The E-Ten G500 has M-Desk, a wonderful utility that features a tabbed interface, grouping all apps by function: Phone, PDA, Fun, and System. For example, under the Phone menu, you'll find Speed Dial, SMS Sender, MMS Composer, and so forth. While we're on the subject, other phone features include speed and voice dialing; a speakerphone; photo caller ID; and WAV, MP3, and MIDI ring-tone support. As a PDA, the G500 is adequately equipped. Powering the device is a top-speed 400MHz Samsung processor with 64MB of SDRAM and 128MB of flash ROM, 90MB of which is user accessible. The device runs the latest Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PC Phone Edition, so you get the full Microsoft Office Mobile suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer) for on-the-go access to all your work documents plus e-mail and calendar synchronization.
Unfortunately, the G500 is hurting in the area of wireless connectivity. It lacks integrated Wi-Fi, and there's no support for EDGE, so you'll have to find other means, such as a Wi-Fi card, for connecting to the Web. The smart phone, however, has Bluetooth 2.0, which promises faster transmission speed and lower power consumption; it's also backward compatible with Bluetooth 1.x.
For fun, there's a 1.3-megapixel camera/camcorder. You can shoot images in 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, or 176x144 resolution, with options for white balance, fun frames, special effects, a self-timer, and 2X zoom. The G500 takes video in 3GP format, and you can choose from three quality settings (high, medium, and low) and sizes (320x240, 176x144, and 128x96). Image quality was subpar, lacking the sharpness and clarity of other camera phones we've tested. On the upside, E-Ten throws in extra apps for editing images. Other entertainment features include Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, Solitaire, and BrickBreaker.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS) E-Ten G500 in New York and Connecticut using Cingular's network, and the phone delivered surprisingly crisp audio regardless of whether we were using the unit's microphone, speakerphone, or wired headset. We also successfully paired the G500 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.
During our evaluation period, the G500 always responded quickly to commands, and it scored an impressive 392 on the Spb benchmark test, higher than the Sprint PPC-6700. In CNET Labs' battery-drain tests, where we looped a video clip with all wireless radios turned off, the G500 lasted for 6.7 hours. By comparison, the HP iPaq hw6515 petered out after 5.8 hours.
The GPS receiver is accurate and quick to respond, but the included windshield arm wobbles so badly while driving that you can't read the G500's maps on the fly. On road trips in and around Hartford, Greenwich, and New York City, the G500's GPS receiver worked well and lost contact only a couple of times in dense urban areas. It took just more than a minute to lock onto the required satellites from a cold start, and once the device was established, data flowed smoothly. As mentioned earlier, the device's GPS functionality isn't explained well in the user manual, and you won't find much help from the company's Web site either. While there's a good assortment of general FAQs, its download section is empty, and many support pages are poorly translated, making it impossible to understand. Plus, neither a U.S. support number or even a dedicated e-mail link is provided.
CNET Labs project leader Dong Van Ngo contributed to the performance analysis.