Pharos Traveler 137: First Look
First Look: Pharos Traveler 1373:09 /
While better designed than the Traveler 127, the Pharos Traveler 137 still suffers from performance and navigation issues.
[ Background music ] >> Bonnie Cha: Hi I'm Bonnie Cha Senior Editor at CNET.com and today we're taking a first look at the Pharos Traveler 137. This is a GPS enabled smartphone that's a lot like the Traveler 127 which we looked at earlier except it has a full touch screen design. The look of the phone actually reminded me a lot of the Samsung Omnia. It's a pretty attractive phone with the rounded edges and slim profile. The touch screen measures 3.5 inches diagonally and shows 65,000 colors out of 480x800 pixel resolution. It's really sharp and bright and also the larger screen size and the built in accelerometer definitely makes this a better suited device as far as navigation compared to the Traveler 127. Pharos also spruces up the Traveler 137 with the SPB mobile shell interface. Instead of sticking it with the usual Windows Mobile UI this gives you 3 home panels. The center panel gives you access to your most important information like appointments, messages, time and weather. If you swipe to the left you'll get a panel with all your apps and then the right panel shows your multimedia features. Also along the bottom of every panel you'll get this 1 touch access to your favorite's page and a button that lets you scroll through more panels in 3D carousel view. There's a lot going on here obviously but once you get used to it and figure it all out I think it provides a nicer user experience than the traditional Windows Mobile interface. Unfortunately that's about where the highlights of this phone ends. The Pharos Traveler 137 comes with navigation software called Osteous [assumed spelling] Smart Navigator and all the maps come pre loaded on an included micro SD card. So the technical advantage of this phone is that you don't have to add a location based service and pay a fee to get maps or voice guided directions which is great but the bad news is that the traveler 137 wasn't a very good navigator. To try out the GPS capabilities one of the tests we use is to plot a course from the Golden Gate Bridge area to CNET's downtown headquarters here in San Francisco and when I did that with the traveler 137 I noticed that it missed a major turn in the route somewhere. Luckily I knew where I was going but knowing that it missed such an important step I wouldn't really feel comfortable using this as a navigator. Also, the software isn't very well laid out and the menus get a bit confusing and clunky as you dive deeper into options. As far as the phone and personal organizer, the Pharos Traveler 137 offers a lot. You get Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and support for T-Mobiles 3G band and also as a Widows Mobile device you get full email support, Office Mobile Suite, and it includes some extras like opera mobile web browser and a Facebook app. Once again though the performance was a problem. Call quality wasn't all that clear [ background music ] >> and more than that the smartphone was just really slow. I think if Pharos can make some improvements in that department the device can certainly appeal to road warriors but for right now I just don't think it's worth the $600 asking price. I'm Bonnie Cha this has been your first look at the Pharos Traveler 137. ^M00:03:03 [ Music ]