|My Impressions of the Qualcomm Thin Phone|
|The Qualcomm "Thin
Phones" are the 1960 digital-only (sold by Clearnet), and the 2760
dual mode (sold by Bell Mobility).
Disclaimer: The following review represents my personal opinion. No bench testing was performed on this or any phone reviewed on my web page. If you don't agree with something I say, you are certainly welcome to politely bring it to my attention (in public or private). However, any out-and-out insults or flames will be ignored.
Both of these phones are essentially identical, but the 1960 does not include analog capability. Everything I say in this review can be applied to both phones, except anything specific to analog performance (which applies only to the 2760).
The phone gets it name from the fact that it is relatively thin for its width and height. However, the phone isn't really that much thinner than many other phone on the market, and it only appears to be thinner. Make no mistake; the Thin Phone is fairly large by today's standards.
The thickness of the phone is kept in check by using a Lithium-Polymer battery that is built into the phone. Its capacity is fairly decent, but hardly stellar. The talk and standby times on these models is only average, and well below such competitors as the Motorola Timeport/ST7867W. However, it has much better times than the Nokia 6185/6188. If you need extra capacity, it is possible to buy add-on piggyback batteries. However, you'd then have to call it a "Thick Phone".
Since the Thin Phone came out well after the original Qualcomm 2700/Sony models, one would assume that its firmware would be based on them. However, the Thin Phone is actually based on the much earlier Qualcomm 1900 model, which had the sliding earpiece. The menus and screen layout would be instantly familiar to anyone who had previously used that phone.
The keypad on the Thin Phone is definitely sub-standard. The keys don't all have the same feel, and on my test model they didn't always work when I pressed them either. This was especially true of the tiny little mail and clear buttons. Those buttons were so small in fact that you would still refer to them as tiny even after looking at a Nokia 8890/8290.
The display is large and easy to read, but it provides very few characters. This isn't really a bad thing during normal phone use, but it becomes painfully obvious when you use the mobile browser. The bottom line of the display is used to label two "soft keys" on the keypad (not unlike the Nokia 61xx series). I certainly had no complaints about that, as I am a big fan of soft keys.
In the mobile browser mode, you get only three lines of text, which identical to what is offered on the much tinier screen of the Timeport/ST7867W. However, you get fewer characters across the screen than you do on the Motorola.
The phone is rather short on features, but if you are buying a phone to use primarily as a phone, then this shouldn't really be of any problem to you. If you were hoping for a more feature-laden phone, this model is definitely not for you. Except for the mobile browser, it doesn't really contain one feature of any note.
It doesn't even include the industry-standard 2.5 mm headset jack. I'm sure headsets are available for this phone, but you'll have to buy one specially built for use with the Thin Phone.
The phone feels very comfortable pressed against my ear, and I found it remained comfortable for long periods of time. Credit for this goes to the phone's wide earpiece, and the softly contoured edges around it. There were no harsh edges to press into any parts of my ear.
Sound Quality and RF Performance
Sound quality is one of the Thin Phone's stronger points. It has virtually no background hiss, and it produces a reasonable amount of volume. My only real gripe with it is that the sound is a little too bassy. This isn't that bad when the person you are speaking with is tinny sounding to begin with, but many male voices actually come out sounding a tad muffled as a result. Aside from that, the reproduction is very natural sounding, but I would still pick the Motorola Timeport/ST7867W as the clear winner in this department.
As for transmitted audio, it doesn't fair quite as well there. The quality of the outgoing audio is only average, and the volume is surprisingly low considering how close the microphone is to your mouth. It's still quite acceptable, and definitely more natural sounding than the Samsung 8580 or the Sanyo SCP-4000.
In the early days of CDMA implementation, I was totally put off by the odd audio problems that seemed ever-present. The industry has mostly cured that problem by moving to the more robust EVRC CODEC. However, not all phones seem to implement this new CODEC equally. The Thin Phone does a very good job, but its audio never quite sounded as rock-steady as what I was accustomed to with Fido. For a complete discussion of the EVRC CODE, click here.
At the time of this writing, Clearnet automatically supports EVRC for all their phones except the Thin Phone. This is because the network can distinguish it from the 2700, which doesn't have EVRC. You'll have to turn that mode on for yourself, but only if you can get Clearnet to give you the service code for the phone. On Bell Mobility, type FNC, 5, 0, and then enter the code 000000. Now select EVRC from the menu. The phone may or may not remember this between power cycles.
RF performance was a bit of letdown. Although it performs reasonably well, it doesn't seem to complete calls anywhere near as adeptly at the Timeport/ST7867W in weak signal conditions, and the audio breaks up more readily when the signals are marginal. However, it loses very little RF performance with the antenna down, so in that respect it actually does better than the Motorola models.
As for the analog performance of the 2760, it was an even bigger disappointment. The phone produces a lot more crackling than expected, and it has a much harder time completing calls in weak signal areas. The sound quality of analog is always worse than digital, but due to the rich bassy sound of the digital side, and analog side sounds enormously tinny and crude by comparison.
The Thin Phone is a great choice if you aren't looking to spend too much money on a phone. However, in the case of the 1960 on Clearnet, you should only buy one if you don't believe you'll have any need of analog fallback, since the phone cannot offer that. Clearnet only sells the 1960 because it was originally intended for their ill-fated "Say When" scheme. Otherwise, I'm sure they wouldn't bother selling a single-mode phone.
The sound quality of the phone is definitely above average, and if that sort of thing is important to you (as well as saving money), then the Thin Phone should be at the top of your shopping list.
Other Reviews of the Qualcomm Thin Phone
by Steve Romaine