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Eten X500+ yearly review

with 2 comments

Well, I’ve promised to write this review half a year ago but better now than never… right? Currently the device is quite old and it even has its successor – X650 (which is basically all the same), however X500+ is still a very good choice, prices go down and it has a solid position on the market. Here is a comprehensive review of X500+ which points out all the features, functions, fancy stuff, etc so I want duplicate it. I’ll focus only on most important issues after a year spent with the device in my pocket.

Issues of early life

X500+ is a very well manufactured device. It has all you would ever need hardware solutions, small size and weight, superb display, good built quality, amazing rubber casing and… totally messed up software. It looks like Eten spent 95% of the time designing the device and the rest trying to make it work. Out of the box you need to get rid of all factory apps which don’t do anything except awfully slowing down the device. However this want deal with useless hardware buttons (delay), lagging of the display (90% of CPU consumption on tap) or low volume during phone calls.

Growing up

The software side of this device is a total joke and it gets even worse when you find out that bunch of ordinary guys worked out how to extract, make it better and recompiled it again as a new ROM, including the latest version of Windows Mobile 6.1, patches, updates and fixes. Those guys were also able to fix the sound, keys and display drivers. This makes X500+ a completely new device. It becomes blazing fast and very responsive with 30MB of free RAM and nearly 90MB of storage allowing flexible running of toughest apps. It just rocks and you keep wondering why Eten, with their experience, knowledge and resources couldn’t accomplish this on their own and few DIY freaks just did it!?

Mature life

I must say that overall I’m very pleased with the phone. I use it all the time, extensively running all the WM6 built-in features like calendar, tasks, notes, email (“push” sync with Live! account), text messages, office suite or Internet browsing (install Netfront browser to understand how fun and convenient it can be!) and a new outstanding feature in KVA ROM – ICS (Internet Connection Sharing). So, as the PIM (Personal Information Manager) it works perfectly and the way Microsoft planned it makes a lot of sense. There are tons of third party apps to do the same thing “better” but for me Microsoft way works fine. Phone works well too and GPS unit is very precise but takes some time to locate satellites when first launched. I suppose this is rather the case of my map app than the unit itself. More important is the fact that with new ROM I can use my phone as a navigation, receive calls, quickly jump to Today with one button and work simultaneously without any hang-ups. Before the tweaks the device was way more sluggish and out of memory was very common. TCPMP converts X500+ into a very powerful and fast portable media player. Equalizer allows you to boost volume and full range of frequencies so the sound gets nice and crisp with good quality headphones (not the ones bundled). There is even a custom driver option to disable LEDs from glowing up like a X-mass tree when hardware keys are pressed. Sweet!

Perfect?

Probably you’re thinking … and yes, you’re right. The device is just perfect (now) except 2 small details – the camera, which is totally useless and the battery life, which could be longer but I assume that’s rather normal with this kind of devices. The battery lasts up to 2 days of normal use, with constant EDGE transmission of small bits of data it lasts for about 5 hours and up to twice as much on WiFi. Recently me device barely could survive the night but after resetting it (after half a year) and reinstalling all the stuff it become once again fast and stopped draining the battery. If you want me to write about any more faults… well the back cover could hold tighter and I can’t make Skype to work via the front earpiece. That’s all.

Users complained about build quality (Eten in general) but I must say that my device looks nearly like new except two scratches after a small incident. Even the screen protector is still factory and my X500+ only few times was in the bundled belt case. I carry it all the time simply in my pocket, just remember to keep the display towards your body not to brake it.

Conclusion

I bought the device for two reasons: it had the best specs for the money (quite a lot) and I could launch my trading platform Meta Trader 4 to work away from home. This is why this category is called Office in my pocket. I have all the stuff I need in my pocket and you can’t imagine how comfortable it is comparing to a heavy, clumsy laptop. The blend of capabilities, portability and battery life is just so right (and a USB charger or cable is easy to find now days). You just need to understand what ideas are behind (any) Windows Mobile based device and find a device that can handle your apps and requirements well – like X500+ with few tweaks. I can’t live without it anymore and I can’t see any reasons to swap my Eten for anything else.

How to tweak

If you have some knowledge in computers and can follow simple steps, you can tweak your device right now. First of all read some post from KVA’s thread to understand what’s the deal with custom ROMs. This is also the ROM I have and I would suggest. Lorbas’s ROM is a KVA compilation with few additional changes, latest Windows versions and tweaks but you need to know exactly what you want from your device, so KVA is a good all-rounder and starter. Here is how to update ROM and my list of registry tweaks. Well just browse all my posts in this category to know what is what and I’ll prepare my promised post about custom ROMs and drivers.

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Written by Hadrys

September 30, 2008 at 10:04

Posted in Office in my pocket

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. I really liked my x500+ too. It’s eclectic and serves many functions.

    But lately my x500+ ends up shutting itself off all the time because the battery cover tends to slide and open up a bit. Is there a solution for this?

    osity

    December 8, 2009 at 06:54

    • My X500+ sometimes does the same except it doesn’t turn off until I take off the cover. I haven’t looked for the solution yet but I recon I’ve seen something about it on Eten’s forum. Maybe a folded piece of paper will do the trick like in Nokia phones?

      PS After reflashing my Eten, the UP button started working again. Good but very wired.

      Hadrys

      December 8, 2009 at 11:47


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