2nd February 2006
Initially announced two years ago, the
BenQ P50 is a supremely late mobile phone - initially
slated for release back in late 2004, and then with
a release date that slipped so many times that most
people safely assumed that the P50 was vapourware.
The main problem with the BenQ P50 is
most likely that the specification was so far ahead
of its time in 2004 that it's taken a while for technology
to catch up.
It's a Windows smartphone with a 240x320
pixel touch sensitive display, a QWERTY keyboard, WiFi,
a 1.3 megapixel camera and SD/MMC memory card expansion
that also supports SDIO peripherals.
It runs Windows, so it
It's quite a large device, at 170 grams
and 122x60x20mm, but bear in mind that it has a large
2.8" display plus a keyboard. The overall design
of the BenQ P50 seems to be straightforward and practical,
and it's certainly distinctly different from the type
of Windows handset that HTC produce.
At first glance, the BenQ P50 seems
to have impressive specifications.. but there are several
features that show the P50's age. For a start, the P50
doesn't support 3G or EDGE data, so it you're not connected
to a WiFi network then internet connectivity is going
to be slow. Then there's the operating system, the snappily
named Microsoft® Windows Mobile™ 2003 Pocket PC Phone
Edition Second Edition - most recent Windows phones
run the much improved Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system
instead. Compared to rivals such as the Symbian-based
Ericsson P990, the BenQ P50 compares poorly on battery
life, weight, camera resolution and 3G capabilities.
We're not saying that the BenQ P50 is
out of date though - inside is a 416MHz Intel PXA 272
processor that's found in many other similar handsets,
the internal memory is a fairly typical 64Mb and just
about everything else is pretty much on the button for
that market sector. But had the BenQ P50 been launched
in 2004, or even 2005 then it would have been significantly
ahead of most of the competition.
However, it's a competitive handset..
and BenQ's recent acquisition of Siemens Mobile open
up the possibility that the P50 might reach a wide audience.
From what we can tell of the BenQ P50, it certainly
deserves a look.. regardless of how late it is.
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P50 at a glance
pixels, 65k colours
/ 170 grams
4 hours talk / 5 days standby