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The ZN5 is the product of a joint effort from Motorola and Kodak to create a 5MP camera phone that aims to provide users with exceptional photos – or so they claim. Here’s what I have to say after testing the ZN5 and putting it though its paces.
This candybar handset is a little weighed down at the top end where the camera is located. The 2.4-inch TFT LCD has a standard 240 x 320 pixel resolution with 256K colors. The touch-sensitive keypad can be a bit of a pain though – it’s not really touch-sensitive since it requires you to depress the keys, just as you would with a normal keypad. One problem is you’re likely to end up typing more letters than you need, because of the extra sensitivity.
The shiny little studs on the numbers give it a bit of a girly feel. There are three shortcut keys when the camera is active: for deleting images, accessing the gallery, and for file transfer. The keys around the five-way nav-pad are a little too close together for comfort.
On one side of the handset are the volume/zoom keys, a small slider to lock the keypad, and a dedicated camera key. A 3.5mm earphone socket and well-concealed USB port are located on the other side. There’s no hot-swap slot for the microSD card. Even if it comes with 350MB of internal user memory and a 2GB card, not having a hot-swap is a real downer.
The 5MP camera has a slide-down lens cover to keep the lens protected. Moving the lens cover down automatically activates the camera. The Xenon flash is located right beside it.
Features and Performance
The interface is a very plain Linux Java OS, but that’s not the worst part – it’s also extremely sluggish. After selecting an option, it takes at least two seconds before the application is activated. All processes seem a bit lengthy with this handset, including something as simple as receiving a file via Bluetooth. Instead of a simple 'accept' option, the handset will first ask you to connect to the device and only then will it ask you if you want to accept the file.
Other regular features include an alarm clock, calendar, world clock, and calculator. It also has the regular notes and task list features available for keeping schedules etc.
The audio player and FM radio are a better part of the handset’s features. Thanks to the 3.5mm earphone socket you can use your own earphones, which I did since I found the bundled hands-free not too comfy for my big ears. Sound is loud and quite clear. The lack of a customizable EQ preset is not felt as the ZN5 has settings for Bass Boost and Spatial Audio. There are of course plenty of EQ presets to choose from as well.
The radio doesn’t have a recording feature, and scanning for stations to auto-store presets is another lengthy and time-consuming process. However, you can simply scan and store a channel as a preset by pressing a number on the keypad. Other media features include a voice recorder and Motorola’s MusicID (which didn’t work as well as I hoped). A TV-out is included, for which Motorola has supplied the wires. Games include an EA version of Tetris, Sudoku and Mobiklub Cricket.
Another issue with the ZN5 is connectivity. For the simpler part of this segment it supports Stereo Bluetooth very well, and PC connectivity via micro USB enables users to easily access both the onboard memory as well as the microSD card. The browser is fast and user-friendly, though it won’t allow you to save a site as a bookmark or save the page if it hasn’t opened fully. Further, you can't zoom in/out or select the full-screen option till that page is 100% done. Thankfully, you can open multiple pages at a time.
Now for the bad news. Setting up your email account is not easy. Most new handsets automatically download settings for you, and all you need to do is provide your email address and password. Even via Wi-Fi (a bonus) the ZN5 took very long to get the job done. The "You are connecting..." message showed for over 10 minutes. After it finally got the account set up it refused to connect, providing a variety of excuses such as Network Unavailable (when I could surf the Internet via the browser) and Google Server Unavailable, so I just downloaded Gmail for Mobile and that worked like a charm.
Google Maps posed a problem too. It didn’t download properly – an error message said something like "network error" after downloading 96%. I kept trying for days with no luck. I even tried downloading the .JAR file and running it, but it just kept hanging.
The ZN5 has the ShoZu client preinstalled, but it refused to work. It wouldn’t allow me to add sites or log in, or send files to email addresses. After entering the relevant information it would simply hang, no matter how many times I tried. A pity, because ShoZu comes in quite handy for uploading images and videos – when it works.
Motorola TEXT for backing up your text messages and Motorola BackUp are both available for keeping your data secure, wirelessly. MOTOSYNC is an easy way to sync and back up your phone’s content on your PC.
Considering that Kodak has had a hand in the production of this handset I expected nothing less than exceptional images. Truth be told it delivered quite well, though it lacked features that a lot of other 5MP camera phones normally come with. Colors were decently captured.
Normal images with no setting selected in daylight or normal lighting came out quite well. I could have used scene mode in certain places but it wasn’t needed. The level of detail in the images taken in macro mode were also quite good.
The Xenon flash is definitely worth having, especially in poorly-lit or dark areas.
The ZN5 has a three-shot panorama setting that (much as in Samsung’s Omnia) automatically captures successive images by simply moving in the appropriate direction. It would also automatically stitch the image.
The handset’s editing software was sadly slow and not very entertaining, with very limited settings.
The handset doesn’t fare too well in the battery department. Users should get about a day and half of usage with a little camera, messaging, surfing and a little music thrown in. If you’re going to be downloading your email on the fly it will obviously make matters worse. The handset can be charged via USB, so if you're accessing the phone via the PC at least you wont have to worry about the battery draining. The total amount of available talktime on a full charge works out to around 2 hours and 50 minutes.
The ZN5 doesn’t have too many things going for it except the camera and the superb audio player. At its price of Rs 15,800 there are other 5MP camera phones with similar features that aren’t as much of a hassle. It’s a stylish handset though; the second one to launch here with a Xenon flash (after the Nokia N82). So think carefully before making your decision.
GSM 850/900/1800/1900, EDGE
|Physical||118 x 50.5 x 12(bottom) 16 (camera) mm, 112g|
|Display||240 x 400, 256k colors, TFT LCD, 2.4 inch |
|Memory||350MB internal, MicroSD for external |
|Media||AAC+, MP3, 3GP, Voice Recorder, FM radio, MusicID|
|Camera||5 megapixel, auto-focus, Xenon flash|
|Connectivity||USB v2.0, Bluetooth with A2DP, Wi-Fi |
|Battery||400 hrs standby, 2 hrs 50 mins talktime |