Here’s one more ultra budget QWERTY handset for those texters, and this one’s from Fly Mobiles. The BD430 or Circle is just another BlackBerry clone. Seems like RIM has cornered the QWERTY market with regards to design. Nevertheless, the Circle is not exactly the same and obviously not in the same league as RIM, so before ruling it out, let's take a closer look.

Form Factor

While it may look a bit like a BlackBerry Curve edition it’s identical in most facets to the Zen Z77. The 2.2-inch display has slightly higher resolution at 176 x 220 pixels. The layout of the keys are identical, from the icons to the placement but the Z77’s QWERTY was just a little easier on the fingers. The 3.5mm handsfree is also located on the side and the micro USB port for charging and USB connectivity is located at the bottom with the 1.3MP camera at the rear near the external speaker. What it seems like is both companies got one manufacturer to design the schematics of the device with very slight cosmetic alterations for each. The Circle is a bit lighter than the Z77 at 104g.

The design is a non-issue as you’ll get used to the keypad with a little usage. What is a rather disturbing problem is the volume for calls. For some reason it’s too loud and irrespective of how low the call volume is decreased, it seemed like the world could hear my conversations. The call audio channel was ‘leaking’ out though the rear speaker and sounding hollow from the earpiece. When I placed my finger over the rear speaker while having a conversation, I noticed a substantial improvement in call quality. In handsfree speaker mode though, it’s very loud and clear.

Features and Performance

The BD430’s OS may be the same as any other handset in its class but obviously the UI is tweaked. It’s smooth flowing with no lag, colorful and very easy to navigate. All features are easily accessible and well laid out. Like Micromax’s Q3 though, the LCD display is a bit awkward to stare at for long periods as it has a bit of a ‘3D-like’ feel. However reduce the brightness and you won’t have too much of an issue.

What is most impressive is the layout of the UI for the handset’s Dual SIM functionality. It’s very user friendly and designed to make it very simple to distinguish which SIM is being used when and logs for the same are also clearly defined.

On the media front the handset fares quite well. The music player comes with EQ presets which manage a significant amount of difference to the overall audio experience. The earphones on the handsfree (in ear) are not too comfortable, so if you have a good set of earphones you’ll enjoy your music a lot more. The FM radio has a scheduling function so it can be used as an Alarm (as long as the earphones are plugged in). There’s also a recording option that can also be scheduled. Reception was quite good on the whole. The voice recorder was a bit of a disappointment as it’ll require you to keep the handset rather close to you for recordings.

The video player played my 3GP and MPEG4 files but there was a bit of lagging. You will have to convert videos to a lower format and you’ll have no issues as long as the resolution and frame rate (30fps) are proper.

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