The mobile phone market in India has definitely seen a boom and the low-priced segment has been one of the major contributors. Looking at this, we've seen a number of companies coming with budget priced phones that have some decent functionalities. Not surprisingly, Beetel has joined the bandwagon and has brought the Xpert Connect GD530, which we're going to look at today.
Design and Build Quality
The GD530 has a standard candy-bar form factor, but with the curved corners and the tapering edges at the top and bottom, the phone looks quite attractive. The sides of the phone have a chrome finish which give the handset a classy look. The bezel on the top of the screen is a little too thick, and Beetel could have given the handset a sleeker profile by eliminating that.
Desktop has six customizable shortcuts
Just below the display screen, there’s a section that holds all the navigation buttons and some shortcut keys, as well. At the right side of the GD530, there’s a 2.5 mm audio jack with the volume rocker that also doubles up as the navigation buttons when you’re in the menu. Between the volume keys, there’s a flashlight button which when held down, switches on the camera. Finally, there’s a mini-USB port for charging and transferring data to the mobile phone. Initially, the middle button looks like it’s a shortcut for the camera, but it doesn’t work that way. Rather it only functions for opening an application.
QWERTY keypad feels flimsy
While the design is quite nice, the build quality was something that didn’t impress us much. The navigation buttons over the QWERTY keypad feel very plasticky and cheap and the feel of the buttons are poor. You’ll clearly see some space between the screen over the navigation pad and this gap means that dust and dirt can enter easily. The QWERTY keypad itself is not too great. While the keys are big enough to press without any discomfort, they feel a tad flimsy. The labeling on the keys are a little unconventional, but are quite visible and the keypad also has backlighting so typing in the dark is convenient. Usually when you use the handset with both hands, the back panel feels flimsy and loose.
The GD530 runs on a Java interface which has the look and feel that most low-end Java-based mobile phones have. It’s definitely not very attractive or intuitive to use, but the interface functions smoothly. There wasn’t one instance where the phone hung or took a long time to open an application.
Snaptu works quite well
The main desktop has six shortcut icons and all of them are customizable by selecting other options that are available on the phone. The main menu can be viewed in the grid or list format and browsing between the menus and folders is quite easy.
It was a little weird that the User Profiles did not include a Silent Profile option. Also, all the profiles had the same ringtone ringing at the same volume. A little odd and funny this, but Sheila Ki Jawaani playing loudly in the office can definitely be quite embarrassing. I noticed another glitch while typing an SMS message where the Space button will for some odd reason set the message to send rather than put a space. So in short, you can’t really send messages of more than two words!
As mentioned earlier, the phone has a 2.5 mm audio jack which is very rare to find on mobile phones nowadays. Unfortunately we did not get the bundled handsfree, so we had to use another pair to test the phone’s music qualities. The Xpert Connect supports MP3 audio and 3GP video formats.
The phone’s audio quality turned out to be very poor. While it was a little loud, the details in a track were missing completely. The bass was invisible and the highs could only be heard a bit whereas it was only the mids that could be heard properly. Even then, the whole music experience was just plain bad.
Probably one of the strongest points of the GD530 is that Beetel has loaded quite a few apps that can be used via the Internet. The phone is Wi-Fi enabled and also has EDGE/GPRS support. There is Facebook, Snaptu, Ibibo, Nimbuzz and Yahoo, as well. Plus, to know about the news around the world, Beetel has also thrown in a Reuters app. We saw that Facebook wasn’t very convenient to use, but Snaptu worked pretty well for that matter. Also, the phone has a native Internet browser which works well. The interface is like that of any Java phone, but the browser does a decent job. Beetel also has its own email service called Beetel Push Mail. We tried using the service, but it did not accept the mobile number we entered, giving an error that the number was not valid. Apart from the Internet connectivity, the phone also has Bluetooth 2.1 and the USB port for transferring data to the computer.
Indoor Macro images are plain bad
The phone’s call quality also was just average. While the outgoing voice is clear, the incoming has a slight issue with the voice sounding a little tinny. The handsfree also did not work well, with the outgoing voice not being clearly audible to the other person at all.
The Xpert Connect also has many miscellaneous applications. There’s the standard Memo, Alarm Clock, E-book reader, Sound recorder, Calculator and an Indian Calendar, as well. The phone also has a Mobile Tracker and a Contacts Backup feature pre-loaded.
Sporting a 2 megapixel camera, the GD530’s image quality is just about average and that’s only for outdoor images in particular. The indoor images lack detail and the colours also appear a little washed out. You can set the camera’s EV rating and white balance and it also has options to add picture effects like Sepia, Negative and more.
A little better than indoor shots, but details are missing
This phone has a 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery and the battery life is good enough for a day. That happens if you’re using a bit of all the functions like Wi-Fi, Music, SMS and making calls. We expected a little more, but this is not too bad either.
Low-priced but has a lot of glitches
Beetel has just made a recent entry into the mobile phone market and the Xpert Connect definitely looks quite buggy. The connectivity options are quite nice, but apart from that the phone has problems with pretty much everything else. A price of Rs. 4,499 looks quite attractive, but taking the phone’s performance into consideration, it’s not worth it. You can look at the Nokia C3 or even the Samsung Chat 335 if budget QWERTY phones is what you want to buy, but we recommend you give the GD530 a miss.
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