MWg Atom V review: MWg Atom V

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The Good Quick Menu interface. Built-in GPS. Separate audio jack for headsets. Large navigator and selector. 520MHz processor.

The Bad Only 64MB RAM. Horrible stylus. No front-facing camera.

The Bottom Line Though it is basically a solid device at a reasonable price, its 64MB RAM is a bare minimum and sacrifices this smartphones performance.

7.5 Overall

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Mobile and Wireless Group (MWg) is the remnants of the Asia branch of global telecom O2, and the Atom V is the next generation of handset in the O2 Atom line. This iteration has more features and a new design that's not quite like the older models. Does it have the potential to be as successful as the previous devices like the Atom Life?

Design is an important reason the Atom Life was successful, and the Atom V looks to emulate that. Though not razor-thin like so many consumer mobile phones these days, the Atom V is pretty slim, measuring in at just under 15mm, down from the Atom Life's 18mm. There is a bit of sacrifice in the length and width, though. The Atom V has a noticeably larger footprint and does not look as compact as the older Atoms.

Like HTC's Touch series, the entire front surface of the device is flush. This means there is no raised bezel, which makes it better for fingertip actions like scrolling and swiping. We did find the LCD quite far under the clear plastic cover, which makes it difficult to aim at small icons, especially if the screen is placed at an angle from your view. On a related note, the stylus that comes with the Atom V is too short for comfort — MWg should have provided an extendable one.

Below the display is a round directional pad. At first glance, you expect it to be a scroll wheel because of the shape, but unfortunately, it's not. The lack of circular motion doesn't take away from the fact that it's a pretty effective five-way navigator. We especially like that the selector is very large so you can't possibly miss it. Around this navigator are the shortcut buttons. These are thinly shaped but well spaced out so we had no problems with them.

On the left side of the Atom V is the camera shutter, a volume rocker which doubles as another shortcut key and the microSD card slot. Connections-wise, there's a standard mini-USB port on the base and a 2.5mm audio jack for headsets on the right side.

The size of the Atom V doesn't limit what it's able to do and it remains as fully featured as the Atom Life. This includes HSDPA, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connection options as well as quad-band GSM, a feature that frequent travellers to the US will appreciate. For those who still like to listen to the radio, a tuner is also built into this handheld.

Another feature that globetrotters will like is the inclusion of GPS. This was one feature that gave the HTC P3600i the upper hand when comparing features. The GPS in the Atom V will utilise the tried-and-tested SiRFStar III chipset. It worked well with Google Maps, taking only about a minute to get a lock.

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