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Review: ETEN Glofiish X800

I bought this PDA to be my mobile business partner; phone, organizer, web & email on the go. However poor performance and poor quality has led me to replace it with a standard mobile phone after only 7 months. Purchasing this was an expensive mistake.

Review of ETEN Glofiish X800
Rated as 1/5 on Aug 17 2008 by David Hollingworth


I did a lot of research on-line before I bought this product, read lots of reviews, though most of these reviewed what was in the box. Unfortunately I failed to connect with the ETEN European Users forum. Had I done so I would have thought again about buying this device.

What really swayed me towards the X800 was the VGA screen. There’s no doubt that this is much higher resolution than similar products from HTC, Palm, Toshiba & the like available at the time. The reports that the CPU was ‘slightly under powered’ didn’t deter me. The lure of the screen pulled me in.

I also wanted a device with Windows Mobile 6 so that I could fully sync my Outlook calendar and use Microsoft Office and other productivity tools. The X800 also came with Spb Mobile Shell which is a great enhancement to the basic Today screen.

So what went wrong? Given that the phone was bought to support my business the reliability problems I experienced rendered it worse than useless.

  • The phone would frequently lock up and need rebooting at least once a day. This would often happen when a call was incoming and so this was more than just an inconvenience.
  • It would often drop incoming calls when I pressed the answer button. On one occasion someone (Unknown number) tried five times to call in quick succession, every time I pressed answer the line was dead. Another reboot required and probably lost business.
  • Call quality was poor with a lot of echo on the line and a lot of static too.
  • The camera quality is very poor for a 2 megapixel camera. OK, not essential for business; but it’s something I like to use.
  • Often the phone would go completely crazy and start playing an Arctic Monkeys MP3 track at high volume. Most embarrassing when talking to a client and also requiring a reboot to fix.
  • The voice command will switch on at random. Turning it off would only temporarily alleviate the problem as it would come back on again a short time later. Another reboot.
  • Overall the device is badly underpowered and most operations are sluggish.
  • Battery life is dreadful. The phone needs about 2 hours charging a day to last 24 hours. It’s a lot better with all the radios switched off.
  • Support from ETEN is very, very poor and really only limited to the occasional release of new firmware. My device had the latest firmware when it was delivered.

Some time after buying the X800 I was surfing the net and came across what has to be the best kept secret ETEN users have, the European users group forum. There’s some real experts on this site providing updated firmware and fixes for the problems the X800 has. I’ve installed a fix for poor screen performance that greatly enhanced the response of the touch screen. However I’ve not tried a firmware upgrade yet as this can completely wreck the phone if it goes wrong.

The Glofiish X800 does have some good features:

  • There’s no doubt that the screen is good with a nice VGA resolution.
  • Wifi performance is reasonable though Internet Explorer often hangs. This is probably a problem with IE rather than the phone.

So not many redeeming features. I’m now using a fairly basic mobile phone (review to follow) which also syncs with Outlook and gives me a lot more confidence that I’m going to be able to answer all calls and won’t need rebooting. Now I’ve an alternative I might try replacing the firmware with a version from the user group. If this fixes the issues I’ll update this review, otherwise I’ll just continue to use it for wifi access.

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