Casio Exilim C721
Since the price dropped to $20
I have to say, that I'm a little biased towards this phone. I was a big fan of the Samsung Flipshot, and so the form and camera are very appealing to me.
Size, perfect to me
Great battery life (2 days was something I have never been able to do until I got this phone.)
Camera - It's hard for me to say the camera is bad, because this thing takes GREAT pictures, BUT, it's very hard to get GREAT shots. There's tons of settings and other toys to play with, and I recommend finding a setting you like and stick with it. I usually set it to "Food", haha.
Water resistant - Avoid getting it wet a lot. It will wear out. I dunk it in water probably 10 times, and while the phone hasn't "failed" people have a much harder time hearing me.
That's about it for me.
Good Camera / Software Could be Better
Last week, I upgraded my 3-year old Samsung A990 to the new Casio Exilim C721.
What I liked (G1-G11)
G1) C721 has a good camera, including optical zoom. I like the photos and controls. Upgrade from 3.2 Mp to 5.1 Mp is very nice!
G2) VZ Navigator works almost everywhere on the C721, including inside many buildings.
G3) I like the flexibility of assigning shortcuts on the C721 in comparison to the more limited A990.
G4) Great screen, easy to use keyboard, nicely lit keyboard.
G5) Nice size, fits well in my hand.
G6) Good battery life.
G7) The flip and rotate screen is great! Using the phone as a camera easy and natural.
G8) Decent sound quality for rings and speaker phone. Good phone reception and operation.
G9) One button shortcut to place into vibrate mode, turn on speaker, activate voice control, speed dial, lock the phone, and more.
G10) Instant response, no hesitation to any function - except camera does take a couple of seconds to start.
G11) Water & Dust resistance - should come in handy in future.
What I did not like (B1-B5) Most features I hoped would be upgraded, aside from the camera, still have the same limitations as found on my A990.
B1) Calendar functionality is mediocre.
Can't tie appointments to contacts and/or notes. Can't set default values for appointment fields. Can't specify time as just ET or CT; must still specify CDT or CST. Setting of appointment information is slow and takes too many keystrokes.
B2) Contact groups are limited to a max of just 10 entries! Phone should support hundreds of entries per group, considering size of phonebook.
B3) Would prefer quick contact search without multi-tap, and and for search to be within entire field. Example: 5663 (JONE) would find "Bob Jones".
B4) Need note field in contacts.
B5) Built-in photo editing software is inadequate. Need better built-in crop & rotate. Major step down from A990 photo-edit built-in photo edit software.
Summary: Good overall camera-phone. Software lacking.
First things first. It's a Casio! No one makes a better phone than them. Yes it does not have all the durability options of a G'zOne line phone but it performs just like one. Never have had any problems with the phone and there is nothing bad to say about it besides the fact that it is a thick phone and can be uncomfortable to put in your pocket.
Pros: Strong vibrate, loud ringer, durability and waterproof ability.
Cons: It's thick.
True story- I lost my Exilim in a foot of snow one winter. Looked and looked and could not find it. A couple days later it snowed even more. So this things was buried in over 15" of snow! So I gave up on trying to find it. Roughly two months later the snow was gone and I could see my yard again. I went back to the place where I had dropped the phone. Found it and took it home. Battery was dead by now but I put it straight in the charger and the phone started right up no problem! This thing is a beast!
Good But Not Better than Old A990
My review is not in-depth; I mostly mean to speak to those potential buyers that are wondering what kind of camera they will get by spending more $$. In particular I mean to the Casio to the older Samsung 3.2MP camera phone.
The overall camera is comparable to a $60 department store point-and-shoot. It suffers from the same limitations as the Samsung a990: slow start up, blurring pictures of moving people, poor low-light performance, slow picture save, and inadequate flash.
Start Up Speed
Like the Samsung a990, you rotate the screen to start the camera, only this doesn't start the camera. It brings you to a menu where you may choose camera, video, slide show, or browse pics. Once you select camera, you have the same wait that you had in 2005 with the Samsung. Functional, but no improvement in start-up time in almost five years is unimpressive.
Moving People Pictures
Moving people will always blur, indoors or outdoors. No improvement over a990.
Low Light Performance and Flash
Low-light performance is marginally improved over the a990. The $60 department store point-and-shoot will outperform it. Instead of flashing (thus the name), the flash just turns on like a flashlight and stays on as long as light remains low. Kind of awkward carrying around a flashlight at a party.
Slow Picture Save
Once you click the button and take the picture, you must choose to save or discard. (I would rather not choose; just save it so I can move on more quickly). If you push the save button quickly, the camera will not respond. You have to pause after you take the pic and then press save. Once you finally press save, it takes several seconds to save, then it takes a few seconds for the camera to restart. Overall there is no improvement over the older a990.
The bottom line is that it's an OK camera phone, but it is not a significant improvement over the Samsung a990
Disappointing for the $$$
The 5.1 mega pixel camera compared side by side with the 2.0 mp of the old LG enV doesn't look too different at first, but the flash on the Exilim is impressive (though bright... not terribly stealthy). The photo quality is disappointing when compared with the LG Dare and even the ENV. The photos come out blurry and the settings don't help at all because the flaw is in the movable nature of the top part of the flip phone when it's being used as a camera.
The flashlight feature is handy.
I am not impressed by the battery life at ALL for such an expensive phone. I returned the first Exilim I bought because the battery only lasted 24 hours with very minimal use. I did my best to train the battery from the time that I got it (letting it die and then charging it fully). Reportedly, the phone has 540 hours of standby mode to one charge. But with very light usage and almost no talk time, my first Exilim died with 24 hours and my second one dies in 40 or so hours. The battery is just awful when compared with my old LG ENV, or any of the new LG's my family owns. Very disappointing.
Also annoying is the fact that charging and transferring involves a very bulky cradle.
The way the phone swivels on the top is worrisome and seems breakable. The flip part on my first phone moved much more freely than my second one- and I blame that on the Verizon Wireless people in the store not knowing how to use the phone and almost breaking it by trying to force the back of the phone off without actually knowing how to.
The media center loads slowly and each time you scroll through your Album, the photos have to load individually and take forever.
So... again.... with light usage, the phone doesn't last nearly as long as promised. It's bulky and the menu options leave much to be desired. No wonder this phone isn't being advertised yet... it's nothing to be proud of or excited about.