13 April 2011

Product Review: Star C8000 Dual sim Quad band TV WIFI QWERTY Keyboard Cell Phone

Imagine having 2 phone numbers that people can contact you on, but only one phone. You can keep your work and private numbers separate, or keep a pre-paid card as a 'semi-burn' phone, but the benefits for frequent travelers is what I like most about the concept. 2 sim cards, 1 phone, no roaming charges on local calls to book accommodation and transport, but you're still contactable if your credit card company wishes to confirm a purchase (despite notifying them of your travel plans). This is the concept behind a dual-sim phone. As far as I know only Samsung and LG make dual sim phones, but the networks don't like it and don't promote them.

I have used a dual sim phone for over 2 years now and after my previous phone needed to be replaced after an planned swim I landed up getting an upgraded model despite being tempted by the allure of the iPhone. So for a once off payment of $100 (no, not kidding) this is the list of what you get:

  • QWERTY Keyboard will take lots of convenience for you
  • Trackball
  • Quad band(GSM850/900/1800/1900MHZ)
  • Dual sim cards dual standby
  • Analog TV for free
  • Wifi
  • Java 2.0
  • Two real 3.0MP cameras(Biggest output:2048*1536)
  • Flash light for back camera
  • Flash light when turn on/off the phone / listen music
  • Gravity sensor:Wallpaper,Music
  • Bluetooth
  • FM radio(OUT)
  • E-book reader
  • MP4,MP3,Camera
  • Multi Language: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Melayu, Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey, Russian, Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Greek
Does it work?
Yes it does and very well too. Both sim cards are active at the same time (and there is no need for weird "surgery" as the slots fit normal sized cards. You can set different ring tones for the different SIM cards and it identifies which card (sim 1 or 2) the call / text message is coming in on. When making a call / sending a text message you manually identify which number you want the message to go out on. This has meant that I've accidentally replied to someone on a different number, but that just shows how easy it is to use.

What are the downsides?
  • The biggest one is that it is a "no-name brand" which means that backup and support are limited outside of China. I can't get any software to connect it to my pc and download my contacts / photos and when the USB cable broke I didn't know if I could get it replaced. Now I use a flash card which I physically insert into my computer to transfer photo's. (I don't take many pictures so can't comment on the photo quality.)
  • The phone companies don't support it, so I couldn't connect to 3G (I could in the US) until I realised that the underlying 3G portion is copied from Samsung. Once I had that data I could send and receive mms's, connect to the internet etc
  • There are really only 2 games and no apps. It’s a bit tiresome after a while, but it IS JUST A PHONE - which it does well.
  • The default language is in chinese characters (I don't know if it is traditional or simplified) which makes it interesting to change the language to english via the graphics after "restoring factory settings" on the phone.
  • Your phone waking you up at 2:30am because its 8:30am where the caller is at
  • The default sleep time on the alarm is 4 mins. Why this is I don't know and it is easy to change (when you remember), but it took some getting used to.

And then the party piece - THE TV. Yes, for $100 you get a mini TV that will play analogue channels. Its great for catching the weather report or a snippet of news while traveling on the bus, but it is dependent on the available signal and with a number of countries going digital shortly this will become less useful.

My conclusion: until Apple make a dual sim phone, I am going to stick with this one (and even then I'm not sure I'll switch). And do you know what the best thing is - you'll be the ONLY person you know who has one!


Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments on the C8000 dual SIM. I have one and it's great EXCEPT the flimsy USB connection on the charger cable came to bits and now I can't charge the battery, rendering the phone useless.

I have looked everywhere for a replacement cable without success.



Kim said...

I have the same problem. The good news is that the phone uses a standard Nokia charger - see if you can get your hands on one of those.