Tuesday, April 19, 2011

B-mobile IDEOS is a good deal

I finally had the occasion to sit down with the IDEOS I purchased from b-mobile, and I am impressed. Reviews of this handset, which is the U8150, can be found all over the web, so I am not going to focus so much on the specs. Suffice it to say, it is nothing fancy. The most noticeable downside is the relatively small and low resolution screen (2.8 inches, 240 x 320 pixels). Screenshots below are full pixel dimensions. (The bottom of this post show a comparison to the N1 and Magic).

However, for ¥25,000 (no contract or service agreement required) you get a SIM lock free handset that will work on every W-CDMA carrier in the world (as far as I can tell) and creates proper wifi networks (not ad hoc, so you can tether another android device).

Here's a list, in no particular order, of what I like about it.
  • Reasonably priced handset
  • IP phone for less than ¥500 per month for 15 min free (additional at ¥10 per 30s), which is reasonably priced for Japan
  • ¥300 kpbs data and voice for 3000 per month (prepaid data for one year)
  • integrates well with B-mobile's SIM cards
    • Both network time and location work
    • The data icon displays, either "3G" or "H"
  • Creates proper wifi hotspots
  • Can run Angry Birds, albeit slightly laggy. (out performs overclocked HTC Magic with additional RAM.)
  • SIM lock Free
  • HSDPA/WCDMA 850/1700/1900/2100 MHz
  • Can be used with Docomo's high speed FOMA (for in excess of ¥10,000 per month in data)
  • Android 2.2
It's been pointed out that there cheaper versions available overseas, but these won't have the certification mark and are technically not legal for use in Japan. Also, they won't be able to use the IP phone service and I wouldn't be surprised if they have issues with 3G icon and network time/location, like every other Android I've seen.


  1. Is it possible that the versions available in HK will have a different radio and not be compatible with Docomo 800 MHz network.
    Just wondering if someone orders from HK, and then pops in a Docomo SIM, will it work in FOMA area.

  2. Techniker TechnologeApril 19, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    somehow looks like there is a very slow but steady revolution going on in Japan. I can't think of these MVNP's not having an impact on the pricing of the larger carriers in future...

  3. Has anyone tried a 050 VoIP phone? (I doubt that it currently would be good for me, as my visits to Japan are usually only a week long.)

    When experimenting with SIP on my Nexus One (running CM6.X), the other party always gets severe echo. The relatively long delay in cell networks tends to make this worse. I'm wondering if the Japanese 050 service have appropriate echo cancellation.

    Can anyone comment on the sound quality?

  4. Yeah, I've used them, though not on 3G but on ADSL. There was absolutely no issues. There are guidelines that address call quality,which is why there are the different classes, requiring latency to be under a certain amount for being classed as A B or C.

    Having never used one on 3G, I can't say for sure, but I am virtually certain that call quality would be on par with traditional mobile voice. Maybe a slight decrease in quality depending on network conditions, but nothing that would be a deal killer.

    For example, I used the b-mobile Fair SIM to make a call to Europe on skype. After a bit, I forgot I was on skype.

  5. ideos has two radio configuration according to the Huawei site

    UMTS 900/AWS/2100MHz
    Or UMTS 850/1700/1900/2100MHz

    So, if it is 900, then no. It seems like some handsets that are "850" can actually work in the "800" FOMA Plus area. The iphone 4 and 3gs are examples, as is the IDEOS


    I have no idea what the one from Hong Kong would have.

  6. I had similar experience as well.

    For the 050 numbers, I have used on the Yahoo BB, OCN and KDDI network and never found any QoS issue whatsoever with local as well as international calls.

    On 3G, I have used many US based VOIP providers as well as a Japan based VOIP provider. Most of the times, I have experienced that if there were any issues, it was due to 3G network coverage (I use Softbank) and not due to any VOIP provider side latency issues. e.g. If I used the same service over wi-fi at around the same time, I never faced a latency issue.

    For using VOIP over 3G --> Try to be in an area with maximum signal strength, minimum ambient noise and not move around a lot.

    For 050 number, am just wondering, if we take the settings from the ADSL router and try to configure it on a softphone (either on mobile or on PC) will it work?

  7. Techniker TechnologeApril 21, 2011 at 5:10 PM

    completely OT, but can someone recp,,emd a fast & simple weather-widget? I tried weather widget free, which seems to not get weather information for anything slightly rural in Japan; I tried the yahoo.co.jp weather app, which is a complete overkill (>5MB). Anything?

  8. I personally like Beautiful Widgets. I wouldn't put it's accuracy on par with local providers, but with AccuWeather underpinnings, it's good enough.

  9. Always bigt prize for an "old" phone, in Europe I can buy for 69euro (sim-free).

  10. I am currently in HK and yesterday picked up one for HK$1040, i.e. ¥10800. Will update when I am back in Tokyo in June/July.

    I tried to ask the store here if they did stock two different models and they didn't, so hard to tell.

    Model looks the same as per label:

    Model: U8150-B
    FCC ID:QISU8150-B
    Color: Blue

    (It did come with the Yellow and Pink backs.)

  11. You could use Skype to get a 050 number (I think they call it SkypeIn) if you're happy with Skype quality over 3g.

  12. If the HK one and the b-mobile one have the same FCC ID, then they should have the same radio I suppose.