The 2-megapixel camera takes pictures in five resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to 160x120. You also can adjust the brightness, color effects, white balance, image quality, and shutter tone, and you can use a night mode, a 2x zoom, and a self-timer. The camcorder shoots clips with sound in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144). Editing options are similar to those of the still camera, including the flash, which doubles as a light. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at 32 seconds, but you can shoot for longer in standard mode.
The Shine II has a generous 100MB of internal memory for storing your work. Alternatively, the microSD card slot accommodates cards up to 16GB. If you want to send it on to friends you can use a variety of methods, including MMS, Bluetooth, and e-mail. For videos, the handset supports AT&T's Video Share service. Photo quality is fairly good: colors were natural, but our images were the slightest bit blurry.
As a 3G phone, the Shine II offers the full set of AT&T's wireless broadband multimedia services. You'll find Cellular Video (streaming-video content) and AT&T Mobile Music (wireless song downloads through partners). The experience with the two applications is similar to that on other AT&T phones; both are minimalist in their designs, but the music player supports a wide variety of file formats and it offers features like album art, an equalizer, playlists, shuffle and repeat modes, and an airplane mode. You also get a solid selection of music-related features, such as support for XM Radio, Music ID, an app for making your own ringtones, music videos, and a community section.
Like many AT&T phones in its class, the Shine II offers a selection of Java apps, some of which are subscription-based. They include The Weather Channel, WikiMobile, Yellowpages Mobile, Notifier, a world clock, MobiTV, and Mobile Banking.
You can personalize the Shine II with a selection of wallpaper, color schemes, clock styles and alert tones. The handset also comes with demo versions of four games: Ms Pac-Man, Uno, Tetris and Diner Dash 2. You can use the WAP 2.0 browser to find full titles or download additional customization options and ringtones.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) world phone in San Francisco using AT&T service. Call quality was satisfying, but we wouldn't say it was excellent. Though the volume was loud and voices sounded natural, the signal wasn't consistent. Not only did the audio cut out every now and then, there was also a slight amount of static. These issues didn't ruin our experience, but they were noticeable.
Our friends also heard a bit of static on their end, and a few mentioned that the Shine II picked up background noise. Though we didn't have any trouble hearing when we were in a noisy place, our callers weren't so lucky. Automated calling systems could understand us most of the time, though it was best if we were inside. On the upside, the speakerphone gets quite loud and is relatively clear. Bluetooth headset calls were fine.
The Shine II supports the 1900 and 2100 UMTS bands for 3G service. The browser performed well and we were mostly satisfied with the streaming-video quality. Clips loaded quickly and there was a small amount of pixelation at the beginning of each clip only. On one occasion a clip froze, but most of the time we didn't have any problems. Also, we were pleased that the video frame takes up the entire display. Music quality was fine thanks to the powerful external speaker. Your tunes won't have a lot of range, though, unless you use a headset.
The Shine II has a rated battery life of 3 hours and 20 minutes talk time and 12 days and 12 hours of standby time. It has a tested talk time of 3 hours and 26 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Shine II has a digital SAR rating of 0.761 watts per kilogram.