ViewSonic V350 smartphone review

Dual-SIM Android phone
Photo of ViewSonic V350 smartphone
£250

ViewSonic’s V350 is a dual-SIM smartphone, designed to end the need to have separate phones for separate lives. If you’re one of those poor chumps who, when the phone rings, needs to check both pockets – one for your personal phone, one for your ‘work’ phone – this could be the handset for you.

The 125g V350 will also appeal to frequent travellers to a particular country, for as well as a SIM card for your home network, it can also store a SIM for your chosen destination.

The integration between any two given SIM cards works well, with a simple choice being given before any phone call is made, while the main screen has space to display the names of both networks you’re hooked-up to.

With the need for swapping SIMs taken out of the equation, we set about finding out what else the V350 can offer – after all, one phone is only better than two if it’s capable of fulfilling the user’s every whim.

Two-faced design
Sadly, aside from its two-faced design, there’s nothing remarkable about the V350, which might lessen its appeal to the target market.

Dual-SIM capabilities is hugely attractive feature in its own right, but we’re slightly confused as to why such a niche appeal is somewhat wasted by rather bland accompanying features.

Take the V350′s build quality, for example: frequent travellers will worry about its lack of ruggedness, with the brushed black plastic back cover causing them most concern. It’s easy enough to slip off when you want to replace/add a SIM (or upgrade from the bundled 2GB microSD card to a card of up to 32GB), but if the V350 is dropped it’s not going to put up much of a fight.

Elsewhere, the V350 is a good value Android-based handset, but nothing more. It runs the Android 2.2 Froyo operating system – one generation behind the latest Android 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’ smartphone OS, and has full access to the Android Market’s many apps, with its 3.5in touchscreen underscored by the four touch icons found on all Android phones.

Web browsing
We’re not convinced the 480×320 pixel touchscreen itself is big enough for much in the way of web browsing, watching video or reading (it’s compatible with the EPUB and PDF files), though it’s easy to read in direct sunlight, and for making phone calls it’s hard to fault.

Browsing and general use isn’t exactly supercharged by the ViewSonic’s 600MHzQualcomm MSM 7227  processor, but it’s not badly hampered, either.

Other features include a 3.5mm audio jack in the V350′s top, Bluetooth, GPS, camcorder and camera functions (offering 30fps recording and five megapixel images, respectively), apps for YouTube and Muzee iRadio, and an FM radio – at last, something slightly unusual that might increase its appeal – though it’s ViewSonic’s ViewScene 3D that looks to stamp some uniqueness.

In practice, ViewScene 3D is an alternative interface to the Android gubbins, with ViewScene 3D providing a carousel of panels covering time, communication, weather, pictures, tools etc. It’s got a certain dynamism, and even turns from panel to panel under its own steam. It’s certainly an improvement on the default Android interface.

Company: ViewSonic

Website: http://www.viewsoniceurope.com/uk

Contact: ViewSonic on 08444 821168

Positives
  • Dual SIM, FM radio.
Negative
  • Lacks all-round appeal, flimsy back panel.

Verdict

A high-end phone with dual SIM could be a real boon for business travellers, and while it's hard to criticise this highly usable product, the V350 isn't that phone. It's most likely to appeal to those currently juggling two mediocre Android-based phones.