The dual-SIM Torque GD55 has the makings of a champion phone. Beneath the seemingly Zen-inspired exterior is an intricate system that screams potential, not to mention the fact that it’s an Android phone tweaked to cater to the Filipino’s discerning taste for mobile phones. But is it as exquisite to use as it looks on the outside?
Touch me not
The Torque GD55 will greet you with a desktop-like home screen, with snap-on icons and widgets that faithfully follow the screen’s grids. Holding and dragging the screen elements lets you personalize your panoramic home screen as you please, but the touch screen itself is a bit smudgy and resists dragging gestures – even after recalibration.
Typing with the touch-screen QWERTY keypad is fairly easy, save for the keys found on the screen’s margins. But the Torque GD55’s add-on stylus solves that problem – and the other problem of having too stubby fingers.
Shifting from portrait to landscape view can potentially stop you from having a smooth typing experience; the phone’s accelerometer works without fail, but the OS’ sometimes lagged response results in a “portrait” QWERTY cramped on one side of the landscape view. It will force you to go through the whole un-tilting and tilting process again. (Note: If you’re not a fan of the accelerometer, you have the option to turn it off.)
Working the system
You’ll find the Android OS’ clean and polished UI a real eye candy – giving you an excuse to pardon the touch screen’s stubbornness. Navigating through the menus is a cinch, with info on each selection guiding you all the way. But somewhere along the way, we were convinced that this pairing was not a perfect match, especially when it crashes when you’re merely creating a contact entry.
Messages are displayed in threads/chat formats for easy viewing and all the basic features you’ll need all sit on the menu for quick access. And if you’re the type who wants “quicker quick access,” then you can always add shortcuts of your folders and specific contacts on your home screen.
The OS works well with the phone’s dual-SIM feature, with individual signal bars on the top screen; SIM1 Send and SIM2 Send buttons found on the bottom of your composed message; and separate call settings for SIM1 and SIM2. The only thing that may intimidate basic users is the GD55’s File Manager, which is filled with curious labeled folders that only a true techie will recognize.
The GD55’s 5-megapixel camera takes decent pictures, but before you start snapping, you’ll need to insert a microSD card – without one, you can forget calling it a “camera phone.” The charger that comes with the phone is a generic one, with a charger head and a USB cord you can disconnect any time, in case you want to suck power from your computer instead of getting it straight from the socket.
After a few weeks of reviewing the GD55, however, the touch screen stopped responding to input. Working the phone with the GD55’s few buttons is not exactly cakewalk, but we did find out that the Camera button also works as a Select button (who knew?). After a couple more tries, the touch screen decided to respond again… but this time, with an invisible finger doing all the work for us – selecting random stuff even if our fingertips were nowhere near the screen.
Without a doubt, the Torque GD55’s overall purpose is to satisfy all the drooling techies out there, who have no plans of burning holes through their pockets. But just like campaigning politicians with their stout and colorful resumes, the GD55 doesn’t perform quite well on keeping its promise and getting the “real job” done. We say, “A” for effort.
Click here to see the Torque GD55 in the Buyer’s Guide.