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Casio G'zOne Ravine review: Casio G'zOne Ravine

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The one feature that makes the G'zOne Ravine a true phone for the outdoorsman, though, is the G'zGear suite of applications. It includes seven preinstalled applications: an compass, a walking counter/pedometer, a thermometer with both Celsius and Fahrenheit measurements, a tidal graph application complete with optimal fishing times, a Sunrise Sunset app, an astro calendar that displays the lunar cycle, and Star Gazer, an app that displays the stars in the sky and names the constellations. All of the apps are specifically designed for outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, camping, and star-gazing.

As the Ravine comes with EV-DO Rev. A, you won't be stuck without entertainment options when you're in the great outdoors. This lets you access Verizon's broadband applications like V Cast Video, its streaming video service, and V Cast Music with Rhapsody, which lets you purchase and download music over-the-air for around $1.99 per song. As for the music player, it has the same look and feel of V Cast Music, so it's not very pretty in our opinion. Still, it has all the basic music player functions--repeat, shuffle, and the ability to create and edit playlists on the fly. The music player supports MP3, WMA, unprotected AAC, and AAC+ formats. You can add music via USB sync, a microSD card, or via download. If you sync it to your PC's V Cast Music with Rhapsody program, you can download Rhapsody subscription tracks as well. The phone supports up to 32GB of external storage.

The Casio G'zOne Ravine has a 3.2-megapixel camera and LED flash on the back.

We're happy to see that the Ravine has a 3.2-megapixel camera, which is a slight upgrade over the Rock's 2-megapixel model. The 3.2-megapixel camera can take pictures in six resolutions (2,048x1,536, 1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, 160x120), five white balance presets, and six color effects. Other camera settings include a self-timer, flash, brightness, a shutter sound toggle, multishot mode, and night mode. Photo quality was fairly good, but we think it could be better. Images looked clean and well-defined, but we thought the colors look a bit washed out. Flash helped to brighten low-light photos, but the overall lighting was harsh. The built-in video camera can record videos in 320x240 resolution in either 60 seconds for MMS or 60 minutes for storage.

The Casio G'zOne Ravine's photo quality was just OK.

You can customize the G'zOne Ravine with wallpaper, display themes, alert tones, and your own graphics and sounds. You can get more of them, plus games and apps, from Verizon's Get It Now store.

We tested the G'zOne Ravine in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was mixed. On our end, we had no problems hearing our callers--they sounded loud, clear, and natural. There was a slight tinny quality to their voices, but it wasn't a big deal.

The quality on their end, however, was different. While they could hear us loud and clear, they said our voice sounded very harsh; as if it was overly processed. They detected a slight bit of static as well. Thankfully though, speakerphone calls weren't much worse. They could hardly tell we were on speakerphone most of the time.

Audio playback quality was surprisingly good from the speakers as well. You won't get much bass, of course, but it wasn't as tinny as we expected. Still, we recommend using a headset for optimal sound quality. It's just too bad the G'zOne Ravine doesn't have a 3.5mm headset jack.

The EV-DO Rev. A speeds were pretty good. We downloaded a 2.05MB song in 45 seconds, and loading CNET's mobile page took around 49 seconds. When streaming video on V CastVideo, we only experienced a few seconds of buffering time. Video quality wasn't very good however--it was choppy and pixelated, especially when there were a lot of action sequences.

The G'zOne Ravine has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 3.33 days, assuming Push-to-Talk is active. Our tests revealed a talk time of 5 hours and 22 minutes. According to the FCC, the Ravine has a digital SAR of 0.53 watt per kilogram.

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