Dopod D810 (GSM Quadband) Handheld - Review

Dopod D810 (GSM Quadband) Handheld - Review

While larger devices may have an advantage when it comes to features, some of the smaller handhelds don't fall too far behind, either. The O2 Atom Life is a fine example of that, packing in a slew of wireless connectivity options as well as a powerful processor in its tiny form factor. The Dopod D810 is about the same size as the Atom Life and manages to pack in one more wireless feature, GPS.

At S$1,298, the D810 is less expensive than the Atom Life. This price goes even lower when bought from operators with a contract.


The D810 measures in at 108 x 58.2 x 18.4mm, which makes it just marginally larger than the Atom Life. At 150g, it's incredibly light and will fit into any pocket or handbag without weighing you down. The material used on this handheld gives it a glossy finish on the outside. This makes it a fingerprint magnet, especially the back which is almost entirely in glossy black. The other color on the D810 is a gunmetal shade along the sides and bottom of the device. Looking beyond the smudginess of the plastic, the D810 is a very attractive device and will appeal to a wide range of tastes.

All the buttons and connectors are found along the non-black areas of the D810. The phone buttons along with four shortcut keys are found on the front, surrounding the direction pad and selector. An alternative to using the direction pad is the scroll wheel on the left side. This is meant for use with the right thumb and also functions as a selector when depressed. The best thing about having a scroll wheel is that volume control becomes incredibly easy during phone calls. Even with the D810 plastered to your face when taking a call, the scroll wheel is easily accessible to increase or decrease the volume of the other party's voice. Right below the scroll wheel is also an OK key for getting out of applications and menus.

Along the right side are the power, voice command and camera shortcut buttons. The D810's miniSD card slot is also found there, beneath a plastic flap which fuses well with the design of the handheld when closed.

The 2.8-inch display has a resolution of 320 x 240, the most common screen resolution for Windows Mobile devices. It is sufficiently bright and sharp, displaying both text and images clearly. Two cameras are found on the D810, with a VGA above the display for video calls and a 2-megapixel camera on its rear. Regrettably, the device's speakers are also found on the back, which is less than ideal when in a video call or watching a video clip. Also, we would have liked a sliding cover for the camera lens to protect it from smudges that may cause blurred images.

The stylus on the D810 is found on the bottom right corner of the device. While we had no problems with the stylus or the position of its silo, we did find that the paint around the stylus slot got scratched off after a period of use. This was a result of the frequent removal and insertion of the stylus.


A 400MHz Samsung processor powers the D810. While that may seem lacking compared with the 624MHz Intel processor in the O2 Atom Life, we found the D810 to be responsive in operation and handled applications without problems.

Windows Mobile 5.0 is installed on this handheld, complete with office applications which allow you to open Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Adobe Reader LE is also included by default for opening PDF files. The Today screen is slightly modified to include a few icons near the bottom of the screen. This gives quick access to commonly used settings like screen brightness and battery information. Note that while the D810 is capable of running Windows Mobile 6 Professional, Dopod currently has no plans to provide an upgrade for this model.

One of the additional applications installed on the D810 is My Connect. This allows users to download extras like themes and ringtones. It is accessible only to members, though that can be easily resolved by registering on Dopod's Web site.

Text input options on the D810 include the common block recognizer and onscreen keyboard. For one-handed use, a helpful Phone Pad option brings up a numeric keypad which acts like a regular mobile phone's typing method complete with T9 text input.

Connectivity options are aplenty on this tiny handheld. The most prominent one is HSDPA, allowing high-speed Internet access when available from the operator. Aside from the cellular options, it also comes with Wi-Fi built-in for use at hotspots. In fact, the only wireless feature we missed on this Dopod is the FM tuner, something that is present on the O2 Atom Life.

While it is great to use these wireless features on the device itself, one of the best things about having so many options is to be able to use them on a laptop computer. With either a mini-USB cable or a Bluetooth connection, HSDPA speeds can be achieved in Windows making use of the D810 as a modem. We tested this in an area with HSDPA coverage and found surfing the Internet comparable to having a broadband modem attached to the computer.

One glaring omission on the D810 is an audio jack. This makes it impossible to plug in a set of regular headphones for music. A pair of headphones which ends in a USB connector is included with this handheld, but this is scant relief for those who would rather use their own headphones. The A2DP wireless stereo Bluetooth profile is supported for pairing a set of Bluetooth stereo headphones.

A GPS chip can be found in the D810 for navigation. Originally, when the device was first announced, the GPS feature was disabled. A later firmware upgrade then activated this feature, and all that is required is the GPS software. We tested the unit using MapKing and found that navigation was good. It generally took less than 30 seconds to get a GPS lock, and from there, the D810 did well to pinpoint location and traveling speed when navigating in a moving vehicle. Do note that no software or maps are included with the device, so factor the extra cost in if that is important for you.


A Task Manager option in the settings page of the Dopod gives the option of closing applications whenever the X button is tapped. Usually, tapping the X button on the top right corner of applications just minimizes them to the background, and closing them will require navigating through a few menu levels in the settings page. This nifty program makes forgetting to close applications a thing of the past, freeing up precious processing bandwidth and making the device feel more responsive in general.

We had no problems with the phone reception for both voice and video calls. The speakers at the rear gave audible sound for speakerphone use and video calls, but as mentioned earlier, we would have preferred front-firing speakers for better clarity.

The video quality for video calls was also acceptable, with the other party able to see us clearly. The rear camera is good for quick snapshots, but don't expect the quality you'll get from a dedicated camera. The common problem of image noise when shooting in dim locations is clearly present with the D810's camera and, when transferred to a computer, photos weren't as sharp as we'd have liked.

The rated talktime battery life for the D810 is 5 hours for GSM and 4 hours for WCDMA. We got about two days of use on one full charge with some Wi-Fi use and about 1 hour of GPS navigation.