As anyone who's read this site in the last two months can't fail to have noticed, Sendo has gone into administration, so won't be releasing the X2 or any other handset. However, that didn't stop us from begging our friends and sources for any information they had about review models of the X2. We've now got some of that information, so read on to find out all that is good, bad and ugly about the now extinct Sendo X2.
This article has been drawn together from a number of sources - un-released reviews of the X2 and the opinions of some of those reviewing the phone. The information contained may not be 100% accurate.
There's so much that's good about the Sendo X in the first place, what could Sendo possibly do to make the X2 any better? Here's a list of the highlights of the X2; the things Sendo decided they could do better than they had managed to with the X.
Screen: X2's screen is far brighter and clearer than the one on the X. As a rough guide, the Ultra Bright setting on X now equates to Bright on X2.
Speakers: There was never much wrong with the built-in speakers of the X, however Sendo decided that X2 should be louder, so it is - over twice as loud as the X!
Keypad: Some people complained the keys on the X were too small and fiddly, so, on X2 you get a Nokia-esk flat keypad with bigger, shiny keys which are much easier to use.
USB: It was always a bit of a pain that the X didn't have a "proper" USB connector on the phone - it meant two cables were needed to charge the phone and transfer data at the same time - not so with X2, it now has a mini-USB connector on the phone which provides data transfer and charging capabilities on any PC with an USB socket.
RAM: The biggest complaint about the X was it's speed - while the processors in X2 are the same as those in X, the amount of free RAM available to applications has been doubled from a meager 4MB on the X (using 126.96.36.199 firmware) to over 8MB on the X2.
Camera: X's camera was never great. It wasn't bad for a VGA unit, but in the days of 2 and 3MP camera phones, it couldn't really hack it. Sendo addressed this in X2 by equipping it with a very capable 1.3MP camera with 8x digital zoom.
Now!: The Now! screen has seen a lot of improvements in X2, most noticeably being the inclusion of a media player plug-in. The settings for Now! have now moved to the main phone settings application, and numerous other updates and tweaks have been implemented, such as collapsible content headers, auto scrolling of long line items and the ability to interface more cleanly with many more applications.
Media Player: The MP3 player in the X has been revamped and extended. It now not only supports MP3 files, but also now supports AAC, AAC+ and WMA files. The inclusion of the Now! screen plugin and the new side keys for playing / pausing / fast forwarding & rewinding has also meant a change in how Media player is used. The central navigation keys don't now do anything, it's all down to the side keys. Media player also now encompasses a Graphic Equializer, which looks a bit like a gimmick, but works quite well in reality.
Colours: The X2 is available in a number of colours - black, ivory (white), red & blue.
With all that's good, nay, great, about the X2, there's a few things Sendo either dropped or compromised on to get everything inside the X2's diminutive case. Things which got dropped are:
IRDA: Gone - you've still got USB and Bluetooth, what do you need IRDA for?
Flash: Too heavy on the battery for X2 and too bulky to get in the new, slimmed down, X2 case.
External aerial socket: Hey, no-one ever used it anyway.
Ok, enough about what's changed - what's the X2 like to use?
Having only played with an X2 for a short period of time myself, for this part of the article I have to defer to our sources who were lucky enough to receive a review model. I'm not aware which firmware versions the reviewers saw, but I know they'll be significantly newer than the one I saw.
Sendo's X2 smartphone was one of the first of the current breed of "music mobiles" to be announced. When revealed at the 3GSM conference in Cannes, those lucky enough to see the phone were treated to a demo of X2 playing some very loud music through the stereo system of the "Sendo Yacht" moored in Cannes. The impressions formed by the phone, even at that early stage, amazed those who saw it.
"The Sendo X2's mix of smartphone features, excellent general phone abilities and the built-in MP3, AAC & WMA music player, make the X2 one of the most eagerly anticipated handsets of this summer. At an estimated price of �150 SIM free, we have no hesitation in recommending the phone as a best buy".
"The re-emergence of Sendo's excellent Now! screen, first seen on last year's X handset, is a welcome addition to this, Sendo's latest smartphone model. In the X2, Now! has seen a number of enhancements, not least of which is the integration of Sendo's media player into the Home screen. This allows seamless audio playback, using the dedicated stop / play / pause, rewind & fast forward buttons found on the site of the handset. Also included in Now! this time round is a Today screen, reminiscent of the one found on Windows Mobile phones (originally developed by Sendo before their fall out with Microsoft), which, as it's name suggests, displays events and reminders for "today".
"The media player deserves special mention - it builds on the excellent MP3 player found in the X, but now also supports AAC, AAC+ (for protected copyright songs, such as those from iTunes) and WMA formats, making it one of the most flexible music players available. (Sony Ericsson's W600 phone doesn't support all these formats) Music playback is automatically paused when a call or text message comes in, and can be restarted afterwards by just the press of one button; making the Sendo X2 a true "music mobile"."
"The Sendo X2 has improved on the meager VGA camera which shipped on the X with a far more competent 1.3MP unit, which now features an 8x digital zoom. The quality of this camera is much more in keeping with what we have come to expect in recent months, giving the Nokia 6680 a run for it's money, and thoroughly beating the Motorola A1000 and E1000 models. One thing which impressed us greatly about the Sendo's camera is that it takes photos instantly, unlike some other handsets, where there is a considerable time lag between pressing the "capture" button, and the phone actually capturing the image."
"Compared to some of the latest offerings from Nokia, the Sendo X2 sometimes seems a little slow, undoubtedly because it is based on the same hardware platform as it's predecessor. However, there are some things which the X2 still does better than the best of the Nokia handsets - notably it has a generous 32MB internal RAM, which, having allowed for the operating system, leaves around 27MB free for user files - much more generous than the 5MB available on some Nokia handsets.
One of the X2's big advances over the Sendo X is the amount of free RAM which it has available for applications - the X had a measly 4MB available, but on the X2 this has been doubled to a far more usable 8MB, enough for even the most power hungry of applications. "
"The X2 comes with three highly addictive games - the familiar Funny Farmer and Pinball games from the X, and the new, incredibly fun Zombies game. In Zombies you have to shoot and kill some very ugly blue skulls which, if left to their own devices, will happily murder you. Where Zombies gets really fun though is that you move around (to shoot the zombies) by turning the phone left, right, up, down etc. You actually look through the camera while shooting those pesky zombies, and the best way to play the game is on a wheelie chair in the middle of the office. You'll have great fun "shooting" all your colleagues, and they'll have great fun thinking how much of an idiot you look!"
"The Sendo X2 has only two external sockets on the bottom of the phone. One is the headphone and handsfree socket, and the other one a mini-USB socket which is used to transfer data to the phone and also charges the handset, either directly from a PC or from a wall socket, via the suplied converter. While this is a much more elegent solution to the charging / data transfer issue, it does mean that the X2 is not compatible with some X accessories, such as Sendo's excellent folding keyboard or their desktop sync station. (although it is still possible to charge an X2 battery in the sync station)" On the plus side, bluetooth keyboards work excellently with the X2."
So, with all that's great about the X2, what could possibly be considered ugly in such a fine handset? one thing - it's speakers. Early X2 photos showed a nice silver mesh over the speaker holes - unfortunately this now seems to have been dropped from the handsets, leaving a dark hole in the casing. It's a small thing, but it does make the handset look slighly un-finished.
Following Sendo's demise, the X2 is never going to be released. None of us general public are ever going to find out how nice (or otherwise) the handset is to use. Those of us who have been lucky enough to use an X2 know just how much of a disappointment this is - the X2 is a truly excellent phone, which would have really put Sendo on the map, right back at the top of the smartphone market.
Our only hope now is that Motorola pick up on some of the technologies in the X2 and put them to use in future handsets. Motorola bought all the intelectual property and patents for the X2 and also bought up the entire team who created the X2. With this in mind, let's hope that "Team Sendo", now working with the backing of the mighty Motorola, can produce a handset which includes all the great features of the X2, along with Motorola's design and build technologies. How would you like a handset, based on UIQ3, with a decent camera, in a case the size of a RAZR V3, with the excellent Now! screen? - you would? - get in line behind me!
Having just launched the "ROKR" iTunes phone, Motorola have tried to make it out to be the first music mobile designed for downloadable music - SORRY Motorola, but on this one, Sendo beat you there with the X2!