We posted a teaser about the follow-up to the original G'zOne. Today, Verizon Wireless is rolling it out, the G'zOne Type-S, a shock- and weather-resistant baby with some sweet design features built by Casio. Now I can tell you how I really feel about it. Check out the gallery below, then jump for my two cents (and press release with specs).
• Style-wise, it's an exciting phone. It lives somewhere between steampunk and the latter-day Star Wars designs. It's chunky, sure, but in the way that some of those badass watches are. I like the combination of elements: flared sides, a brash monochrome circular outer screen, the offset "eyes" (camera and LED-photo-flash combo), the arched speaker, and the pocked battery case with a giant metal screw lock.
• It's certainly durable, too. I took it kayaking and left it in my pocket. For the record, I never submerged, but I was not afraid of getting splashed. If you keep the ports for charger, battery case and headphone closed, the phone can withstand heavy rain, unbearable humidity, drops from 1.5 meters and dust. Yes, the dreaded dust.
• In order to keep up with the Joneses, the phone has a full-color TFT screen, but quite frankly, it's the worst screen I've seen in a long time, especially—and here's the weird part—when out of doors, in the elements, where G'zOne is supposed to thrive. Hey, here's a radical thought: how about going military-grade monochrome throughout? I love the bright exterior screen. On the inside, I don't need wallpaper as much as I need the ability to see who is calling me.
• Gripes about the interior screen aside, I also find the phone's innards to be boring old Verizon all over again. I don't so much mind the fact that its 1X (and not EVDO), nor the fact that it has no removable memory card slot for moving photos, but I do hate being reminded that no matter how much the hull design can change, that same interface will be staring up at me when I open the clam.
Here's the bottom line:
VERIZON WIRELESS INTRODUCES G'ZONE TYPE-S RUGGED PHONE
Streamlined Bluetooth-enabled G'zOne Type-S Meets U.S. Military Standards for Water Resistance, Humidity, Shock and Dust
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Just as the weather begins to warm and outdoor activities kick into high gear, Verizon Wireless, owner of the nation's most reliable wireless network, today announced the Verizon Wireless G'zOne Type-S will be available nationwide tomorrow. The second phone from Verizon Wireless that is built to provide reliable performance for customers with outdoor lifestyles, the G'zOne Type-S is exclusively available through Verizon Wireless. The G'zOne Type-S not only meets multiple Military Standards specifications, but also offers customers a streamlined form factor and BluetoothÂ® capabilities, making it the ultimate outdoor communications tool. In addition to meeting rigorous testing standards, the G'zOne Type-S is able to access some of the key services that Verizon Wireless customers have grown to expect, including access to Verizon Wireless' Get It NowÂ® virtual store and VZ NavigatorSM, a tool that includes mapping, audible turn-by-turn navigation and access to information on more than 14 million points of interest. Features of the G'zOne Type-S from Verizon Wireless include: â€¢ Get It Now - to download games, Ringtones, wallpapers and more â€¢ VZ Navigator - for audible maps, turn-by-turn directions and location information â€¢ Mobile Web 2.0SM - customizable, enhanced wireless access to the latest in news, sports, weather and more â€¢ TXT, Picture and Video Messaging capability - send and receive messages with text, sounds, photos and videos â€¢ Mobile IM - send and receive instant messages using AOL Instant Messenger (AIMÂ®), Yahoo! Messenger or MSN Messenger â€¢ Bluetooth-capable* for the following profiles: headset, hands-free, serial port and dial-up networking (DUN) â€¢ 300K CMOS digital camera/camcorder with flash and digital zoom o Take 15-second Video Messages â€¢ Main Display: 1.8" 65K color TFT (176 x 220) â€¢ Sub Display: 1.3" black and white STN (96 x 96) â€¢ Address book with up to 500 contacts and picture Caller ID â€¢ Calendar, Alarm Clock and World Clock â€¢ Calculator and Notepad â€¢ Countdown Timer and Stopwatch â€¢ Speed dialing â€¢ Voice activated dialing â€¢ Speakerphone â€¢ Frequency: CDMA2000 1x EV-DO, 800MHz/1900 MHz-band compatible â€¢ Dimensions: 3.8" h x 2.0" w x 1.1" d â€¢ Weight: 5.1 ounces â€¢ 1050 mAhLi-Ion battery â€¢ TTY compatible â€¢ Hearing aid compatibility = M4 â€¢ Up to 203 minutes usage time or up to 170 hours standby time
The G'zOne Type-S passed all of the following tests, performed in accordance with Military Standards 810Â°F, with all ports (battery, headset and charging) on the phone closed**: â€¢ The Water Resistance test was performed in accordance with Method 506.4, Procedure I. The G'zOne Type-S was subjected to this test with the handset open and closed, but with ports closed for 30 minutes on the front of the unit and then 30 minutes on the back of the unit. The test was designed to simulate rainfall of 2 inches per hour with a 40 MPH wind.
â€¢ The Humidity test was performed in accordance with Method 507.4. The G'zOne Type-S tested for operation after the conclusion of the tenth cycle. Each cycle was 24 hours and the entire test was performed over ten days. The temperature was cycled between 86 and 140Â°F with the relative humidity at 95 percent constant.
â€¢ The Drop test was performed in accordance with Method 516.5, Procedure IV. The G'zOne Type-S was sequentially dropped in non-operating mode, onto each face, edge and corner for a total of 26 drops from a height of 1.50 meters (4.9 feet). The drop surface was defined as two-inch-thick plywood over a steel plate over concrete.
â€¢ The Dust Resistance test was performed in accordance with Method 510.4, Procedure I. A temperature of 95Â°F was used for this test. Silica flour as defined by the test standard was used. Devices are given a passing grade when moving parts are not bound or blocked and if the unit powers on.
Pricing and Availability G'zOne Type-S will be available tomorrow online at www.verizonwireless.com and in more than 2,200 Verizon Wireless Communications Stores, including those in Circuit City, for $149.99 after $50 rebate and a new two-year customer agreement. For more information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com. *The G'zOne Type-S supports Bluetooth headset, hands-free, serial port and dial-up networking. In order for Bluetooth devices to communicate with one another, they must utilize the same Bluetooth profile. For vehicle/accessory compatibility, go to www.verizonwireless.com/bluetoothchart.
**Verizon Wireless customers should not attempt any of these performance tests on their wireless phones. The company does not accept responsibility for phones subjected to neglect, misuse, water damage, unreasonable wear and tear, and the phone will not be eligible for any return or exchange program.
# # #