Review: Helio Fin
The internal QVGA screen is crisp and bright, and finally one of the first Helio screens that is easy to read outdoors, even in bright sunshine. The external OLED screen, which should normally be bright and easy to read in all light conditions is impossible to read outdoors. There appears to be some reflective coating over this screen that is not used on other Ultra series phones that decreases outdoor legibility. Indoors, the external display looks very bright.
Even when in modest coverage, the Fin holds on to a signal well and continues to show 5 bars. In weak coverage areas, the Fin displays anywhere from 0 to 2 bars but still manages to make clear calls. It passes the vault test this way showing no bars but still making clear calls even in the farthest corner.
Getting online is significantly less reliable. In good coverage, it is not a problem and the phone connects over EV-DO easily. In spotty coverage areas sometimes the Fin will connect over EV-DO, but it will spend a long time deciding between 1xRTT and EV-DO. Other times it will just settle on 1xRTT and or it may not even grab a data connection at all.
The Fin is loud enough that you can hear it ring in all but the noisiest environments. It wasn't a problem to hear it on noisy train platforms, but we missed a few calls out at some noisy bars. The mediocre vibrate function on it was partially to blame. Unless the Fin is in a tight pocket, you don't feel it much.
On calls, it's easy to hear conversations, even with the volume only turned halfway up. Calls are not only plenty loud, but also sound clear.
Like most CDMA phones, the Fin can live on standby forever, but if you plan to use the Fin at all, you'll need to recharge it every day. If you barely use the Fin you might get two full days of use out of a charge, but we averaged about 1.5 with just moderate use. This is not the type of phone you can forget to charge.