Obviously, the lack of a QWERTY keyboard doesn't make the Cingular 2125 ideal for messaging, but the integrated Bluetooth gives you the option to connect to a Bluetooth accessory keyboard so that you can stretch your fingers and type to your heart's content. We touched on the lack of Wi-Fi earlier, and its absence is a little easier to take because of the EDGE support, but we're still disappointed, especially since the T-Mobile SDA managed to pack it in. We would have appreciated that extra avenue for surfing the Web. As it is, the Web-browsing experience was a little poky compared with that of the SDA, but it gets the job done.
The Audiovox SMT5600 only had a VGA camera, but the Cingular 2125 kicks it up a notch with a 1.3-megapixel camera. The editing options are identical to those found on the T-Mobile SDA, including four quality settings (Basic, Normal, Fine, and Super-Fine) and four resolutions (160x120, 320x240, 640x480, and 1,280x1,024). You also get a 2X zoom, brightness controls, a time- and date-stamp option, and a photo counter. Normally, we would bemoan the lack of a flash, but the 2125's Night setting did an admirable job of lighting up pictures taken in dark environments. Other lighting choices include Auto, Daylight, Incandescent, and Fluorescent. To spruce up your snapshots, you can add a picture frame or change the tone of the picture to Grayscale, Sepia, or Cool. If you want to make movies for the small screen, the phone's camera records video clips with sound in MPEG-4, H.263, or Motion-JPEG AVI format, and it offers two resolutions (176x144 or 128x96). Also at your disposal are most of the editing features found on the still camera.
We have to admit--the picture quality was not too shabby. Although not frameworthy, our snapshots came out clear and bright, and you can share your memories with others via multimedia message or e-mail, as well as save them as wallpaper. Other customization options for your phone include different color themes, background images, and sounds. If none of the defaults suit you, take a visit to Cingular's Media Mall and shop around.
Finally, during your downtime, you can enjoy a variety of multimedia fun, including MP3, WAV, WMA, and AAC music files, as well as MPEG-4 video streams, thanks to Windows Media Player 10 Mobile.We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) Cingular 2125 in San Francisco, and call quality was a mixed bag. We had no problems hearing the conversation, but on several occasions, our callers said they detected an echo. Also, the speakerphone wasn't the best we've heard; volume was a bit low even when we jacked it up to the highest level. We had no problems pairing the handset with the Bluetooth headset, and though audio quality took a bit of a dive, this may have more to do with the headset than the phone.
The Cingular 2125's battery is rated for a talk time of 4 hours and up to six days of standby time, but like the T-Mobile SDA, the 2125 laughs at that lowly number. The smart phone lasted an astounding 11 hours before finally calling it quits, and it met the rated standby time. According to the FCC radiation tests, the Cingular 2125 has a digital SAR rating of 0.94 watt per kilogram.