Here’s one more ultra budget QWERTY handset for those texters, and this one’s from Fly Mobiles. The BD430 or Circle is just another BlackBerry clone. Seems like RIM has cornered the QWERTY market with regards to design. Nevertheless, the Circle is not exactly the same and obviously not in the same league as RIM, so before ruling it out, let's take a closer look.
While it may look a bit like a BlackBerry Curve edition it’s identical in most facets to the Zen Z77. The 2.2-inch display has slightly higher resolution at 176 x 220 pixels. The layout of the keys are identical, from the icons to the placement but the Z77’s QWERTY was just a little easier on the fingers. The 3.5mm handsfree is also located on the side and the micro USB port for charging and USB connectivity is located at the bottom with the 1.3MP camera at the rear near the external speaker. What it seems like is both companies got one manufacturer to design the schematics of the device with very slight cosmetic alterations for each. The Circle is a bit lighter than the Z77 at 104g.
The design is a non-issue as you’ll get used to the keypad with a little usage. What is a rather disturbing problem is the volume for calls. For some reason it’s too loud and irrespective of how low the call volume is decreased, it seemed like the world could hear my conversations. The call audio channel was ‘leaking’ out though the rear speaker and sounding hollow from the earpiece. When I placed my finger over the rear speaker while having a conversation, I noticed a substantial improvement in call quality. In handsfree speaker mode though, it’s very loud and clear.
Features and Performance
The BD430’s OS may be the same as any other handset in its class but obviously the UI is tweaked. It’s smooth flowing with no lag, colorful and very easy to navigate. All features are easily accessible and well laid out. Like Micromax’s Q3 though, the LCD display is a bit awkward to stare at for long periods as it has a bit of a ‘3D-like’ feel. However reduce the brightness and you won’t have too much of an issue.
What is most impressive is the layout of the UI for the handset’s Dual SIM functionality. It’s very user friendly and designed to make it very simple to distinguish which SIM is being used when and logs for the same are also clearly defined.
On the media front the handset fares quite well. The music player comes with EQ presets which manage a significant amount of difference to the overall audio experience. The earphones on the handsfree (in ear) are not too comfortable, so if you have a good set of earphones you’ll enjoy your music a lot more. The FM radio has a scheduling function so it can be used as an Alarm (as long as the earphones are plugged in). There’s also a recording option that can also be scheduled. Reception was quite good on the whole. The voice recorder was a bit of a disappointment as it’ll require you to keep the handset rather close to you for recordings.
The video player played my 3GP and MPEG4 files but there was a bit of lagging. You will have to convert videos to a lower format and you’ll have no issues as long as the resolution and frame rate (30fps) are proper.
The Circle offers GPRS and WAP connectivity for the internet and downloading POP and IMAP email. The native browser is adequate but Opera Mini (preloaded) is a bit faster at rendering pages. Nimbuzz is preloaded for the frequent chatters and social networkers. The Snaptu app will allow users to upload images to their Facebook page, Picasa Album, Twitter, Flickr and so much more. The catalog section will also allow you to download more. Bluetooth with A2DP and USB 2.0 are also connectivity options. Like most other Java mobiles, the BD430 can also be used as a webcam when connected via USB (if necessary).
When it comes to basic functions the BD430 doesn’t disappoint. From the calendar to the world clock and Ebook reader as well as the health app, the handset is well covered. It also has a scheduled Power option for switching the handset on or off. A few extras thrown in include security features like a password protected function for the phone book, SMS or call log, a Mobile Tracker as well as a Black List option.
It’s a basic 1.3 megapixel camera on board and don’t expect too much. Standard options like White Balance and night mode are all present. The camera is however the handset's worst feature. Image quality is in all honesty, really bad. True that most other handsets in this class tend to produce images of equivalent quality, after a slight comparison, this one is not one of the better cameras. In bright sunlight images tend to have a very purple hue about them.
When indoors though, the colors are better but the watercolor effect is still very very evident.
Fly estimates that the handset is capable of delivering up to 8 hours of talk time. As great as that may sound, the Circle doesn’t reach anywhere close to that mark. However, in realistic terms it crosses the four hour mark which is still much better than average. With average use it’ll take over two days of usage before the battery dies out completely.
The Bottom Line
The BD430 Circle comes with a price tag of Rs. 3,849 (MRP). It’s just a little more expensive than the Zen Z77 but also offers a bit more on the social networking front. It’s definitely a good choice for the price if this is the form factor you’re looking for. The only major issues you’ll have to contend with is the slightly weird LCD display factor and the camera. The reason the camera is a problem is because uploading images in this kind of quality just doesn’t make sense.
Published Date: Jan 27, 2010 03:27 pm | Updated Date: Jan 27, 2010 03:27 pm