Camcorder cell phones review

Hands on review of LG Vx8700

Hands on with Samsung UpStage M620

LG VX8700 - photo from mobiledia.com

Samsung Upstage M620 - photo from sprint.com

Cell Phones that double as camcorders

Once, cell phones were large bulky and simply used for the basic needs of making and receiving calls. Not any more. Now most are sleek, small and are loaded with sophisticated features. Once a digital camera was considered a treat but now we are feeling the need for video and camcorder capabilities. Cell phone manufacturers are stepping up to the plate to give us what we say we want.

The LG VX8700 is a welcome addition. It packs high-end features into an ultra-thin, brushed metal clamshell phone.

Bluetooth capabilities include but are not limited to the use of headsets, hands free calling, file transfer, stereo headset support, cCard (business card exchange), vCal (calendar published to the internet).

The EV-DO network supports high speed multimedia music downloads (music on demand with over 1500 song library) and streaming video from VCAST.

An easy to access microSD slot that reads up to a 2 GB memory card is handy to save music that has been transferred from your computer to your phone. It can also be used to store video from your PC.

Even the 2.0 megapixel camera is an upgrade from the typical VGA or 1.3 megapixel camera integrated into many other cell phones. But it gets better. The LG VX8700 has an integrated camcorder. Video clips and still shots can be taken at resolutions of up to 1600x1200 pixels. Desirable photos are more likely due to the special modes such as Night Mode and white balance, and color effects like Sepia tones, Black and White. A self timer lets you be in those special photos as well.

Navigation is possible through this phone's integrated GPS feature from services such as VZ Navigator. Since this is a Get It Now® enabled phone Chaperone Child & Chaperone Parent can be downloaded and subscribed to.

The Samsung Upstage (M620) has a unique design. It is small with dimensions of 4.07 x 1.73 x 0.37" and a demure weight of 2.57 ounces. It is not your ordinary candy bar phone because both the front and the back of the phone are used. The front side features a small screen that displays the date, the time, the status of the call you are in, and the phones power levels. The back of the phone is dedicated to the multimedia functions. The larger screen shows not only the same information as the front screen but it also shows the menu options. Sprint TV lets you watch some TV shows, Sprint Vision lets you access email, instant messaging, and chat rooms and then Sprint Power Vision lets you download music and media from the Sprint Music Store. Listen to your music on the integrated MP3 player.

Bluetooth 2.0 provides the ability to use wireless Bluetooth headsets and other Bluetooth devices including a keyboard.

The microSD slot holds up to a 2GB memory card. Photos taken with the 1.3 megapixel (2x zoom) digital camera and camcorder, music downloaded from the Sprint Music Store and podcasts downloaded from the free service VoiceIndigo can be stored on these SD cards to provide unlimited listening and viewing pleasure.

Video and photos taken with this phone can be transferred to your computer with a USB cable.

Voice dialing can be initiated with a contact's name. Say - send email along with the contact's name and the email application opens. For text messaging say - send text - and it opens a text message window. You can say - Lookup - and it will search your contact list. Storage is available for 500 entries in the contact list and each one includes space for 5 numbers.

Stay organized with the Scheduler. Take notes with the memo pad and leave yourself voice memos as well. Then, prioritize your task list and set the countdown timer to mark its completion.

The Nokia N93 is not in competition with the smallest cell phones available. I guess you could actually call it a mini camcorder that is also a phone. It is impressive no matter what you call it.

As a camera (3.2 megapixels and 3x optical zoom) and camcorder there are several features that stand out. First of all it is equipped with a Carl Zeiss camera lens. There is a choice of image sizes, and several shooting modes that include automatic, landscape, night portrait, and close-up. Multiple shots can be shot in sequence and there is a self timer to get you into more of the pictures.

Video is recorded with sound. The nearly one hour recording time can be expanded with the addition of microSD cards. The photos and videos can be edited, printed, uploaded to the internet and transferred to other devices. Video-out cables are included to show images on a TV.

The internal 2.4 "screen or view finder is revealed as you swivel the front of the phone 90 degrees. There is a built in flash.

An external 1.1" LCD displays the time, the battery level, the strength of the network, the photo caller ID, and if music is playing the song and track time.

The integrated music player supports several different formats including MP3 and WMA. Transfer of music to this phone is simplified by the included USB cable because the N93 shows up as a removable drive. Playlists can be crated on the phone. By using the included headset you can listen to FM radio.

As a phone the N93 is very impressive as well. It is a 3-G phone that operates on the EDGE network. There is a speakerphone, voice commands, conference calling, video calls, text messaging as well as multimedia messaging. Caller ID can be set up with a photo, group ID or with a special ringtones.

Bluetooth 2.0 provides support for multiple Bluetooth devices including hands free headsets. Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g is also integrated and so this phone can be connected with compatible devices such as a PC, a printer or even an entertainment system.

The N93 has PIM (personal information management) capabilities which include calendar, notes, lists, and voice recorder. Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents can be viewed but not edited and Adobe Reader for PDF files is also included. Mobile VPN support is great for the corporate users as well.

Email accounts for STMP, Imap4, and POP3 is supported with attachment viewing.

The N93 is rated for 5.1 hours of talk time and 10 days standby time. Reviewers have reported that this is a reasonable claim.

It may take just the right user to see this phone as a viable solution to their needs. It is large but the impressive features cover a myriad of needs. As a camera and camcorder it is probably not as good as your standalones, but it would certainly work well as a travel camera with a phone to boot. It is also a good convergence device that for some will actually save space.

I decided to tell you about the most interesting camcorder cell phones of 2007 from a variety of manufacturers. Availability and price, as with the N93 for example, was not my main focus - their features were. The LG VX8700, the Samsung Upstage M620 and the Nokia N93 can be researched further on multiple sites on the internet

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1 comment

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Raven King 8 years ago from Cabin Fever

This is very exciting! Is there a chance that pay as you go phones like T Mobile or Tracfone might offer camcorder cell phones to their customers in the near future?

Very interesting hub! Thanks Debbie.

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