Doc's Dopod 838 Pro Photo Review
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.
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
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
l Mobile data connectivity: EDGE/GPRS/UMTS
l Bluetooth: Yes, v2.0
l USB: Yes (Sync and charge)
Main: 2.8" 240x320 resolution (QVGA)
l Colors : 65536 colors TFT screen (effective)
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
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)
l Supported languages: English (Chinese via CE-Star download)=
l Built-in Office
and ClearVue Document Viewer (PDF) Mobile
l Others: PenPower's WorldCard Mobile business card recognition software
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
- 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
- Expensive RM3288 ( Some bundle it with a free 1 gb Micro SD)
- Black paint may be easily scratched
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.