Mini-Review of the Audiovox 8930


The Audiovox 8930 is a CDMA clamshell model that also includes a 1.3 Megapixel camera. Aside from being able to take still photographs it will also record mini-videos. As most you know I donít review cameras any longer, but I will touch on this later in the review simply because of the high Megapixel rating of this model.

 

The Audiovox 8930 is available on Bell Mobility

Last Updated: 12-Jul-2005

Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

RF Performance

RF Sensitivity: The RF sensitivity of the 8930 proved to be quite good, though oddly the phone lost service the first time it was taken into the Hall of Shame over Square One. When I saw that I initially assumed that the phone had poor RF qualities, but I then went back to an area where the signal was strong and I dragged a call into a known weak area. The 8930 performed admirably and it blew away my old Startac that I use a reference phone.

I canít say if the dropping of service was a one-off anomaly or a common trait of this phone, but once you are in a call the 8930 not only holds on to it for dear life, it also does so with very little drama. In this regard the phone is a solid performer.

Over-the-road Performance: As this was only a mini-review I wasnít able to take the phone on a drive with me. I was therefore unable to judge the over-the-road performance. However, I have found that there is often a correlation between the way a phone handles extremely weak signals and how it performs on the move. Given the 8930ís excellent handling of low signals I would consider it quite likely that it also works well in a moving car.

Click on this link for a full description of RF Performance, and how to interpret it.

Audio Performance

Tonal Balance: Sadly the tonal balance of the 8930 is like every other Audiovox CDMA phone Iíve tested to date. Itís a little bit tinny and very peaky through the built-in earpiece, though through my Samsung earbud it sounded gorgeous. That too is a common trait of Audiovox models, indicating that they use excellent circuitry, but provide god-awful speakers in their earpieces.

If you commonly use your phone with headsets then you might be able overlook the poor tonal balance of the native phone earpiece. However, this is one aspect of the phone that rates very poorly.

Sound Reproduction: Also like most other Audiovox phones Iíve tested, the sound reproduction of the 8930 is very good. It reproduces most nuances of speech exceptionally well (especially when heard through a good-quality headset).

Earpiece Volume: Poor tonal quality aside, the maximum volume of the internal earpiece is great. Even the faintest of callers can be turned up loud enough to hear in noisy environments. Sadly this doesnít hold true of headset output, which gets only mediocre maximum volume. This is unfortunate, given the overall excellent sound quality of the headset output.

Click on this link for a full description of Audio Performance, and how to interpret it.

Support Features

Ringer Volume: In a word, pathetic. Like so many modern phones the 8930 has only musical ringtones that are just so faint that hearing this phone ring in a noisy environment is simply out of the question. Iíve got nothing against musical ringtones (which work well in mixed company and with low ambient noise), but all phones should at least be equipped with one ringtone that is LOUD.

Keypad Design: The keys on the 8930 are flush to the backplane, but overall they offer excellent feel. It was difficult to use the keypad without looking at it, but all of the keys have excellent tactile feedback. On the phone that I tested, all the keys worked consistently. The 4-way cursor button was a bit of a pest to use, but compared to some other models Iíve tested over the last year or two it was actually not bad. The consistent feel and quality of the keypad certainly helps.

Display: The display looks terrific indoors, and it is well suited to displaying photographs and videos. However, like many color displays it was virtually impossible to see in direct sunlight. Color displays arenít very good at being seen outdoors anyway, and it seems that the better the display looks inside, the worse it works outside. Only you can decide which of these qualities best fits your requirements.

Camera: I donít normally comment on cameras any longer, but the 1.3 Megapixel rating of this one prompted me to check out the quality. As I suspected however, the limiting factor in cell phone cameras isnít really the number of pixels in the photograph, but rather the poor quality of the lenses. In the case of the lens in the 8930 however, I found it to have excellent consistency and very few optical distortions, but it just didnít have the ability to render an image that was sharp enough to make use of the resolution.

In other words, the level of detail in the image WAS NOT much different from what youíd get in a good-quality 640 x 480 photograph (which has only 0.3 Megapixels). The bottom line is that the 1.3 Megapixel rating is more of a marketing tool that a useful improvement in image quality. You ARENíT going to use this thing to take serious photographs, and the size of the resulting images only makes the photographs bigger for no reason.

Conclusions

I came away from the 8930 with pretty much the same mixed feelings Iíve had when I tested other Audiovox CDMA phones. It excelled at some things and was horrible at others. Unfortunately the things it did poorly at (in particular the tonal balance of the internal earpiece) were things that I personally rate very highly in a phone. The sound coming out of the earpiece was simply OFFENSIVE to my ears and for that reason alone I would never consider buying this phone.

However, for those who arenít so picky there is much to love about this particular model. It has excellent RF sensitivity, super-loud earpiece volume, excellent sound when used with a headset, and a gorgeous-looking display (at least when used indoors). This is just one of those models that is well-suited for some people, and ill-suited for others. I therefore canít make any solid recommendations other than to caution you to ask yourself which features are most important to you. Buy this phone only if the things it does poorly are of little concern to you.

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