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A *very* brief review of some features of the San Diego:

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#1
richardw1992

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Whilst there are certainly better reviews and videos on this forum and youtube etc I thought I would share my opinion with some people who perhaps aren't so able to get down to an Orange shop and try one out themselves.

The guy went and got one out the back and turned it on presumably for the first time ever as they had none on display, however the battery said 100% which confused me?

I had no experience of the internet as none was available but a few features I tested out:

Camera:
So it is 8Megapixels, that they can't lie about, but there is much more to making a good quality camera than just the number of mega pixels. The auto focus seemed to work nicely and promptly, but when I looked at the taken image it appeared rather blurry, I tried several times, perhaps just my wobbly hands, but the clarity wasn't quite what I was expecting. Certainly nowhere near the standards of the GS2 or Sony Xperia 8MP cameras.

Colours also seemed quite washed out and not captured particularly vibrantly. These photos were taken under the bright lights of the store, so not daylight, but certainly not gloomy in that shop!

Overall this is leagues ahead of the blades camera, but unsurprisingly can't keep up with the big brand giants.

Screen:
It does feel nice and big and very crisp with that high resolution, images were very sharp and impressive in that respect. However colours weren't quite as vidid as I would have liked, this is probably largely due to the fact I was lucky enough to get an AMOLED San Francisco (and still use it), so I have grown very accustomed to the lovely contrast. Blacks were displayed pretty nicely though, appeared quite dark and not grey or 'illuminated'. Brightness was obviously cranked up to full for this test. Again I couldn't take the phone out to test in daylight but lets face it all screens suck in sunlight. So those of you who are used to an AMOLED display may be disappointed with the colour reproduction, especially when coupled with the washed out images of the camera, viewing back the photos I had taken compared to the real life image in front of me was, well, quite poor.

Processor:
Had no means of downloading any benchmark applications due to the lack of internet. It was running gingerbread, I asked the guy about the proposed ICS update and he had little idea it even existed. The app drawer was very smooth, this running the 'Orangified' stock Gingerbread launcher. Switching in and out of apps was also fairly rapid and smooth, the settings menu was fast and snappy and scrolled well. However swiping between home screens no matter how gentle had lag and jutter, I guess this is due to the stock launcher not being very well optimized and a 3rd party one would solve this, but I would have expected the 1.6Ghz Atom to be able to cope with something like this..

Internal Storage:
You only actually get about 10.5GB of usable internal storage, not the full 16GB advertised, as to be expected though.

I was looking at the pay as you go handset for £199, and he asked me how much I had been topping up on my San Francisco, I was blunt and said I unlocked it and changed networks to Giffgaff (and much to my surprise he was the first phone shop employee to have actually heard of them), he was more shocked when I told him what I got for a measly £10 a month though, left him a bit speechless to be honest. I had the cheek to ask him if they would unlock it for me, he said they wouldn't but customer service were capable of doing it and will do so, so basically he didn't want to just sell me the handset unlocked on the spot. I have heard rumours before that you have to wait 3 months before Orange will charge you £20 or so for the unlock.

Lastly he said if you already have a pay and go sim and wish to upgrade (so all you old San Francisco users providing your sim is still active! Or if you have a family member on Orange) you don't have to purchase a new one saving you that £10 top up on top of the handset price. Just remember this phone needs a microsim though.

Edited by richardw1992, 11 June 2012 - 12:49 PM.

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#2
captainkremmen

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I bought the San Diego on Thursday, and don't experience any lag at all switching between home screens.

I also tested the camera instore, and was actually quite impressed. But then again, my previous phone was a Samsung Monte and the SD camera beats it in all aspects. However, I did think photos were a little blurred and figured out it was as a result of using the dedicated camera button. It requires quite a firm press so it's difficult to hold the phone completely still when pressing it. Results when using the software button onscreen were much sharper though. After playing with it for a few days, and comparing with friends and their pics from their phones, the camera on the SD seems to be on a par with others in the midrange pricepoint. It's fine for snapshots when out and about, but like pretty much all cameras on phones, it's certainly no replacement for even a good, budget compact digital camera. Oh, and I had the chance to play with a mates HTC OneX too, the camera on that is superb I have to say but then again it's almost three times the price of the San Diego.

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#3
Rem1x

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Things speed up a butt load when you start replacing the default apps! The camera might be good, but it's really hard to tell. So many settings. Really needs an 'auto' setting!

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#4
mclassplanet

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Tried the San Diego's camera in a store today but noticed something that nobody seems to have mentioned yet. Has anyone noticed an occasional VERY loud clicking sound on the soundtrack of movies as the camera is moved? I think it's autofocus-related because it doesn't seem to happen if the camera is kept very still, and I was very careful to move the camera gently in order to avoid any handling noises being picked up by the microphones.

Can autofocus be disabled in movie mode or are the clicking noises caused by something else?

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#5
captainkremmen

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Tried the San Diego's camera in a store today but noticed something that nobody seems to have mentioned yet. Has anyone noticed an occasional VERY loud clicking sound on the soundtrack of movies as the camera is moved? I think it's autofocus-related because it doesn't seem to happen if the camera is kept very still, and I was very careful to move the camera gently in order to avoid any handling noises being picked up by the microphones.

Can autofocus be disabled in movie mode or are the clicking noises caused by something else?

Just tried it, and yes, I can confirm the same thing. Definate low volume clicking (not loud on mine, but definately there) when you move the camera around. I never noticed it instore, probably because the shop was a bit noisy. I'll be emailing Orange about it anyway.

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#6
mclassplanet

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Just tried it, and yes, I can confirm the same thing. Definate low volume clicking (not loud on mine, but definately there) when you move the camera around. I never noticed it instore, probably because the shop was a bit noisy. I'll be emailing Orange about it anyway.

Personally I don't mind the click sounds if they're relatively quiet but they sounded very loud on the demo phone when I tried playing the movie back on the phone with the volume set to maximum, though the shop wasn't that noisy at the time so the clicks could have just sounded prominent by comparison.

If a different focus mode is used such as "Touch" (as mentioned on Page 29 of the manual) for recording movies, does that help to alleviate the problem? To be fair, nearly all phones that use some form of autofocus mechanism do make some noise when focusing their camera, so it's only regarded as a 'fault' if the noise is excessively loud.

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#7
captainkremmen

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Personally I don't mind the click sounds if they're relatively quiet but they sounded very loud on the demo phone when I tried playing the movie back on the phone with the volume set to maximum, though the shop wasn't that noisy at the time so the clicks could have just sounded prominent by comparison.

If a different focus mode is used such as "Touch" (as mentioned on Page 29 of the manual) for recording movies, does that help to alleviate the problem? To be fair, nearly all phones that use some form of autofocus mechanism do make some noise when focusing their camera, so it's only regarded as a 'fault' if the noise is excessively loud.

Thought I'd try that, but when in video recording mode you cannot alter focus settings. The various focus modes only work in camera mode. I've also noticed that if you close the settings sidebar, you cannot open it again once recording is in process, nor can you use the zoom while recording, you have to set the required level of zoom before pressing record. Maybe it's just my fingers that are the problem though :)

I also tried various quality modes and the clicking happens in them all. I've emailed Orange about it, and would suggest anyone else affected does the same. Granted some noise is usual but the clicking, although not loud, is annoying.

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#8
richardw1992

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I bought the San Diego on Thursday, and don't experience any lag at all switching between home screens.

I also tested the camera instore, and was actually quite impressed. But then again, my previous phone was a Samsung Monte and the SD camera beats it in all aspects. However, I did think photos were a little blurred and figured out it was as a result of using the dedicated camera button. It requires quite a firm press so it's difficult to hold the phone completely still when pressing it. Results when using the software button onscreen were much sharper though. After playing with it for a few days, and comparing with friends and their pics from their phones, the camera on the SD seems to be on a par with others in the midrange pricepoint. It's fine for snapshots when out and about, but like pretty much all cameras on phones, it's certainly no replacement for even a good, budget compact digital camera. Oh, and I had the chance to play with a mates HTC OneX too, the camera on that is superb I have to say but then again it's almost three times the price of the San Diego.


I must admit I did use the hardware button for all of my photos, that could be the main cause of the blurring, I just didn't have time to properly experiment, but that's what you guys who bought the phone are for ;) to give us a more in depth review :P I haven't experienced the HTC One, or the GS3 but to be honest you can't really expect the camera to stack up to a £500 phone can you!

I also didn't test video, but sounds like something is wrong with the ROM if a clicking noise is recoreded, maybe if you all pester Orange enough they might speed up the release of ICS with bug fixes included!

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#9
captainkremmen

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I must admit I did use the hardware button for all of my photos, that could be the main cause of the blurring, I just didn't have time to properly experiment, but that's what you guys who bought the phone are for ;) to give us a more in depth review :P I haven't experienced the HTC One, or the GS3 but to be honest you can't really expect the camera to stack up to a £500 phone can you!

I also didn't test video, but sounds like something is wrong with the ROM if a clicking noise is recoreded, maybe if you all pester Orange enough they might speed up the release of ICS with bug fixes included!

That's the plan. I tried another test video this morning out and about, and the clicking isn't particularly noticeable out on the streets where it's generally noiser, but it is annoying in quet environments.

I've received an acknowledgment from Orange who say that have passed the details to the relevant people, but time will tell if it does any good. It's not a deal breaker for me as I don't use the video camera enough (at least never did on any other phone), but it would be nice of Orange can sort out the issue for the occasional time I would use it.

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#10
mclassplanet

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Here's a video on YouTube which highlights the clicking problem:



Note that there's no clicking audible during the noisy tug of war but fast forward to 0:34 and you can hear a strange intermittent clicking sound (audible above the wind noise) as the camera pans across the cows in the field. I think that it's autofocus-related and if there's some way of disabling autofocus in movie mode then that might solve or (at least) reduce the problem.

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#11
captainkremmen

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Here's a video on YouTube which highlights the clicking problem:

VIDEO SNIPPED

Note that there's no clicking audible during the noisy tug of war but fast forward to 0:34 and you can hear a strange intermittent clicking sound (audible above the wind noise) as the camera pans across the cows in the field. I think that it's autofocus-related and if there's some way of disabling autofocus in movie mode then that might solve or (at least) reduce the problem.


Yeah, that's it. Doesn't appear to be any way to disable the autofocus during video shooting though. The autofocus icon doesn't show in the sidebar when you switch to video recording, and changing the autofocus mode in the still camera mode has no effect on video mode. It's one for Orange/Intel to fix I think.

Edited by captainkremmen, 13 June 2012 - 10:02 PM.

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#12
mclassplanet

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Also Orange ought to be made aware that the end beep can (sometimes?) be heard at the end of a video clip as is the case at the end of the above YouTube video, because that would be an annoyance to deal with especially when combining several clips to make a longer movie.

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#13
Spooke

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Also Orange ought to be made aware that the end beep can (sometimes?) be heard at the end of a video clip as is the case at the end of the above YouTube video, because that would be an annoyance to deal with especially when combining several clips to make a longer movie.


Isn't the beep just the noise that is made when pressing the record button to end recording? That should be a easy fix if you can just make the camera silent?

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#14
iam_smithers

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Or just set the phone to silent mode. That also disables the shutter noise in the camera.

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Orange Monte Carlo - Stock (refuses to root)
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#15
pritsey

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I popped into the Orange shop in Newcastle this lunch time for quick look at the SD, all in all not a bad phone really. As OP said, there wasn't one on display but the guy brought one out from the back. No network connection so I couldn't test that bit, but I had a play around th eOS and tried the camera (not video).

It felt pretty snappy generally, typing had no lag either which was good. I find that my G300 lags now and then when typing and it really grinds my gears, so this was good!! I tried the camera burst mode and was quite impressed. the first time the guy did it there was a bit of blurring on some pics, the second time there wasn't - perhaps a pre-focus thing?

It's a shame that I've just got the G300 a week or so ago as I really like this. Lack of root isn't too much of a hassle at the moment, yeah it'd be good to remove the bloat, but it doesn't seem as offensive as the voda stuff. Also I'd change the launcher straight away too I think. I'm on T-mob so no unlock issues either.

The thing that I did think twice about was the power/lock button. It's quite stiff to use, not liek th eG300 or my old iPhone. Perhaps it'd losen up with use, but not sure about that.

Thanks
Craig

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#16
glossywhite

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I think that clicking could easily be solved if the focus coils didn't jerk the lens RIGHT to the end of its' travel, hence slamming it into another part of the lens system... or they could use tiny rubber pads inside the lens system, to eliminate the slamming noise... right?

Edited by glossywhite, 18 June 2012 - 05:59 PM.

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