Toshiba Portégé G710 review

£225
Price when reviewed

With Toshiba’s Portégé brand associated with two keywords – business and mobility – we felt quietly confident the G710 would follow in the same vein. And there is plenty to appeal to an IT manager in its latest Windows Mobile smartphone.

You get the Standard version of Mobile Office, offering editing capabilities for Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Passing over the irritation of the Standard version’s inability to create new documents (you must create a blank Word or Excel file on your PC, transfer it to the smartphone, then open it on the device and save it as a new one), this compatibility is a potential deal-breaker over the BlackBerry alternative.

The Portégé is also a phone you’d be happy to seen with in a boardroom. It’s exceptionally sleek at 13mm, 1.5mm slimmer than the BlackBerry 8820, and its matte black rubberised finish not only looks good but also feels nice in the hand.

Another nice inclusion is the clickable trackball, as popularised by the BlackBerry Pearl. Although we’re not quite so keen on this version – it doesn’t feel as responsive as the Pearl’s – it offers a convenient way to scroll through pages and menus with greater ease than dedicated left, right, up, down and select buttons.

We’re similarly impressed by the keyboard. The keys are inevitably close together, but a firm action and the fact they all stand 1mm proud from the body means that, if you concentrate while you’re typing, you should be able to reach a decent word rate.

Some sensible key shortcuts also mean you can avoid navigating through the annoying Windows Mobile for Smartphone menus – this isn’t a touchscreen device. There are shortcuts for the calendar, email and camera apps, while the all-important Back key means you can always jump back to the most recent program with a single press of a button.

The camera itself is a two-megapixel device, capable of taking photos at 1,600 x 1,200 resolution, and in bright conditions it produces reasonable results. We provide a sample of its skills to the left. There’s a lot of noise compared to a half-decent camera, and an annoying half-second lag between pressing the “shutter” and it actually taking a photo, but it gives you the option of snapshots at least.

Toshiba has been reasonably generous with its memory allocation, given the low purchase price. There’s 66MB free for storage and 29MB for programs. After Windows has taken its standard 15-20MB chunk out of both, you’re left with enough free that you have room for manoeuvre. There’s also a mini-SD memory card slot – the card slips just above the SIM card.

Frustrations

Unfortunately, one word you won’t come to associate with the G710 is responsiveness. The prime reason for this is the miserly 260MHz Texas Instruments processor. Combined with a demanding operating system – Windows Mobile 6 Standard – we were left drumming our fingers waiting for it to launch programs far too often.

While we’re on the subject of frustration, let’s talk battery life. The G710 signifies its power levels via a three-bar battery indicator at the top right: three bars it’s “full”, one bar and you’re running low. Except in reality as soon as it gets to two bars you need to think about recharging – our experience suggests it won’t last another 24 hours. In fact, if you take the G710 home for the weekend and don’t recharge it then, even with a light amount of use, it probably won’t survive without charging until Monday.

Details

Cheapest price on contract
Contract monthly charge
Contract period 18 months
Contract provider T-Mobile

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 3hrs
Standby, quoted 8 days

Physical

Dimensions 63 x 13.2 x 116mm (WDH)
Weight 130g
Touchscreen no
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

RAM capacity 64MB
ROM size 128MB
Camera megapixel rating 2.0MP
Front-facing camera? no

Display

Screen size 2.5in
Resolution 320 x 240
Landscape mode? yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family Windows Mobile

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