Toshiba G500 smartphone

The mobile phone industry moves so fast that unless you are on the cutting edge when it comes to developing the latest models, you can easily get left behind.

In steps the G500 from Toshiba, the company's latest venture into the world of mobile telephony and its first smartphone.

Large and bulky, the phone is probably one of the ugliest handsets we've seen in the last 6 months and sports a large 2.3-inch screen with the usual array of d-pad, hang-up, and connect buttons beneath it.

Below all this slides out the keyboard, no not a QWERTY keyboard, but just a regular 12 key dial pad and its left us puzzling why the device is the size it is. Heck we’ve seen thinner, smaller QWERTY keyboard models.

Tosh say it’s the technology inside that makes it the size that it is, and while we agree that its certainly packed in there: Wi-Fi, HSDPA, a 2 megapixel camera and even a fingerprint sensor, there is still no getting around the fact that it's thicker than most and will certainly make a bulge in your pocket - "Is that a phone in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?".

Hidden away when the phone is shut, that fingerprint scanner, which is found in the same place as most digital cameras, is used for not only locking and unlocking phone, but also as a scrolling navigation button for getting through multiple emails or long web pages.

In use and it’s a bit of a gimmick. It was responsive to our finger movements, however to be honest we can't see what is wrong with using the rather sufficient d-pad on the front. We also found that because it was out of sight we instinctively went for the d-pad forgetting that it was there most of the time.

One of the other external features of the phone is the 2 megapixel camera, and while this might sound impressive, with no autofocus don't expect it to match up to your regular camera or cameraphone's like Sony Ericsson's Cyber-shot range.

Get inside and the phone runs Windows Mobile 5 rather than the newer version 6 with no customisations although 5 will still give you plenty of options and software including email on the go, a web browser, and the chance to open, view and edit Word and Excel documents.

However with only 64MB of internal memory you'll have to rely on the miniSD card slot (not hot swappable) to save songs, video or images on.

Verdict

This might be Toshiba's first smartphone, however that doesn't mean you have to want to want it.

Okay so its got HSDPA, Wi-Fi, a 2 megapixel camera and that fingerprint scanner, but the design and the now older software make this a phone that won't impress anyone you show it too.

With the smartphone market moving so fast there are plenty of options that are considerably better than this from RIM, HTC, Motorola, Palm and more and we would recommend checking those out over this model.

This product was kindly loaned to us by expansys.com