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(Pocket-lint) - How a mobile phone works is important. After all tell me what other piece of technology you wouldn’t leave the house without. Vodafone and its live! service has opted for Sharp’s GX10i to be the flagship phone. While other phones do offer the live! service you can only get the Sharp GX10i if you sign up to Vodafone and its live! package. Sharp and Vodafone have put a lot of faith into this phone - but is that faith misguided or right on the button?

Based around a flip design, the Sharp GX10i comes across as quite large on the outset. While this does make for buttons that you can actually use, people who use to the Nokia style flat faced phones will notice the double thickness in there pocket.

On the outside - the phone offers an LCD display for caller ID, a camera for photos and a volume control switch. Open the flip lid and you are presented with a large colour screen. The keypad is large and menu buttons, d-pad and select options easy to use.

The main screen offers you quick access to all the important options such as messages and the Vodafone live! service. If you’re after the camera, that is just one click away and the phone is capable of sending and receiving MMS picture messages. You can save images in the following sizes - 288x352, 120x160 and 60x80 depending on your needs and this is all right for messing around but not much more. Reviewing images on your LCD screen is easy, but again marred by the camera’s capture quality. On the two lower settings there is a zoom function, and this will get you slightly closer to the action but don't expect to become a paparazzi photographer with it.

The phone itself is tri-band for global travel, has 16 polyphonic ring tones to choose from, and offers 255 minutes of talk time and 250 hours (10 days) of battery standby before you need to charge it.

The live! service purports to offer news, reviews, downloads and more all at the tip of your finger and it does pretty well at doing this. Services include the AA for traffic updates and Empire for movie reviews. The download section includes new ring tones, pictures to send to friends, as well as, games to keep you entertained. There is an additional fee to all of this and games vary from £2.50 - £5 depending on what they are.

The live! service also offers chat services, connection to Vodafone Messenger and the ability to check emails, as well as receive faxes. The chat sessions are a quick form of SMS messaging without the wait and it really relies on your texting speed as the predictive text capabilities of the phone haven’t been transferred to this area.

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Overall the live! service is useful if you are into that sort of thing and wanting to kill five minutes waiting for the train. Some of the menu systems will make you go in circles without an exit, forcing frustration and you coming completely out of the service and then going back in rather than simply pressing a back button.

While the live! service has the opportunity to offer lots, at the moment it is still early days. It doesn't help that the phone is not the most user friendly device in the world, and you do find yourself pressing buttons in frustration, confusion and panic. Close, but no cigar.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 11 November 2003.