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Helio Mysto review: Helio Mysto

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Because the Mysto supports EV-DO, it also comes with an array of broadband services like Yahoo search, shortcuts to sites like Digg, CNN, and MySpace, plus video and audio streaming from content partners like MTV and Fox. There's also Helio's free newsfeed aggregator called Helio On Top (H.O.T.), which you can configure to display the latest headlines from your favorite sites or blogs right on your home screen.

The Helio Mysto has a 2.0-megapixel camera on its rear.

As part of the broadband package, the Mysto also has access to Helio Music, Helio's music store. For $1.99, you can download a song over-the-air and transfer it to your home PC, as well. If you're a little more patient, you can purchase a song for 99 cents, download it to your PC, and then upload it to your phone later on. The Mysto supports MP3 and AAC file formats, so you can also opt to upload songs you already own to the Mysto via Helio's MediaMover software. The phone comes with 106MB of internal memory but it does come with a microSD card slot for additional storage. The music player itself is fairly standard, with the basic music player controls and the ability to create custom playlists. There's also a built-in video player with support for MPEG4 and H.264 file formats, and you have the option of purchasing and downloading music videos from Helio for $2.50 each.

The Helio Mysto has good, but not great photo quality.

The Mysto packs a 2-megapixel camera, which is quite a disappointing drop from the U600's 3.2-megapixel version. The photo quality was good, but not great--colors were good but a little washed out --and we would've liked the images to look a lot sharper. You can take photos in four different resolutions (1,600x1,200; 1,280x960; 640x480; and 320x240) and you can adjust the image quality, as well. Other camera options include brightness, white-balance settings, lighting, color effects, photo frames, a self-timer, and up to 6x zoom. The built-in camcorder has similar settings, but the video is limited to 320x240 and 176x144 resolutions and two frame rates (14fps and 7fps). As a result, video quality was very jittery and choppy, especially when there's a lot of movement, and images looked pixilated, too.

After you're done taking photos with the Mysto, you have the option of fiddling around with them with the built-in Photo Studio application that lets you edit the photos right in the camera. Options include resizing, rotating, flipping, stretching, and swirling around the images. As for video, you can add filters, effects, stickers, fades, and overlays to them. You then have the choice of uploading your photos to Helio's site, or your MySpace page, or even Flickr, via an uploading application called HelioUP. You can even upload your videos directly to YouTube. And since the Mysto has built-in GPS, all your photos and videos can be immediately geo-tagged if you wish.

As with all the Helio products, the Mysto has plenty of personalization options. You can customize the wallpaper, the screensavers, the alert tones, and you can always download more from Helio. The Mysto comes with five games--My Pet, Gameloft Mega Hits, and demo versions of 3D Homerun Derby, Slide N' Loop, and Super Boom Boom--and of course you can purchase more from Helio.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO) Mysto in San Francisco using Helio's service. Call quality was all right, but it wasn't fantastic. We heard our callers just fine and vice versa, but there was a smidgen of static, and voices sounded kind of distant and hollow at times. Speakerphone calls were of similar quality--it's decent enough if you're in a quiet conference room, but the sound quality was tinny and callers often said they couldn't hear us very well. We paired the Helio Mysto with the Cardo S-2 stereo Bluetooth headset without a hitch.

The music quality on the Mysto was pretty good for what it is. Of course we wouldn't recommend using the tiny speakers to broadcast your music--a headset is a much better way to go. There's little to no bass, but the melody sounded fine, and it'll do for a quick musical fix on your daily commute. EV-DO speeds were definitely impressive--we managed to download a game in just a couple of seconds. Streaming video wasn't all that great, though. We had no buffering issues, but the video still seemed rather pixilated and blurry.

The Helio Mysto has a rated talk time of up to 3.5 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the Mysto has a digital SAR rating of 1.39 watts per kilogram. The Helio Mysto has a rated talk time of up to 3.5 hours. We had a pretty good tested talk time of 4 hours and 34 minutes.

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