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Review Philips 530

Philips 530, live pictures

Standard kit:

  • Phone
  • Charger
  • User's guide

Philips 530 is targeted for youth. Philips supposes that this market will be developing the most during next year. Several new features are included in this phone, like MMS. Unlike Fisio 820/825 this model has IrDA. Let's try to review the potential, which Philips put into this model.

The phone looks unusual, it's rectangular and reminds a little brick. Almost everyone who had seen this phone noticed unusual design. This model will stand out against other phones. Designers decided to run the risk by combining such materials as metallic, dim and semi-transparent plastic in one phone. Several colors will be available. In my opinion, darker colors will look most effectively.

Blinking backlights are located on each side. They can work in time with ring tone or some other occasion.

Phone's size is typical for such class (98x44x18 mm), weight is 85 grams. But you can actually feel the phone in your hand, it's not ultra-light.

The keyboard is made of plastic. Keys are middle-sized. I can't say that keyboard turns on any negative emotions in me, it's average type keyboard, nothing special, nothing bad. Speaker can be seen placed around navigational keypad. Something new indeed. It is used for playing ringtone and as loudspeaker when hands-free mode is enabled.

Two soft-keys are located on the left cover, they are used for Volume Control. IrDA port is located on the right. You can connect hands-free device to the bottom of handset, where special port is located together with charger port. This group of ports is covered by a rubber cup. The rubber cup is connected to handset's case, this means that you safe from accidently losing it. Apart from other models non-standart interface port is used. That's why you can use this phone as GPRS modem only via IrDA. Perhaps there will be special cables, but in order to connect it you will have to remove back cover and set special nozzle (like in Alcatel phones).

Front and back covers can be changed. Main block is made similar to Motorola's C-series mobiles.

The screen has 128x128 pixel resolution, but it's physical size is 28x28mm. The display is rather small. Usually this means that the picture quality will be better, since screen becomes smaller - pixels become smaller as well. But it's not like that this time. The picture is blurry, you can clearly see it when viewing photos. Not looking at 65000 colors display it can't be compared to silimar models from Samsung or LG, neither with any other European mobile phone producer. The screen looks pale in broad daylight, but it's still readable. The number of text lines is 6 + 1. During stand by mode you can see digital clock - this is basic screen saver.

The phone comes with Li-On 720 mAh battery. Philips claims that it will be enough for phone working 380 hours in stand by mode and up to 4.5 hours while talking. The phone worked for about 3-4 days, while it was used in Moscow. I was talking on the phone for about 30 minutes a day, plus using other phone features for 45 minutes. It takes about two hours to charge the phone up.


The interface is typical for Philips’ phones- the main menu is a row of animated icons, you can navigate the menu with the joystick. To get one level up - press C button. If you try to quit the menu with the red button like you're used to do in other phones - nothing will happen. There is no fast navigation with the help of number chains. But you can bind 8 shortcuts to different menu items to the buttons. For example - if you press 5 during standby mode you will start the Calculator.

Almost all sub-menus are represented as icons formed in a circle. If you use functions that are hidden down deep in the menu structure, you will have to work that joystick a lot OR start them with voice activation. Yep, the phone's memory can store up to 40 voice commands which can be used for accessing features that are used the most. Navigating the menu will become a lot easier and faster - you'll just have to get used to the Voice Command feature.

Phonebook. Up to 300 names in the phone's memory. Several additional informational fields can be added to every entry (up to five numbers, e-mail and address). To access Phonebook from stand-by mode - just press the joystick down. Only one Phonebook can be displayed at a time (either phone's memory or SIM). While overlooking the entries only names and surnames will be displayed. If the entry is too long it will be scrolled automatically. While an entry is marked a telephone-like icon will be shown on the right. This means that you can see other phone numbers attached to this entry. The number that was entered into the Phonebook first will be shown as default for every entry. In order to dial the selected number - just press Call button, but if you wish to edit the entry - you will be forced to list half of the mini-menu. The same operation is required for adding Voice Commands for Phonebook entries. Voice Commands work nicely and the handset handled the commands surprisingly nice. A dissapointing factor would be that you can bind the same voice command for different entries. In this case the phone will always use the most recently added command for the entry. The other one will be stored in the phone's memory, but will never be used.

Phonebook supports first letter search, but in order to search again you have to hit at least one name after your first search. This flaw is caused because a name can be searched by entering several letters, for example Smith can be found by 7 (pqrS) or 6 (Mno) and 4 (ghI). A second variant would be more preferable if you have a lot of names in your Phonebook.

You can set melodies and pictures (Photo Call) for 20 groups in the Phonebook.

Messages. Here you can read incoming messages and compose your own. When you’re listing messages - they will be shown in full-length with the help of a preview line. And when you are selecting a message it will automatically scroll into full-screen mode. It's something new that we don't see everyday, and it's actually quite handy. 10 templates are already composed, which is more or less a standard in a mobile phone these times. You can add one or more funny icons or sounds for EMS messages if you like.

Messages can be stored into an archive, you can also set outgoing messages to move automatically into Saved Messages folder if you want to.

The built-in e-mail client functions with typical mail accounts (max. 2) based on POP3/SMTP protocols. The phone can receive and send mail through a GPRS connection, but it doesn't support attachments (except jpg). Messages bigger than 10kb will be automatically denied.

Settings. Basic settings. Everything is simple here, you have a security level setup, ability to choose one of five available themes for display, define backlight's working cycle (up to 1 minute), setup screensaver etc.

All audio settings are located here as well: volume setup, vibrating alert, mixed mode. And last, but not the least - five settings for equalizer which are used when talking on the phone. They were possible with the help of ARM codecs. The only problem is that this feature must be supported by your operator. I've tried changing the settings, but everything remained the same because my operator didn’t support this feature at this time.

Philips 530 supports profiles, but all of them except one are locked and can only be used the way they are pre-installed, no settings can be changed. Only the custom profile can be changed according to your needs so it turns out that the phone has only one true profile.

Multimedia. Several functions are located in this menu, here is a short description of each.

Picture Album. A list of pictures in the phone, and there are quite a lot pictures pre-installed. Most of them are pictures of animals and children. All pictures are stored in jpg format which is supported by the phone. You can see all pictures or choose one for background. One of the most interesting features is that you can easily create screensavers, using only one or a number of pictures. You can also see icons that are used for EMS messages.

Sound Album. Well, as in the previous case the title speaks for itself, here you can find melodies and records made with the voice memo feature, both can be used as ringtones or reminders.

Voice memo. You can store sound records made with this dictaphone feature, which can also be enabled during a conversation (records both parts) and in stand-by mode. The length of the record depends on the current available memory.

Memory Counter. Displays free/allocated memory stats of the phone, which is very useful because it shows how many percent is used by every application. Besides, you can also pick a specific application and see how much records and memory it uses. This handset has 1978 Kb for memory, with about 450 Kb already used by java and files.

BeDJ. The last item in the menu is the music editor - BeDJ. Philips makes a great stake on this one while promoting the 530 series. You can mix different tracks in existing melodies and choose various tones for them as well. It's a nice thing for entertainment, especially if you are interested in musical experiments.

Игры и приложения. Various useful functions are located here, an alarm clock for example. Recurrence can be set as well, including an "only during weekdays" option.

The calculator has basic functions, nothing extraordinary.

The brick game (Arkanoid-type) is quite simple and is the only one in the phone.

The phone doesnt' support Java, just In-Fusio gaming platform. It allows to download new games in the handset (not in Russia). The operator should support this service, otherwise it will not work.

The phone has FM Radio, 20 stations can be stored. Differences from Philips 630 are minimal. The radio is good on the whole, though sometimes you may experience problem with the signal's quality.

Organiser. As the title so cunningly may reveal - this menu item stands for the Organiser. You can see a Calendar (for a week or a month). While looking at the month mode in the Calendar some events arranged are marked out. And when you are looking in week mode you can see special icon near every day that has an event planned. There are three types of events: meeting, relaxation and business. For every record a date of beginning and end can be set. They can also be set at several intervals (a day, a week, a month and a year), you can also set a reminder-time to start warning you about the event. There is also a function that allows you to delete all old events at once, which I find very useful. On the whole - the Organiser works fine, nothing special though. The memory of Phonebook and Organiser are combined and shared dynamically. A little surprise: you can record 300 Phonebook entries only if there are no entries stored in the Organiser.

Call list. List of calls, it's common, meaning that the last 30 missed, dialed and received calls are listed in this menu. You can look up the date and time of each call. They can be seen if you press the joystick up once. The numbers can be used the same way as in the Phonebook (messages, details etc.).

Operator Services. The WAP browser can be accessed from here. Nothing special, the phone has GPRS (4+2) and it works fine.


Philips 530 is a typical phone from Philips. No big changes from Philips Fisio 825 which dissapoints a little. The main difference should have became the screen, but for now we can't say that. The display is not the best in it's segment. This is the best screen among other Philips mobiles, but it's not competitive with other brands, like Samsung. This model leaves us with double feelings, it's peculiar.

Philips plans to start selling 530 from the end of November. It will cost around 200-220$. Since there are a lot of other models in this market's segment that have better functionality - we can't expect 530 to be a successful model. Of course, like every other phone, it will find it's customer, but the sales will not be very big. If only it costed around 165-175 dollars and had built-in or external camera, things would have turned out in a different way.

Examples of ringing tones (240 Kb, mp3)

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Alexander "Lexx" Zavoloka (Lexx@i-5.delfi.lv);
Text editor: Tommy Kellerman (Tommy.Kellerman@kama.se)

Published — 26 November 2003

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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