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Review: Helio Fin

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Menus Calls / Contacts Messaging  

The Fin uses Helio's custom interface. The home screen can be customized to display a variety of clocks, and calendars like most phones. However it can also run Helio On Top (HOT) - an application that displays news feeds and other RSS-based tidbits without having to fire up any applications. It's always there whenever you open the Fin.

The two soft keys offer access to the main menu and the contact list, while each direction on the D-pad adds a shortcut to a different application.

The main menu is a circle of icons. You can navigate around either using the traditional up down left right system you would use on any grid based menu, or by continuously pressing in any single direction on the D-pad. As you cycle around the main menu icons, each soft key takes you to the two most commonly used selections for that application, while pressing select takes you to each application's main menu.

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The look and feel of each application is different, which can be somewhat confusing. The Messaging application and Browser are distinctly different from any of the others, while many of the other applications look somewhat similar. Many have different fonts in different sizes and different color schemes.

The applications that look alike have remained largely unchanged since Helio's first phones, while the Browser and Messaging apps were totally revised for the Ocean - Helio's flagship released this spring - accounting for the disconnect.

Despite the different looks of each application, navigating within them works relatively consistently except in the Browser, which is totally different from any other application - on a Helio phone or any other phone.

Though the new unified inbox works surprisingly fast, the same cannot be said for many of the other more power hungry applications. Buddy Beacon is about the slowest we've seen it on any Helio phone and many other applications feel groggy.


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