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Casio Exilim C721

>> Thursday, June 11, 2009

Casio has decided to combine the Exilim camera brand with its rugged handset philosophy, resulting in Casio Exilim C721, possibly the country's first high end megapixel camera phone built to be water and shock resistant. Indeed, the C721 has a 5.1 megapixel camera with plenty of features that rival that of standalone point and shoots. It even has a rotating display that fold out to act as a camera viewfinder. On top of that, it comes with a music player, EV-DO Rev.

A, and a HTML Web browser. If you want a high quality feature phone built to withstand the elements, Casio Exilim C721 is certainly the one to get. Still, the C721 won't be cheap it'll cost $279.99 with a two year service agreement and a $50 mail in rebate, which is pricier than most smartphones. Casio Exilim C721 does not look a thing like a ruggedized phone. Unlike its G'zOne brethren, Casio Exilim C721 has a sleek, smooth, and stylish exterior, which is more indicative of the Exilim brand.

You would never think that the Exilim C721 is military certified (under code MIL-STD 810F) to withstand immersion in water, blowing rain, shock, dust, vibration salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, and high altitudes. The chassis is a hard plastic shell, and the headset and microSD ports are protected with tight rubber seals. There's also a slide lock mechanism for the battery cover.

Though we didn't submit Casio Exilim C721 to the same battery of tests as the military, we did dunk it in water and throw it on the floor a few times to test its durability. It kept on working without a problem. We even managed to take a couple of photos with the camera while it was still in a tank of water. Measuring 4.06 inches long by 1.97 inches wide by 0.77 inch thick and weighing 4.76 ounces, Casio Exilim C721 is wide yet slim, and has a nice solid heft in the hand.

The entire front surface of Casio Exilim C721 is clad in glossy black save for the Verizon logo at the bottom. However, if you activate the phone, you will see a monochrome OLED display that shows the signal strength, battery life, and a digital or analog clock (you can choose the clock format in the settings). It also displays caller ID, and if you have any new messages or missed calls. It even shows the currently playing track if you have the music player activated.

Of course, it doesn't support photo caller ID, and you can't adjust things like backlight or font size. On the left of the phone are a microSD card slot and a charging pad. On the right are a headset jack, a back button that doubles as a rewind or previous track key for the music player, volume controls that can be used to navigate the camera's menu and as camera zoom controls when in camera mode, a side control key that can only be used in camera mode for selecting functions and settings, and the camera shutter button. On the back of Casio Exilim C721 are the camera lens, a very bright LED flash that can also act as a flashlight, and an external speaker.

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