Considering this is Toshiba's first attempt at making a Windows Mobile smart phone, it hasn't done too badly -- the Portege G500 has a full range of connectivity options and a really nifty fingerprint scanner on the back. If you need to stay in touch with the office wherever you are, then it's worth considering.
The Toshiba Portege G500 is currently available at eXpansys for about £270.
Compared to a standard mobile phone, the Toshiba Portege G500 is a rather chunky device. users might not notice any difference in their pockets, but most other people will -- it's like carrying around a big bar of soap.
The G500, however, is slightly more high-tech than a bar of soap. It comes with a relatively large colour screen on the front and slides open to reveal an easy-to-use keypad. The round navigation key and soft keys on the top section are easy to press.
Unusually for a phone, there's a fingerprint scanner on the back, which doubles up as a touchpad for scrolling through emails or Web pages.
We found the fingerprint scanner worked well and provided a quick and secure way of accessing the phone. Using the scanner as a touchpad, however, proved less easy to do, and while it's well placed, the scanner was unfortunately not always very responsive to our finger's movements. In the end we reverted to using the four-way navigation key on the front.
While the G500 is short, stout and a little boring to look at, it compensates by packing loads of features: there's Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HSDPA (3.5G) connectivity, giving you high-speed Internet, VoIP and video calling access on the go.
We've already mentioned the fingerprint scanner, but another feature on the back of the phone is the 2-megapixel camera. This doesn't have autofocus, and the sensor's resolution is relatively low, so don't expect to take print-quality shots with it, but it's fine to use for stills and video for MMS messages.
There's a secondary 0.3-megapixel (VGA) camera on the front for video calling. Video calls worked as expected and displayed the other person as clearly as is currently possible on most 3G video calling handsets.
The G500 runs on Windows Mobile 5.0 so it can be set up to instantly send and receive emails via Microsoft Exchange. You have the option to view a variety of documents using Picsel viewer or installing a third-party app like Documents To Go. Windows Mobile 5.0 also lets you install third-party maps, dictionaries and other applications.