A cursory look at the Sendo X

October 12, 2004

To make a long story short, I was recently asked to sell a Sendo X for one of the attorneys I worked for at Ariba this past summer. It was a little awkward because, well, I'm the one who pushed the X to begin with (my constant talk about mobile phones tends to make people listen... eventually), even though I told him that it probably wasn't going to be what he wanted/needed and that the Treo 600 (which he ended up getting) would be the better choice for him.

Given current time constraints and limited time actually spent with the device, I don't have too much to say about it. One thing I can say for sure is that I'm glad I didn't buy it — it's one of those phones that I would have sold rather quickly. Between the Sony Ericsson K700i, the Nokia 7610, and the Sendo X, I think the clear winner, at least for me, is the 7610 (my current phone). While it's not really fair to lump the K700i into the same category as the other phones (it cannot be considered a "smartphone"), I pretty much had my "next phone" narrowed down to the above three. Anyways, I'm getting off course here and should probably bring the focus back to the X.

My main gripe with the X, and something I noticed immediately, was its thickness. This was my biggest worry after seeing pictures of it for the last few months (year?). It's just too thick to carry around in jean pockets (at least for me). The phone also feels a little weird in my hands, which is surely due, at least in part, to its thickness. Sendo would have done well to "squish" the phone and sacrifice narrowness for less depth — usually a good tradeoff if you ask me. The phone is almost a little too narrow, especially in light of its depth — the whole form-factor just 'feels' weird.

It doesn't feel very solid and 'gives' quite a bit if you squeeze it. From pictures I had seen online I was expecting a much more "polished" look, but when I saw it in person it just didn't strike me as something that should cost as much as it does.

The best thing I can say about the phone is the "Sendo Now!" screen, which is an all-in-one display that takes over the screen when other applications aren't in the foreground. It harbors all kinds of information including the last number you called/received, the number of unread e-mails and SMSs you have, your unfinished to-do items, calendar entries for the current day, and the ability to add shortcuts to any program on the phone. This software was one of the main reasons I was looking at this phone to begin with; it reminds me a lot of some of the better "launcher" and calendaring applications available for PalmOS (such as DateBK), or, dare I say, the Windows Mobile "Today" screen.

The "Now!" screen is the first in a series of customizable tabs available to you — you can add, delete, and configure these at will. One of the neater, built-in tabs, is "History," which displays the last few programs you've selected. For each of the tabs, which Sendo calls "Panes," you can also customize the function of the right softkey — very nice.

I'm kind of disappointed that I haven't seen anything like this available for Symbian OS yet (at least not for free). Maybe Sendo will release this for Series 60, though I'm not holding my breath — it's really all that sets the X apart from others in the Series 60 space.

Like I said, this wasn't meant to be a review by any stretch, but more a glancing look at a phone I'd had my eye on for a while. I can say that I'm very happy with the 7610 so far and don't see anything that's going to knock it off its pedestal in the near future (save the Nokia 6670, which is basically the 7610 in a different body), though Russ might disagree with me on this one.

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