[Note from Judie: This is Drew's follow-up to his original letter about his first week with the Vertu Ascent Ti. If you haven't already read that, then you might want to check it out.]
I had an opportunity to take a bit of a deeper dive with the Ascent Ti this weekend and tried out some of these other features:
1. Fortress (the over the air backup utility)
2. The camera
3. The music player
4. Software upgrade process
One of the big selling features is the ability to back up your personal information to the Fortress, a military shelter somewhere near Ipswich with a PC in it.. Not being unkind.. Vertu realizes that personal information is a big deal and back ups are important even to the phone elitists.. The Fortress is back up software that performs a sync of contacts, calendar, and tasks OTA to their secure facility.. It does require a password and the service is included for one year as part of the initial purchase.. No idea what it will cost after that. So I had to try it.. I had the settings sent to my Ascent Ti and set up my account and then proceeded to backup my data. I have about 250 contacts and about 50 calendar items per month and I don’t use tasks so that was the going in. The Ascent Ti is WCDMA 2100 3g so speeds about 1.6mbs upload/download and it took about 1 minute to accomplish the full back up so no complaints but no I DID NOT do a restore; too cowardly.. I do wish the service also backed up all my settings as well as that actually takes longer to restore than my contacts and calendar items, but this isn’t Vertu’s fault, but really Nokia as they provide the S40 OS that doesn’t allow for that.
The camera is a 3.2m camera with a flash on the back of the phone and I was suprised to see that Vertu had included a lot of extra features with the camera:
1. Video and Camera mode
2. Night Mode
3. Flash on/off/automatic
4. Self Timer
5. Effects (Greyscale, Sepia, Negative)
6. White Balance (Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, horizon)
7. Plenty of settings for pic depth, video length etcetera
I did take some shots outdoors and they came out just fine.. Nothing indoors or at night yet.. As phone cameras go its up to speed and I will generally use it instead of carrying a portable as I’m a very casual photographer and despite not having a zoom function it will fill my needs admirably
The music player is the typical Nokia software that allows you to move music to the phone and assemble quickly in a library.. I moved a couple of my favorite CDs over just using the file manager in the Vertu PC Suite tools and there was plenty of room in the 4g memory built into the Ascent Ti. I, of course, had to do this twice as I neglected to press the Update Library button and felt like the Ascent Ti wasn’t seeing my music files and needed an obscure format, but it took WMA just fine after the cockpit error was fixed. I then turned the music player on in the privacy of my home, as the Ascent Ti does not have a corded headset nor is it configured for one, I have a choice of either using the built-in speakers or using BT. I tried the built in speakers first and played around with the equaliser and the stereo widening settings. At full volume, the speakers lost their ability and crackled and really wouldn’t be sufficient for playback, so it was on to BT. Since using my Motorola H800 one ear headset wouldn’t be much of a test, I hooked up my Nokia BH-501 stereo headset that I got really cheap with a different phone. I had used them previously with my N95 and found them good enough for a middle aged almost deaf guy. I paired them with the Ascent Ti and hit the play button, the volume was fine and the range was limited to my lounge room, but all in all a good experience except for the fact that it wasn’t an A2DP experience. Seemed that both sides of the headset were playing the same thing.. So for a real audiophile a bit of a bust but for a casual user it would be fine. My iPhone and N95-3 would be much better suited..
As you do, I had to play with most of the settings on the Ascent Ti and happened across a little item in the Settings under phone called software update. It let me review my current ROM version and query whether there was an update. So of course had to give it a go. Surprisingly there was an update so I downloaded it and installed it in just a few minutes. The update process left my settings and data alone and I swear the OS was faster! He he.. Who knows could have been a placebo, but there was no new additions that I noticed and there was nothing to tell me what the update actually accomplished.
I guess I’m in a bit of dither because the Ascent Ti is really bordering on an N Series Nokia instead of just a little S40 text/phone call device. With the fairly robust music player, the 4g storage, camera with a flash, and gallery software it goes far beyond what the other Vertus have ever done. Excusing the A2DP and no corded headset misfire, it accomplishes all the N Series types of functions I would need.
I would have to say that Vertu has definitely headed in a different direction and this phone will now cover my basics for a very long time and I can recommend it to someone looking at high quality fashion phones that also pack a good set of multimedia functions. Besides who knows? Maybe the Software Updater will give me A2DP one of these days..