Thursday, July 7, 2011

HD958 (Dual SIM with 3G support)

Introduction

The so long waited dual SIM smartphones with 3G capabilities are now entering the market. One of the first of its kind is the HD958, from HOTWith the introduction of the low-cost Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset, it becames quite a feasible option for dual SIM smartphone manufacturers because it offers advanced processing and rich multimedia while supporting HSDPA/HSUPA for broadband data speeds over 3G networks.

As of today, HD958 runs Android OS, in its version 2.2 (Froyo), although it's announced that an update to version 2.3 (Gingerbread) will be released in the future.

Specifications

Chipset

Name:Qualcomm MSM7227
CPU:600 MHz ARM11™
GPU:Adreno 200
Instruction set:ARMv6

Software environment

Embedded:OS: Android 2.2.1 (Froyo)

Body

Dimensions
(width x height x depth):
118 x 61 x 12.8 millimetres
Weigth:147 grams
Color:Black

Battery

Capacity: 1850 mAh

Memory

RAM:capacity:512 MB
ROM-capacity:512 MB
Expansion slot:microSD memory card, supporting up to 32 GB

Network support

Primary phone:GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS900, UMTS2100
Secondary phone:GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900
Data links:GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA

Display

Type:Sharp LCD capacitive touchscreen
Size:3.8 inches, WVGA resolution (480 x 800 pixels)

Camera

Main (rear):5 megapixels with autofocus
Secondary (front):0.3 megapixels

Interfaces

Bluetooth (802.15):Bluetooth 2.1 + Enhanced Data Rate
Wireless LAN / Wi-Fi (802.11):  IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
USB:USB 2.0 Client, Hi-Speed (480 Mbit/s)
USB Series Micro-B (Micro-USB) connector

Satellite navigation

Built-in GPS module:SiRF III chipset
GPS antenna:Internal
Complementary GPS services:  A-GPS (Assisted GPS)

Additional features

Sensors:
Gravity, Proximity and Light sensors
Analog Radio:FM radio (87.5-108 MHz)

The phone...

This phone is also delivered with two batteries, or else it would not be a Chinese product... it also includes an earphone, wall charger, USB cable and a 2 GB microSD memory card.


The quality of materials seems to be good. I would prefer a different way of removing the cover as it is not easy to open and demands an extra care not to break the cover.


Although you can see the HTC logo on the back cover, this phone is not a HTC clone... or at least, any that I know of.


The connection to the charger / PC is not at the bottom, as usually, but on the lower right side, while the 3,5 mm headphone jack is on the top along with the power button.



It features four soft buttons (home, menu, back and search), which I personally like as there is not need to press hard to access that function.


Under the battery, you have access to the two SIM slots, as well as the microSD slot, thus the memory card is not hot-swappable. 



Display quality and touch-screen

I would say that the display used in this phone is of a great quality. Colors are much vivid, and due to the presence of a light sensor you can activate the automatic brightness control which may be a battery life saver after all. 


The display is capacitive, which means that you don't need to press the screen in order to do the action you want. The response to the touch is good and I don't have nothing to complain about that.


Functionality

Differences in the user experience with the HD958 are quite noticeable when compared to the HD9. The processor that is present on the used Qualcomm chipset behaves nicely, but the obvious and huge improvements are noticed in applications that require graphical processing (like games), due to hardware-accelerated 3D graphics.

The dual SIM integration is much like the HD9, just with some cosmetic changes, so there's no need to detail that.

One great feature present in Android 2.2 and enabled natively in this phone is the ability to share its mobile data connection not only via USB, but also as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Data connection can be easily shared with any other devices, anywhere. While a dual SIM phone is usually used for GSM calls on both SIM cards (for example, one for professional and another for personal use), with this feature and the support of broadband data connections, you can also have a SIM card with a dedicated data subscription and the other can be used for GSM calls.

One of the first tests I had to do with this phone was to establish an Internet connection, start surfing and check if I could receive a call on the other card. The test was partially successful... I say partially because the call can be received, which means that you won't get unreachable, but the data connection is broken. Only after the end of call, the data connection will be re-established. As you may know, there are not many dual SIM smartphones that let you establish a call on one SIM and have the ability to receive a call on the other. This phone is no exception, so while a call is being made in one SIM, the other will be temporarily "off" until the call ends.



User can also enable or disable data access over mobile network for each SIM, as well as other GSM/UMTS configurations.


As far as the GSM reception concerns, it seems to have improved in this phone. In the same spots that I normally had network breakdowns with the HD9, I don't have it any more with the HD958. During the past week I have never noticed the "restricted access changed" notification, so much common on the HD9. In terms of call quality it is pretty good, and people don't complain any more that the volume of my voice is too low.

One more thing that will make some people very happy is that Skype (version 2.0.0.45+) now works. In previous Chinese smartphones, Skype had a problem (although also present in many other branded Android smartphones), that would lead to an infinite loop during sign-in. 

Video review

Here's a video review:



Final thoughts

As already stated, the used processor makes the difference. I only wish that my HD9 had this processor, as I like its big screen. Nevertheless, this is a great phone and for some people, the 3.8 inch screen is the perfect dimension.

Highs:
  • Dual SIM Dual Standby with 3G support
Lows:
  • Lack of camera LED flash
  • Should have been released already with Android 2.3, although it will be updated in the future 

41 comments:

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for this nice and thorough review. I have had problems with the sound (e.g. speaker) quality of the Chinese mobiles. Have you observed any improvement in this feature? Is the built in speaker free of distorsion?
    Thanks,
    Joe

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    Have been looking at the ViewSonic V350, and this HD958. Respect to Bruno on work on the Acer DX900 (mine is coming to the end of its life!).

    Your review says Micro SD supported to 32GB - yet etowalk say 16GB. Which is it?

    Can you confirm that both SIM slots are 3G?

    Many thanks

    ReplyDelete
  3. Xjoe, the quality of Chinese mobiles in terms of sound could be definitely better. In this HD958 I've found that people can hear me better and for me, their voice during a call is clear enough. I've tried it paired with my BT car kit and don't have any problem. The only thing I could point as still low, is the sound quality when you change the call to the loud speaker (you can't compare it with a Nokia).

    Dive-in-Deep, according to the manufacturer, HOT (http://hot-china.hk), HD958 supports micro SD memory cards up to 32 GB.

    Regarding dual 3G support, I can't really confirm as all network operators here in Portugal still work on GSM (although allowing 3G connection for video calls and data connection).

    The only thing I found was that if I put my SIM card with dedicated data connection in slot 2, it would only be able to establish GPRS/EDGE connections.

    The manufacturer announced this phone as dual 3G, so I believe it would still allow you to register on a UMTS based network for calls only. That would mean that you would only be able to establish 3G data connections with SIM1, while having both cards registered on UMTS networks.

    Regards,
    Bruno

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi!
    Thanks in advance for the review, I thinks this phone is the "great fruit from china" talking about dual sim arena.
    I have a question, It support Adobe Flash 10.3?
    It is possible to add accounts like facebook to sincronize with the contacts list. Like Skype is very good to know this phone run the program without problems.
    Good work and keep it that way.
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  5. It does support o modified version of Flash 10.1 for devices with ARMv6 processors: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1155538

    Regarding Facebook contact sync, it works, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello,
    I know very well, that it is not an easy question, but I would need your opinion. I am hesitating between Hot HD958 and the re-designed Viewsonic V350 (according to some sources it comes out with Android 2.3). As I see, the features of these two models are the same. The question is about the manufacturing quality and the price. What do you (or anyone else in this forum) think about it?
    Thank you really much.
    Joe

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, I guess it's up to you to decide which one you like better. Viewsonic V350 as the exactly same CPU, thus similar performance. As opposed to HD958 it has a smaller screen with lower resolution, which may do the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you much. I think I take this one. It seems a higher performance model. I have another question.... Is there any connection between etotalk and etowalk? Do they belong to the same company?
    Thank you,
    Joe

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, it's the same company, but different shops. I just refer Etotalk.com because they only accept PayPal payment there.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi,
    many thanks for this nice review. I bought the phone today after reading your review :-) !
    You are reffereing in the "Eten User Forum" to the Firmware-Updates. Where can I find the official ROMs from HOT. Did I get them from the phone-supplier (EtoTalk) or from the manufactor (HOT)???
    Thanks in advance, John

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yes, that's the support forum where I publish the new custom ROMs. Regarding the official ones, you can get them from my 4shared folder (once again go to the support forum to get all the details) or directly from EtoTalk.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi,
    another question: Do you have a high quality screen protector for the phone (e.g. 3M).
    --> In case you have, which one?
    Best regards, John

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi!
    I will like to know if this phone support SWYPE to run on it.
    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, Swype does work on the HD958.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi, How is the quality of photos and video? And how to best store to buy and send to Portugal without problems?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Bruno,

    Bought this phone, also only managed to get sim 1 to work with 3g, told that this was a known issue and a firmware patch was being worked on.

    Were you able to make a call using bluetooth? it would not work with me due to the popup appearing on the phone asking what sim i wanted to use...

    are you using a different rom version, if so, do you know where i can find a copy please?

    Any help / advice would be welcomed?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Bruno,

    I am looking for a new phone and since the zte skate is long overdue I am anxious about this one.
    No I like a speedy yet not overpriced phone but since this phone is based on a powerguzzeling HTC model How is the battery life and ... is this phone compatible witch teh htc battery expansion pack of 3500 mAh?
    Oh Any word on when HOT will post the upgrade to android 2.3?
    Many thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
  18. hi, I've bought a HD958, and upgraded to baseband v.1.03 but I always distorts the sound problem in calls and not feeling well. how can I fix this?
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Bruno, do you have an instruction how to update the Baseband with QPST? Thanks John

    ReplyDelete
  20. For the instructions on how to update the baseband as well as other tutorials and information regarding the HD958, please visit the support forum:

    http://www.eten-users.eu/index.php?showtopic=21368

    ReplyDelete
  21. "...while a call is being made in one SIM, the other will be temporarily "off" until the call ends."
    The ViewSonic V350 supports real Dual SIM features, but this is not? Same chipset... Maybe the other FET T8888 fails on this too? (which is just the same phone)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anybody did buy this phone online ? And what website
    i want to buy this phone but i am afraid when i pay for this smart phone i do not get the smart phone.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I can't believe that you haven't paid any attention to the video I've posted...

    ReplyDelete
  24. bought the phone on 8-8-11 and got it 8-13-11 from etotalk.com with the $10usd discount.

    very nice phone indeed, planning on upgrading with your software to make it even better.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi i have an h7000 mtk chinese phone ill'd like to know if you have or knew a custom rom for this phone.

    its possible overclock chinese phones ?

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  26. Boas Será possivel indicar um local de confiança para comprar este modelo. Abraço

    ReplyDelete
  27. I will repeat once again... you should pay more attention to the video that I've posted. You can get it from Etotalk.com and have 10 USD discount, when providing my voucher.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Bruno, could you tell me info about battery life? I use my phone 2 hours with speak with BT headset. Can I use one day and a little more?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi, I have over 3000 contact list, if I load to this phone, will the over performance slow down dramatically? I thought I need to shop for a Antroid phone that has a 1.2Ghz processor, this phone process is 600Mhz and 400 Mhz, i worry the phone will be slow in performance.

    Thanks, Wil

    ReplyDelete
  30. Don't you forget that this phone has dual SIM support, so if you are looking for such a feature along with a super fast processor, that doesn't exist.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi, I have three questions for you:
    1ºDoes it have enought processor to work with navigators like sygic?
    2º Do you know any physical store to buy it in Portugal or in Spain
    3º Have you heard something about the new HD7+, dual sim, andorid 2.3 and MT6573 processor?
    Thanks in advance, Alvaro

    ReplyDelete
  32. Honestly, I haven't tried HD958 with Sygic. Only tried with NDrive and it runs perfectly.

    I'm sure that there's no physical store to buy it in Portugal or Spain. You can still get it with my discount from Etotalk.com.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hello. Sadly, this phone provides 3G only in 900/2100. Only Blu Speed Q410 is 850/2100, usable in the USA. Unless you might know of some others... ??
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hello,

    can you update the operators table with luxembourg for the next time you update your rom?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  35. Any hints for update to 2.3 ? On ETOtalk they tell of Android 2.3 !?

    ReplyDelete
  36. If you check phone specifications, in their website, you can see it's stated that the update to 2.3 was promised in a "near future".

    I will get in touch with Etotalk to check if they can ask the factory for any preview regarding the release date.

    ReplyDelete
  37. It is not easy to manage QPST, why you don't put
    the ROM file in mode "update.zip".?

    ReplyDelete
  38. QPST has nothing to do with ROM updates. It's only used (and that is a must) for updating baseband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi, i've always problem whit audio in call to my hd958, baseband v1.20 e rom v1.03 updated and from 2 weeks there isn't signal in sim 2, the usb port doesn't work and i can update with file data .bat. could you say me a link for file update.zip? thanks a lot for your contribute.
      pepe

      Delete
  39. Sorry , I was mixing concepts. For most not outstanding people , is more easy to have ROM file in format "update.zip". Why you don't put it in your page?.

    ReplyDelete
  40. hi!! got this phone and wanted to get a new battery!! is it clone of any other brand? thanks

    ReplyDelete