So we got our long-awaited chance to check out Helio's latest, the Drift. Yeah, it looks like your run of the mill black Samsung slider -- certainly nothing compared to the graphic impact the Kickflip makes -- but outward appearances aside, this comfortable, smooth handset is among the first in the states to feature hybrid GPS (A-GPS and real GPS both!), which enables some sweet services like Google maps nav, and their new Buddy Beacon location-based service. It's also finally rocking a much more refined XCE Java version of the Helio UI, which definitely takes care of some lingering niggling concerns we've had with the thing. We've been playing around with ours for a bit and have mostly good things to say about it, click on for a boat load more shots!

Eggshell textured box, notably smaller than the Hero and Kickflip boxes. Nice.


It's got a shiny fleck to it, making for a very fun unpacking procedure up in here.


There she is.

The usual software and manual (not that you really need it).

In the box: charger, stereo headphones, USB cable.

There they are again.

The unit, ready to rumble.

It's always hard to discuss a phone's size in pictures, and this phone (oh wait, are we not supposed to call it that?) definitely isn't the smallest on the market. But it's definitely among the smallest GPS-enabled devices we've used in the US, and it feels nice in the hand to boot.




So let's check out Buddy Beacon, yeah?

So you have two panes, My Beacon (which allows you to update your status, see the map, etc.), and the Buddies tab which allows you to ping your pals and invite new ones.

Empty right now, ah well.

There's us in the middle; we were way indoors, but the A-GPS kicked in and located us fairly accurately. Nice!

Let's add a new friend.



You can also cloak yourself; remember, Buddy Beacon doesn't update continuously, it just sends updates when you specify. We wish there was a real-time update option, but we're stalker-creepy like that.

Google maps looks great on the QVGA, and it's nav-enabled. It doesn't provide turn for turn directions with your GPS, but it does provide directions!




Next to the white unit.

Next to the Kickflip and Hermes.

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