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Cingular 8525

Posted by skraghav on May 10, 2007


Cingular 8525

Cingular 8525
Cingular power users, your mobile office has arrived. The first smart device to use Cingular’s new HSDPA high-speed network, the new Cingular 8525 handheld is an unparalleled global roaming phone, and equally valuable standing alone or acting as a modem for your laptop.
The 8525’s rounded form and slide-out keypad are pretty familiar– it looks like a slightly sleeker version of the Cingular 8125. It’s about the same size and weight, just 6.1 ounces with battery. The 8525 has a better array of physical buttons than the 8125, with dedicated “OK” and menu keys and a scrolling jog dial on the side along with the 8125’s mail, camera, Internet Explorer, phone keys and soft keys. The 320 by 240 color screen is pretty much the same as on many other Pocket PCs out there.
Keypad Open
Front Right Side

Cingular Wireless

Service Provider: Cingular Wireless
Screen Size: 2.8 inches
Screen Details: 320×240, 65k-color TFT LCD display
Camera: Yes
Megapixels: 2
Flash Memory Type: Micro SD
Bluetooth: Yes
Web Browser: Yes
Network: GSM, UMTS, UMTS
Bands: 850, 900, 1800, 1900, 2100
High-Speed Data: GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA
Special Features: Music

Slide the screen to the side and rotate the 8525 to use its QWERTY keyboard, which isn’t great, but it’ll get the job done. The keys are close together, like the 8125’s, but they’re also oddly smaller than its predecessor. Thankfully, the keypad lights up blue so you can type in the dark.

The real news here is the phone’s HSDPA support, so let’s get to it. With speeds averaging 863 kbps when I was using the 8525 as a PC or Mac modem, this is the first Cingular smart phone that connects you to wireless broadband in the 34 metro areas where Cingular has HSDPA service. HSDPA is about as fast as Verizon and Sprint’s EV-DO system for downloads, and it will be even more swift than EV-DO for uploads when Cingular enables 384 kbps upload speeds early next year. (Sprint’s new EV-DO Rev A network will be the fastest of all though, but they haven’t announced any smart phones for that network.)

Also unlike EV-DO, HSDPA roams. The 8525 is the first global, high-speed smart phone, able to tap into mid-speed UMTS or high-speed HSDPA networks in more than 50 countries, including most of Western Europe. You’ll pay through the nose for that, of course: either a flat fee of $139/month for 100MB/month of usage in 26 countries listed on Cingular’s website and unlimited data in the US. If you don’t take the monthly plan, you’ll have to fork out a horrifying $19.50 per megabyte (yes, that’s for one megabyte) in most European countries. There’s a breakthrough with roaming here, too: this is the first phone ever to be sold by a US carrier that makes calls in Japan.

HSDPA also has another, very cool advantage over EV-DO. You can make phone calls and surf the Web, or use the phone as a modem, at the same time. EV-DO phones make you choose between voice and data: HSDPA gives you both, simultaneously. That’s a major boon for people who plan to use the 8525 as their main way of getting online on the road, yet still want to be able to make calls.

If you don’t live in an HSDPA area, don’t despair. The 8525 also has integrated Wi-Fi (supporting WPA, but not WPA2 encryption), EDGE, Cingular’s national network with data speeds averaging 100-120kbps or so, and Bluetooth for connecting to PCs and headsets.

I tried using all of the 8525’s radios to see if they interfered with each other. Surfing the Web with Wi-Fi while making a voice phone call over a Bluetooth headset wasn’t a problem. But listening to stereo Bluetooth music while trying to connect to a Wi-Fi network, I heard dropouts in the music


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