PDA phone savvies know the most practical way to reply mails and messages fast is to utilize a full-size QWERTY keyboard. Other than the obvious of providing a sense of tactility over touchscreen displays for input, a QWERTY keyboard gives users versatility and speed in typing messages, be it for casual or formal correspondences. Still, consumers are faced with several implementations, but the one that has been growing in popularity is the slide-out version you may recall seeing in the Dopod 818Pro and 838Pro. That said, the new Dopod C800 also has the same slide-out QWERTY keyboard, albeit a slimmer handset in comparison.
The C800 manages to be slender than the 838Pro because 3G connectivity was dropped, which also means the telephony and data communications it offers and consumer group it targets are different from the latter. In terms of design and button layout however, the C800 is vastly similar to the 838Pro. New in the C800 are LEDs to reflect the status of CAPS LOCK and FUNCTION keys, much in the same way as its desktop keyboard equivalent. Also, the sliding mechanism for its QWERTY keyboard is noticeably better than the 838Pro where it is now semi-spring assisted as opposed to fully manual on the 838Pro. Another significant difference is the new slider button that replaces the jog dial on the 838Pro for quick selection and navigation purposes when the use of stylus is not necessary.
Like the 838Pro, the C800 also has a 2.0-megapixel camera at the back but because the chunky self-portrait mirror and macro switch on the former are no longer present, the entire camera face is now more compact and neat.
Photo quality was decent but video recording performance was just average as most clips recorded exhibited a fair amount of noise. As mentioned earlier, the C800 does not have 3G support for video calls, which means Internet connectivity is limited as compared to the 838Pro. The appeal of the C800 is altogether different; more meant for those who can hold off mobile Internet activities until they are within hotspots. The 838Pro on the other hand continues to be the phone of choice for mobile warriors with more critical and urgent need to get online whenever the need arises.
The Dopod C800 is a one-of-a-kind PDA phone because there are no other handsets with such a nice (and large) keyboard and in such a manageable form. Just the size and tactility of the keyboard itself are reasons enough to justify a trade-in, especially for those who have long been tormented by small QWERTY keyboards. Moreover, the C800 is also equipped with the same powerful business card reader application (among others such as Zip, SIM manager, Streaming Media, etc.) that Dopod products are renowned for to assist you in organizing your contacts from business cards.
Considering its US$800 price tag, the absence of 3G may not go down well for executives who are often on the road. However, given its small and slim form factor and the fact that it a cheaper 3G-less 838Pro, the C800 is definitely worth a long hard consideration if you've always fancied QWERTY keyboard for input and wireless hotspots are often just a stone throw away.