February 28, 2007

Hands on with Next G

Unless you've been living under a rock you should by now have heard of Next G, Telstra's next generation mobile network. Next G is based on the HSDPA standard or 3.5G. HSDPA stands for High Speed Data Packet Access or means 'fast downloads' in English. Telstra aren't the only mobile network to offer HSDPA to customers but are the first to offer the technology in handsets. Vodafone for example have an HSDPA data card that lets you laptop take advantage of high speed downloads but haven't released a handset yet.

New mobile networks are notoriously bad. I remember when I used my first digital GSM phone many years ago in anticipation of the close of the analogue network (which was reliable). According to the my friends most calls I made sounded like they were direct from the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. Those were the days when the telcos actually credited your phone bills when your calls got disconnected.

I tested my first Next G phone, the iMate JasJam a few months back and was bitterly disappointed. The sound quality was poor and I was unable to stay connected on a phone call for more than five minutes. I'm pleased to say that in my most recent trial of the Next G network those problems seem to have been rectified.

In fact I'm really impressed with Next G. The phone I've been testing it with is the Motorola RAZR V6 Max - a very capable phone that's part of the wildly successful RAZR range. Sound quality has been good and in the two weeks of testing I haven't had a single dropped call. The phone also has strong media functionality that plays well with Next G's ability to stream live Foxtel direct to the phone.

The Motorola RAZR V6 Max is available on selected 24 month contracts for free or you can buy it outright for $729. The JasJam is also available free on a 24 month contract or outright for $1299.