For a smartphone, the O2 Xda Orbit feels compact to use and to carry.
Living up to its smartphone name, the O2 Xda Orbit includes GPS sat nav, Wi-Fi, an MP3 music player and FM radio, a two-megapixel camera, expandable memory, quad-band and Bluetooth.
The combination of click-wheel, trackball and soft and shortcut keys is surprisingly easy to pick up and makes one-handed use a breeze. The Xda Orbit's virtual touch-keypadmay confuse newcomers. The microSD card slot is ridiculously under the SIM card, which is time consuming and very annoying.
CoPilot sat nav works very well, with maps optimised for the Xda Orbit's screen. The QVGA-quality screen is also perfect for viewing web pages over Wi-Fi. The MP3 player could be improved by the addition of a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the camera tkaes serviceable photos.
The O2 Xda Orbit offers 300 minutes of talktime and a not-too-great 190 minutes of standby. As long as you don't go away without your charger, you should be fine.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,2/2/2012 2:59:32 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
With built-in GPS you don't need an external antenna and the CoPilot software is one of the best available.
The lack of 3G capabilities detracts from its all-round goodness.
O2's Xda range of Windows Mobile-powered PDAs and smartphones has often set standards for others to follow. The Orbit carries on in this vein, with a shed-load of features stuffed into its compact chassis. Of course it is larger than a regular phone, but it still feels small in the hand and in the pocket.
The Xda Orbit has a click-wheel which you spin to scroll through the menus as well as a miniature trackball (last seen on the BlackBerry Pearl) where you can 'roll to scroll' and press to make selections. This navigation combination works very well. With the dedicated buttons and soft keys, the Orbit is very easy to use one handed.
For making calls, the Orbit has Call and End keys on the front of the casing and an on-screen virtual touch-keypad for number dialling. A built-in music player and FM radio is on hand for music fans, although the supplied stereo headset connects via a mini USB slot rather than a more universal 3.5mm jack. This may not be a major issue for some, but when you find out the headset contains the FM antenna you realise its limitations. It's a shame O2 couldn't have invested in a two-piece headset with a 3.5mm connector to make it possible to use your own earphones. The FM radio can store 20 stations in its memory, and the O2 Xda Orbit displays the first six stations, so it is easy to switch between them by tapping the screen.
You are going to need plenty of memory if you want to stockpile your music and multimedia gubbins. The Orbit has 128MB of internal memory and a microSD card slot to boost capacity. However, the microSD card slot is located in the most stupid place possible. To get to it you need to remove the battery cover, then the battery, and then your SIM card. It should be easier, especially if you're frequently switching between the card containing the sat nav software and your everyday storage card.
The O2 Xda Orbit has Wi-Fi built-in alongside Bluetooth. The most useful thing we found to do with the Wi-Fi was to hop onto our own wireless network or public hotspot to surf the internet and check email. The QVGA-quality (320x240 pixels) screen is geared for web browsing, measuring 2.8 inches corner to corner, and can be set into widescreen mode which makes it easier to view websites. The two-megapixel camera doesn't have a flash but performs well enough for basic snaps. The dedicated side shutter button makes it easy to use the camera for quick-fire snapshots.O2 has crammed a wealth of capability into the Xda Orbit, and the GPS and sat nav software are a major boon. Any chance of a 3G version, O2?