeware app to allow you to toggle the light like a torch.


The main feature that sets apart the 838 series is the slide out keyboard. If you like using a keyboard, this is a must have. For me, I like to blog from my phone and typing out anything longer than a sentence is more comfortable and efficient on a keyboard. Searching for contacts and entering numbers is also easier.
The 838Pro's keyboard has the same texture as the 838 but it's number layout is better as it is in a keypad pattern. In addition, the 2 softkeys are placed lower down so it is easier to press.

Update : Sometimes the keyboard can be a bit laggy. To improve it >settings>buttons>up/down control> increase the delay and repeat rate


Both keyboards side by side.

The sliding mechanism is solid and there is a secure feeling when holding and typing on it.


Another comparison picture between the Dopod 838, Dopod 838 Pro and the O2 XDA 2s.

Dopod 838 Pro Backlight on the Left, Dopod 838 on the Right

The backlighting on the 838 Pro is blue which to me is a bit glaring. I prefered the 838's keyboard lighting which is a softer white and red.

Another interesting feature is that the Dopod Pro has a light sensor on the keyboard located at the top right hand corner that switches on the backlight if there is not enough light. Excellent idea.

Here are more comparison pictures of the Dopod 838 and 838 Pro.


Top view : The Pro has basically nothing on the top


Bottom View: Here the Pro has a busy little bottom with the standard Mini USM port, soft reset button, infra red, microphone, stylus and battery latch.


Left View : The micro sd slot and jog wheel dominates. More on that later.


Right View : This is where the power button resides along with the camera and voice tag button.

OK..more to come in Part 2!



Review Unit Courtesy of
YeapCH.com


Doc's review continues his review in between consultations...


One of the best features I have been waiting for is a jog-dial, scroll wheel, whatever you want to call it. The 838 Pro finally has it conveniently located where your thumb would rest. You can scroll up and down in any menu and also select it by pressing in the wheel. This is very useful in browsing web pages, contacts and ebooks.


The Dopod 838 has a volume slider that can also be used to scroll up and down by using a registry hack, but somehow a scrollwheel feels much better.


Ah memory cards...why do they always change them? The 838 Pro uses the new Micro SD format which is half the size of the mini SD. The maximum size currentlyis 2 gb for the Micro SD but it is relatively expensive. As you can see, the memory cards are getting smaller and easier to lose. The micro SD is super tiny and looks flimsy to me.


The Micro SD slot is found on the left lower corner as oposed to the top in the Dopod 838.


One thing that thankfully has not changed is the mini USB connector that is used for charging and synchronising data with your computer. I find this very useful as 3rd party mini USB cables are very easy to find. That means you can readily charge your Dopod from your computer USB slot. The infrared port has been moved down to the bottom along with the soft reset hole.



More comparison pictures of the Dopod 838 Pro, XDA 2s and Dopod 838.


Both dopods are about the same thickness because of the slide out keyboard. The Pro is actually slightly longer but thinner.


Right Side View


Top View


Left side view

Regarding the black casing of the Dopod 838 Pro, it seems to be the same black painted plastic as the Dopod 818. This was previously prone to scratches especially along the sides and corners. I was hoping for better quality for example in the original O2 mini which had a meral alminium case. However it does make the Pro lighter and more pocketable. Just do not keep it together with your keys in your pocket.

Pros
  • Sleek black look, a real beauty
  • 3g ,Edge, Wifi, Bluetooth
  • Sliding keyboard
  • 2MP camera with Macro Mode with quite good picture quality
  • Fast 400Mhz processor
Cons
  • Expensive RM3288 ( Some bundle it with a free 1 gb Micro SD)
  • Black paint may be easily scratched
I will post some comparison shots between both cameras soon. I thought I had better post this part of the review first and fill in more details later. Feel free to ask any questions and I will try to answer them.

Conclusion

So would I buy it? Yes if money is not a factor, or if you need 3G. Since I already have my Dopod 838 I am hanging onto it for a while. I think it's a about the best 3G Pocket Pc phone with keyboard at the moment...and it does it with style.

Review Unit Courtesy of
YeapCH.com

29 Comments:

At 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice article doc! let me be the first to appreciate your efforts! waiting for part 2....! :)

 
At 10:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey did ya have any problems with the registration of the PenPower business card reader? problem like "Sorry, Product ID is Error"

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger Dr.Spin said...

Thanks for the review Doc, nice one. I had a quick look at the 838Pro and I am mostly impressed. It's really a feature laden phone. The only thing that is putting me off it's the price.

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous chaoman said...

Hey, Doc.

I followed the HTC Wizard Web to download your female voices and found you wrote a nice review of 838 Pro. Enjoy the fancy gadget and nice weather in Malay!

 
At 10:26 AM, Blogger Doc said...

Thanks Chaoman. A pleasure to have you read it.

 
At 6:29 PM, Anonymous yamashita riki said...

Great review of the latest Dopod 838 Pro. I was seriously considering the HP 6828 series before coming across 838 Pro. Still haven't made my mind up yet as I am concerned about the after-sales support.

Does the 838 Pro have the means to perform audio recording with an external microphone?

Anyway, what's your take between HP's 6828 and Dopod's 838 Pro?

 
At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

still don't get it: why need a PDA in the first place?!

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger bnycastro said...

great post and photos doc! hope you don't mind me putting your blog on my rss reader so I can get your posts on my Exec :) keep em coming!

 
At 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the useful review. I have a Dopod 900 and that is one huge mother of a PDA phone. Using it to talk is like holding a thick slice of bread against my ear. It's useful for work (VERY USEFUL) but that's about it...cant take it anywhere after work hours....kinda like a social embarassmentand it doesnt fit anywhere. The million dollar question: should I change my dopod 900 for the 838 Pro?

 
At 4:08 PM, Anonymous zsa25 said...

Great writeup dude. I have one question, i have been using this 838 pro for the past one month. I have this program called WM5torage, whereby if u activate the program, the phone will act as a memory card. It will not activate the activesync if you connect it to your PC. However, it doesn't work on my 838 pro. My fren use it on his 818 and it works just fine. Do you know how to overcome the problem dude?

One setback of using this 838 pro. The screen always get misaligned. You have to correct it by aligning it back. I have to send it back to the service centre and they have to change the screen for me. After that the problem is settled.

 
At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Whether you can do Skype on both and how the quality is? skype to skype? skype out?
2. How good is the keyboard as compared to say BB8700 or htc excalibr?
3. can you email or SMS/MMS voice notes as standard .wav files?

 
At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heya!! Great article! Thinking about buying the 838 pro..Just wondering- How are the speakers compared to O2 XDA mini? Its very soft on the mini, hope to get better speakers on the dopod..Thanks!

 
At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice job, doc...gimme such an idea to get it ASAP..

 
At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good review! after reading your review i'm more determined to get this phone! looking forward to your part 2 :)

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in spore 838pro only selling for $868 but hv to signup for 2 yrs contract wth star hub. seriously thinking of getting tis fone. :-) 40% cheaper than KL. excellent review! cheerrio...

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

U help me so much by creatin these article..Now I pretty sure will buy dopod 838pro..

 
At 2:22 PM, Blogger Doc said...

You are welcome, but I think at this time a lot of new pdas are coming out in December. Hold on to your horses for a little while more.

 
At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very wonderful review, for your information i just order the Dopod 838 pro and with this review i think i'm not making a mistake to buy this pda model.......thanks a lot.

 
At 11:38 PM, Anonymous new user said...

Hi Doc,

Nice blog.
I m just bought this excellent 838pro.But difficult to get downloadable software from shops or website.Do you have any suggestion?

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Doc, I've been using the 838 Pro for the last 6 months since Oct'07 but recently when I turned it on, what I got is just "white screen", any idea what caused it? And where can I get it repair in PG and possibly how much? As I got my device in Spore and checking with HTC, the warranty already expired!

 
At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello doc, thanks for posting some most important info about dopod 838, i'm using 8125 model but my problem is how do i get to download games? there are a lot games that doest work in my phone, please tell me where to download games and other useful software for extra use of my phone. thanks!!!!! please email me your answer at at kristine_joy2@hotmail.com

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Yo said...

Hi Doc,

I have D810. the problem is I am not able to trasnfer pic from my dopod to my pc. I have the USB cable and the computer ask for a software and I cannot find the free software online. Any suggestion for me Doc?

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger bidin said...

I in Sandakan where i been used dopod 838 for quiet some time, my question is how can i get the a new sync usb cable.

 
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