Audiovox PPC4100 Pocket PC Phone - Next Generation (AT&T)
|List Price: $399.99
Your Price: $299.99
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Summary: First Impressions: Audiovox PPC4100
Review: About two months ago I switched cellphone providers from T-Mobile to AT&T wireless. My wife and I had been T-Mobile customers for several years, but we had been talking seriously about moving to a company that could provide a better rate plan. We finally decided on AT&T in part because it offered about 50% more minutes for the same price, but also because it was the only company to carry the Audiovox PPC4100. Overall, I have had a very good experience with the PPC4100 (much better, at least, than my experiences with AT&T wireless), and while I can see how it may fall short for many consumers, I feel that it meets my needs appropriately.
Although I was a very satisfied user of my Samsung S105, I was on the lookout for a phone that offered a little more in the way of contact and agenda management, ideally a smartphone or PDA hybrid. While most smartphones were not as extensible as I wanted, and most hybrids were too bulky for my taste, the PPC4100 appeared to be the best compromise solution on both counts. Another important factor for me was that I specifically wanted a Windows-based phone. I am not partial to the Palm OS, and I felt (perhaps incorrectly) that there were not enough quality applications available for the Symbian OS to make it a real contender.
Briefly, here is how I see the PPC4100 measure up on what I consider the important purchasing points:
Speed - 5 of 5:
This phone comes with a 400 MHz Intel PXA255 Processor, which compares favorably with most mid- to high-end PDAs on the market at the time of purchase. The speed of this phone is evident in daily use, as the interface is snappy and responsive, and the majority of the bundled applications load and perform quickly. The one exception to this is the bundled phone-app, which is frustratingly slow and crash-prone. I recommend investing in some third party software to replace this.
Memory - 4 of 5:
The phone includes 64 MB of built in RAM and 64 MB of flash memory. This is pretty standard for a PDA in its class, and while I would probably not go much lower than this I have no complaints. I do tend to fill up all available space fairly quickly, so I purchased a 256 MB SD card which should tide me over for a short while.
Form Factor - 5 of 5:
This was definitely a major selling point for me. I had long been frustrated with the industry's inability to produce a PDA phone that was comfortable to hold and carry (at least for sale in the US). The early attempts like T-Mobile's Pocket PC Phone Edition just seemed too bulky, and I frankly could not understand the appeal of the Blackberry, which struck me as an awkward and feature-poor electronic Roladex. The Treo 600 and the Samsung i500 looked extremely nice, but as I said, I am not fond of the Palm OS. Overall, the PPC4100 manages to be a good sized PDA while almost being light and small enough to carry in a shirt pocket.
Screen and Input - 3.5 of 5:
The 3.5 inch screen of the PPC4100 is clear and comfortable to work with. Color and resolution is of pretty standard quality at 240x320 and 65k colors. Virtually all input is done via the stylus, which resides in a little socket flush against the antenna. Audiovox has wisely dispensed with the keyboard, which is nice for those of us who want the phone features to be emphasized over text messaging and email. It is possible to notate with the stylus using one of several input methods (virtual keyboard, transcriber, block recognizer, and letter recognizer) although none of these is as quick or efficient as a keyboard would probably be. The unit has a jog dial on one side, but because of the shape of the phone and how it rests in my hand I find this exceedingly awkward to use. The small size of the phone is accounted for by the fact that there are no navigation buttons on the bottom front of the unit, as are found in most Pocket PCs. Instead, there are only the two red and green "pick up" and "hang up" phone buttons, allowing the screen to cover the bulk of the front of the device. I personally like this design, although I can see how it may be a turn-off for some people.
Phone Quality - 3 of 5:
On those occasions when I have good signal strength, the sound quality of this phone is generally acceptable. It is slightly more tinny than my old Samsung, though I cannot say definitively whether this is a characteristic of my hardware or AT&T service. The phone comes with a handsfree device as well as a pair of stereo earbuds for listening to music. Both are nice looking, but do not fit comfortably in my ear and have a tendency to fall out. Consequently I tend to speak with the phone itself held up to my ear. The documentation claims this is against the intended use of the product, but I have had no problems in this regard. The phone claims to have a speakerphone feature, but in my experience this is next to useless as the speaker is generally too low volume and buzzes annoyingly. This phone is definitely not suited for use on the road, as the keypad is actually a software application that displays the keys on the screen. There is no bundled voice command application that I have found, so frequent drivers may need to invest in third party software for this purpose.
Data Connectivity - 2 of 5:
At the time that I purchased this phone, there was really no PDA phone hybrid that came with integrated WiFi or bluetooth. Of course the iPaq 6315 was released a month after I switched, so prospective buyers should really consider that alternative if they spend a lot of time on the internet. As it stands, the PPC4100 uses a standard GPRS connection for messaging and surfing. I have found this to be painfully slow, especially for the high prices AT&T charges for data usage ($50/month for unlimited, fully twice that T-Mobile charges). I will probably invest in the SanDisk 256MB SD/WiFi combo card or drop GPRS from my rate plan altogether. SMS messages are sent via the bundled email application, which I think is a nice feature. Desktop connectivity is through a USB cradle, which is nice looking but extremely awkward to use. I have to be extremely careful when placing the phone into the cradle because it has to sit just so in order to stay connected.
Expandability - 3 of 5:
The phone comes with a single SD slot for all your expansion needs. So far this has not been a problem for me, and I believe it is a standard configuration for most Pocket PC devices. As I said, SanDisk has a SD/WiFi dual purpose card that I will probably need to use for networking while maintaining access to my data, so unless I need bluetooth this should not be a limiting factor.
Battery Life - 2 of 5:
This is definitely a weak point of this phone. AT&T website advertises up to 100 hours standby time and 3 hours talk time, but in my experience actual times will vary greatly depending on how frequently I use the PDA features. Typically, I find that the majority of the battery has been depleted by the end of the day after only moderate talk time. Generally this is not an issue for me as I plug the phone in every night out of habit, but I have taken the phone on weekend trips in which I was very close to losing power after virtually no use of the phone at all.
In sum, the PPC4100 is for the most part a well-designed device that has succeeded in meeting the bulk of my day to day requirements. However, there remain sufficient issues that if I were faced with the same decision again I would probably favor the iPaq 6315 or the Samsung i600. Better battery life and an additional expansion slot would be at the top of my nice-to-have list, but the fact remains that even if these features were implemented I would probably opt not to use this or any other phone that implies contracting with AT&T. Perhaps my opinion will change after the Cingular merger, but for the time being I feel that T-Mobile has given me a far better consumer experience.
Summary: Audiovox has terrible customer and technical support
Review: Beware of Audiovox support. They are rude and are very stingy when it comes to the warranty. The charged me for repairs even though I had the phone only three months. The screen is good and the applications are wonderful but the phone is fragile.
Summary: Best phone ever made: It has ALL
Review: Have been a regular pocket pc user for last few years. Carrying a pocket pc with a cell phone always made it troublesome for me and thus was looking for a phone which has both the capabilities. And I must say that I have found one !
Audiovox PPC 4100 is the phone of choice. After reading through the reviews, I thought that this phone is not worth buying and has its own hardware problems..but still went to buy this phone and I must say that this was my best decision.
Firstly, I liked the phone size. It is a very sleek phone (of course with Pocket PC capability) and thus fits into the shirt pocket very easily without popping out of the pocket. Screen size is big enough for reading emails, contacts, calander and notes. It is not bulky as my Pocket PC 3600.
Some of the features that I liked about this phone are:
1. Silent mode and ringtone mode
2. Pocket Internet Explorer
3. SD Card
4. Wireless connectivity (Infrared)
5. Stereo headsets
Product manual on the websites said that phone comes with only one stylus..but it came with 2 (which was kind of cool).
Adding a 1GB SD card makes this phone even a substitute for an IPOD (Though this phone may not hold 10,000 songs as IPOD but this is a PHONE...).
This phone is so convenient for use that one can check all emails (I can even connect to my office email server) and thus one can be connected even while travelling.
Amazon.com has $200 rebate on original price of $349.00 which makes this cool tool cost only $149 which is far less for a Pocket PC phone compared to i700 or HP phones. The phone is a tri band GSM phone and thus can be used anywhere in the world.
Phone comes with wonderful Microsoft Mobile OS 2003 which has very nice features. And if you are already a Pocket PC user, you will love this phone.
Business or personal..PPC 4100 suits all needs !
Summary: this is bad
Review: I can't order this phone because the service plans or no good and if you call for help all you get is a run around. The plan for $39 is $85 and you can't change it. This is a trap and make you paid more. I wanted this phone but i can't get it because of the service plan.
Summary: The PPC4100 CELL PHONE!
Review: I think it is really cool,rad,etc! I must have one as soon as possible! Thank-you M Price
Summary: Great PDA, great phone!
Review: I've been using this puppy for a couple weeks. It simply is much better than what I expected. It's smaller than any other pocket pc phone in the market, yet same or larger screen size.
The pocket pc works fucntion great, the screen is quite large and bright, and I already found a truck load of freeware on the web for pocket PCs.
The phone is working great too. I can simply hold it against my ear, I don't understand why some of the others couldn't. They probably should have turned offthe volume a bit, because this thing is really loud when you turn up the volume. The phone also has speakerphone function.
The visual clues for voice mail or sms is very nice and functional. Typing SMS is very easy and fast with the transcriber or the on-screen keyboard. I am glad that Audivox didn't waste precious space by putting an actual keyboard onto this device.
Battery life is not bad. I charge at night, and it lasts about a day or so without any recharge. But it stays on the cradle (syncrhonizing with my laptop) all day so it gets charged anyways.
And finally AT&T coverage works fine. I didn't have coverage in my office with T-mobile w/ sony ericsson phone, this one has covearge in my office (chicago area). By the way, though at&t customer service is still very slow..
I'd strongly recommend this particular pda phone.
Summary: Not a phone
Review: The phone functionality is terrible. The ear speaker cannot be heard unless it is positioned directly over the ear. There is crackling distortion in most phone calls when you make calls with the unit held to your ear. Soft resets are regularly needed, once every 10 hours of use or so, to get the unit to respond. The phone begin and end call buttons sometimes fail to work and never work quickly so you find yourself hitting them several times which leads to redialing and more havok. The microsoft operating system keeps even the 400mhz machine struggling to complete easy tasks like starting up the phone application. I don't think the many faults would be a reasonable compromise for any tech head - no matter how much you really want convergence. It's also VERY cheaply made.
Summary: Works fine as phone & PDA
Review: Two and a half months of use and I've been pretty happy.
Works fine when used as a regular phone (i.e. up to your ear) and the PDA features are very quick to operate, due to the very fast processor. I also really like it's small size, smaller than other PocketPC Phones I've seen out there. It's easily pocketable in a shirt or pants pocket.
Phone reception has been better than average, even internationally. Jotting down a note or opening a file while on the phone is a seamless operation. The PPC4100 comes with a lot of storage capacity and great screen. I've used it to watch videos and listen to music.
On the minus side, I wish it had a louder ring and louder volume in speakerphone mode. Also, I wish it had built in bluetooth and WiFi. But, for the price, it's an excellent value.
I'm very happy to not have to carry my phone AND separate PDA, anymore!
Summary: PPC4100 OK - AT&T Wireless Berry Berry Bad
Review: WARNING, AT&T Wireless now ships the PPC4100 locked to their network. Audiovox can't unlock it and says their contract with AT&T Wireless requires them to ship only locked PPC4100's!
When this phone first came out it was shipped unlocked meaning that it could be used with any GSM carrier. I bought mine through AT&T Wireless, the carrier from Hell. I bought mine with service I wanted at my companies corporate rate . When it arrived I had to take it to a local AT&T office to get the SIM activated. They set up my account completely wrong. I didn't worry about it at the time because I had service and I assumed that customer service would easily straighten that out. NOT!!!!! I couldn't even get different customer service reps to agree on what my account was set up for much less get it changed to the service and rate I signed up for. I tried for over two months to work with AT&T Wireless but when I got a bill with roaming and long distance charges, which were included free under the plan I had agreed to, I had had it. I canceled the service and revoked their authorization to charge to my credit card. There's much more to all this but it's just more of the same crap.
I got T-Mobile service, inserted their SIM, and was good to go. The PPC4100 wasn't locked to AT&T Wireless. Unfortunately a month later the phone developed a screen problem so I sent it to Audiovox for repair under the warranty. No problem, Audiovox shipped me a new one immediately.
Guess what! The new PPC4100 is locked to AT&T Wireless and I can't get them to unlock it for love or money. Their customer service reps just pretend that that they don't understand my problem and keep running me around in circles. I took the phone to a local AT&T Wireless store and received no help which escalated to my standing outside the store to ask customers not to do business with AT&T Wireless. During all of this I did not significantly raise my voice, use profanity, make any threats of any kind, or any other inappropriate behavior.
The Mall security guards didn't see it that way. They arrived in time to hear me ask the first customer about to enter the store "please don't do business with AT&T Wireless". That is all I said but the mall rent-a-cops said that I was breaking the law and would arrest me if I didn't leave.
Wonderful service AT&T Wireless gave me isn't it! American Express is being very slow in disputing the AT&T Wireless charges against my card but as soon as that is settled I'm returning the phone and all the accessories I bought for it and buying a better PPC phone for about the same price. With service from T-Mobile of course.
Summary: Don't buy Audiovox
Review: You might want to think twice about buying an Audiovox phone. I've had one for 2 1/2 months now. Well, I've actually had it only 2 months. It took a little over two weeks for the company to repair it when it stopped getting any signals.
But, less than 24 hours after I got it back the phone another problem! This time with the keypad. Audiovox won't let the dealer replace it. It's gotta be sent back again.
So, bad quality, bad repair, and bad customer service. Buy at your own risk.
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