Lobster 700tv

Sales for Virgin Mobile’s TV handset have reportedly been on the disappointing side, so we thought we’d better find out why. The handset itself isn’t at all bad – a full-featured Windows Mobile smartphone free on contract – though it’s an odd shape (to accommodate the TV tuner and aerial) and doesn’t have the same solidity and upmarket feel of other HTC-built phones. It’s also a very average spec for a smartphone.

Still, it’s the TV that matters, and we see a couple of problems. One is the screen orientation; handsets like the new N77 demonstrate that TV really does work better on a landscape display. Another is the programme selection – only five TV channels, none of them premium-content sports or video offerings. And outside the main urban areas, reception can be a bit flaky with jittery pictures.

On the plus side, when it does work it works really well. And the programme guide includes 50 digital radio stations.

• Needs more TV stations and a better handset to make the service a winner

FEATURES 85%
SALEABILITY 75%

 
SPECIFICATION
Size    
Length 111mm
Width 58mm at bulge
Depth 23.8mm
Weight    
140g
Main display    
TFT, 65K colours, 320×240 pixels
Camera    
1.3mp
Connectivity    
3G, triband GSM, Bluetooth 2.0, USB 1.1
Battery    
Standby 270h
Talk time 3h
Features    
Windows Mobile, DAB tuner (TV/radio channels) with programme guide
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