Panasonic VS3 review: Millions of colors

David Polesný, 15 July 2005.

A single, but then very good display

When you open the phone you get its most precious treasury - the huge display of 34 × 45 mm of imaging surface. As expected, it is active, working in the very high resolution of 240 × 320 pixels. As a result, the spacing between the pixels is practically undistinguishable. As for the number of colors this display is able to show, we have already mentioned it once. In the computer world, this value is described as "True color". And it is really the true color and the preciseness of the display that make pictures viewed by Panasonic VS3 look just authentic. The only display that could probably be considered comparable to this one is the display of Sagem MY X-8 and Sony Ericsson S700.

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The big display

To be honest, I was having troubles trying to find something to rebuke the display with. Eventually I found out that all I had to do was to go out in daylight and try to work with the mobile. The cover glass of the display turned out to be its weak point. It is not antireflective and thus reflects practically everything. Setting the backlights intensity to a maximum was of no help, either.

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Pictures can hardly capture the extraordinary qualities of the display • no matter how well the display can view pictures, in direct daylight it becomes almost unreadable

The missing outer display is substituted by an info diode, which can light up in six different colors. A special color can be assigned to each of the following: ringing, incoming message, closing the phone - as well as to other events. The calls addressed at or coming from certain contacts from the phone book could also be marked with a special color light. Contrary to some Samsung models, here the diode does not go out within a few seconds, but keeps on winking insistently until you open the phone. As a result, you do not risk missing any of your incoming calls or messages. Moreover, taking in account the speed with which the user can access the main display of Panasonic VS3, the absence of an outer display could be considered nearly irrelative.

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The light coming from the diode falls on the surface of the front cover in a real flashy way

Comfortable keypad, weak backlight

Keypad is designed with the very and only purpose to make your work easier, so it features no special creative touches. The main control element is the round four-way navigating button made of transparent plastic material with a grayish ground layer. It is pressed with certain effort, because the margins of the surrounding plastics along its periphery are slightly uplifted. The central part of the navigating button is chromium-plated. It stands out and is thus easy to find by touch. Placed around it is the standard ensemble of the four functional buttons: the two context keys and the green and the red receivers placed below them.

The functions of the context buttons appear on the display. As for the ways of the navigating key, each of them can be assigned a function to the user's will.

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Keypad is simple and very comfortable

The numeric part of the keypad consists of a matrix of independent oval buttons. The material they are made of is also transparent plastics, but this time the ground layer is silver - just like the vicinage. The keys are relatively big. They are perfectly leveled to the surface that surrounds them, which makes pressing somewhat difficult, because the keys tail in a bit. The delicate click that comes out when a key is pressed confirms the made choice without disturbing those around you.

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Keys are leveled to the surface that surrounds them

As a matter of fact, I quite like the keypad, not only because it is a peace of cake to write SMS on it. Yet, as you know, nobody is perfect. In respect of the Panasonic VS3's keypad, the imperfect element is its backlighting. The latter is somewhat greenish and does not suit the phone at all. Even though the backlight it is quite weak and uneven, all keys get lighted.

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Backlighting could have been better

Let the colors play

The wallpaper occupies the biggest part of the main display. For this purpose, you can find several nice photos prepared for you in the phone. In the top line of the display are placed the traditional state indicating icons. In the bottom line then are the symbols of the functions that have been assigned to the context buttons. Time is displayed in the top left corner. Below it is the date. The name of the mobile operator appears in three different locations in accordance with the various wallpapers, but it is not possible to switch it off completely.

The main menu consists of a standard nine-icon matrix. The icons themselves are gorgeously colored, incl. the elaboration of the shades. There is no animation. When selected, the icon changes a bit and its frame gets slightly accentuated through the help of the space effect. As the display is quite big, the legends of the icons have also managed to fit in. The legend of the selected icon are pretty big, the rest are really small. Anyway, for simple orientation, the icons alone are fully sufficient.

Tip: click on one of the displayed pictures for a larger view

Stand-by display and main menu

Even though the nested menus contain text only, there is a tiny icon at the beginning of each line. The display is able to view up to 8 lines. As a result, a completely full display while you are inside the main menu is a rather exceptional thing to see. Nevertheless, the font is big enough.

To move inside the menu you can optionally use numeric short-cuts. The phone's reactions are instant, without the slightest sign of delay. If the default blue environment does not match your taste, feel free to select one of the other two possibilities: the grey-green or the flashy black one.

There are three graphic themes to choose from