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Review Siemens C55
Siemens C55 was one of the most expected phones in its class. It is the first phone, where the new type of system connector is applied. The advantages of the new connector are obvious, it is smaller than the previous one and power consumption is lesser. Remember, a little bit earlier Nokia made Pop-port. Siemens has the same aims in the case with a new connector.
The phone is available in 3 colours (Aqua, Champagne, Bordeaux). Screen backlighting can be different, it depends on the colour of the phone. Our sample was of Aqua colour and the screen backlighting was orange. If you are not satisfied with any of these colours, you can select interchangeable covers. For the first time Siemens produced luminescent covers which shine in the dark. They are made especially for Siemens C55.
The phone has no backlash, the construction is reliable in spite of the interchangeable covers. The new handset is handy, it measures 101x44x21 mm and weighs 80g. So, you can wear it practically everywhere. The engineers decided no to do side keys to provide more comfort while talking. You can see an external antenna connector on the rear part of the phone and a system connector on the bottom. Of course accessories of the 35 and 45 series are not compatible to Siemens C55. Unfortunately progress doesn't have only advantages.
The screen of the phone has a resolution of 101x64 pixels, what allows to display up to 3 text lines (16 characters each) and one line with tips to the soft-keys use. The screen is contrast, all the text information is clearly visible there. Orange backlighting is also very helpful. The information on the blue screen looks a little bit different but there are also no problems with reading the text. One can set a screensaver with clocks, it is well-known for all users of 45. series. You can also use any graphic image as a screensaver in the phone, all numerous pre-default ones are very nice and funny.
A keypad and first of all a 4-directional key is placed under the screen. We can't portray our real feelings of using the keypad in this review, even photos are not helpful. In our opinion it is one of the best keypad among all models, including the phones manufactured by other companies. All the keys are made of plastic and they are pleasing to touch. On the one hand you don't need to make efforts to press the keys, on the other - they can't be pressed by accident in pockets. Lower keys are smaller as compared with the upper ones but in spite of that the keypad is handy. You don't feel any discomfort even when you use a bottom row, it happens very rarely indeed. The keys are small and hence, the characters are also not very big. They are visible on the keys without a backlighting (it has the same colour as the screen backlighting) inside but they are merged when the backlighting is switched on. There are no problems in sunny days.
Few words about the battery. The phone is equipped by the lithium-ion battery of 700 mAh capacity. According to the manufacturers the phone can provide up to 260 hours in the standby mode and up to 5 hours of talk time. Our field tests showed worse results. The phone worked 3 days in case of 1 hour of talking (MTS Network) and 40 minutes using of other applications. Playing games took about 30 minutes. Power consumption is one of the largest in this mode as the phone uses maximum power of its processor and there is a constant sound accompaniment. If one uses the phone only to make not long calls phone's autonomy can reach 5-6 days, may be a week. The engineers really succeed in decreasing energy consumption. The time of full re-charging is about 2 hours.
If screensaver isn't turned on in the standby mode, a network operator name, time, date, signal level and battery status are displayed on the screen. The last indicator changed a little bit, now it has 4 parts and it is more convenient to define how long the phone will work. A gradual indicator, which the previous models have, is not always accurate. Anyone who has any phone from Siemens can understand the menu organization very quickly, it's not difficult and for those who haven't use Siemens before. Pressing a navigation key to the right brings you to the main menu, pressing of this key to the left selects sound settings of the phone (by default), but you can set your one item instead. The main menu looks like a list with a set of menu items, but you can change the style. Then only one icon will be displayed on the screen what is not so comfortable. All submenus are also represented as lists of items. A shortcut menu navigation is available. You can also associate some keys with some items, then after pressing and holding the key you will be in the necessary item. A consumer can also make a list of the most frequently used items and add this list to My menu.
The phone supports a predictive text input, including Russian. You can switch the languages while text inputting what is really comfortable. Let's turn to the main menu items.
Phonebook. Up to 50 phone numbers can be stored in the phonebook. It's not much if to take into account that only one number can be added to one name. You can associate an animated or just a graphic picture to each name. The phone numbers recorded on SIM-card and the numbers from the phone memory are displayed in one list. The search by first letter is available. Up to 20 phone numbers can be voice dialed, the voice recognition works excellent.
For the first time successfully realized Caller groups can be found in the phone from Siemens. You can divide the phone numbers into 8 groups. Five groups are pre-default (Family, Friends, Office, VIP and Others.You can change a group title or associate each group to the special ringing tone and adjust it volume. The advantage of C55 is that the phone numbers from SIM-card memory also can be grouped. It is not useless because the phone has an integrated incoming calls filter.
You can also send a group message or make a group call (a network service). You should select the subscribers before the call.
Messages. Up to 25 messages and 9 templates can be stored in the phone memory. The phone supports concatenated messages (up to 760 characters) and EMS. Standard pictures that are well known for the users of the old models from Siemens are available for EMS-messages.
Call lists. The last 10 received, 10 missed and 10 dialed calls are kept here. You can view time and date of each call. Total time isn't displayed on the screen.
Organizer. Up to 50 phone numbers can be kept in organizer: notes, dates of birthdays or meetings. You can set a reminder for meetings. You can't view a whole calendar, only the list of missed reminders.
There is also an access to calculator, currency converter and alarm clock, which you can set to any day of the week.
One can also add up to 10 voice tags to some menu items in this menu.
Profiles. There are several profiles in the phone, you can set different settings for each of them, for example, ringing tone, vibrating alert and so on
Fun&Games There is a usual wap-browser in version 1.2.1, which offers standard possibilities. The peculiarity is that you can view sites with a help of GPRS connection (GPRS - 8 class). A ring manager is placed here too. They are rather unusual. You can also record any sound (up to 18 seconds) and than use it as an incoming alert.
All pre-defined pictures (animated, or static) as well as ringing tones, which are not marked with a bell can be deleted to increase the available memory space.
There are two Java games in the phone. The first one is a kind of Arachnoids - Galaxy Hero, the second one is an old computer game - Prince of Persia. Engineers managed to reproduce a spirit of the game and it's captivating even after 10 years. Music of the game is charming. I'm sure that this game will be one of the main reasons to purchase a phone (unfortunately it's only shareware version in C55).
Two Java applications are pre-installed in this phone too. They are Unit converter and Remind Me. The second application helps you to remember necessary purchases. You can create your own items as well. The most interesting thing is that you can send these reminders via SMS to any other handset. If another phone supports this application you can send your message in original format, if it doesn't have it, you can send it as an ordinary text SMS message. This application is a very convenient thing for the whole family and it really works.
The phone memory is about 367Kb, 300 Kb are occupied by different applications, melodies and pictures. You can delete what you don't need and free the space. It's possible to download extra applications only over the air, a cable isn't supported. However, there is an USB-cable for data transmission and synchronization.
The quality connection is perfect, it is comparable to Siemens S45. The volume of the loudspeaker is also excellent. This handset is not the champion among the phones, which support handsfree mode, it works good only in quite places. But it's not a grave shortcoming. Usually this feature is used in quite places or it isn't used at all.
Siemens C55 has 16 polyphonic ringing tones, melodies are nice but the ringer is not very loud. It can be compared with the one in Alcatel 715 or Samsung N600/620. The variety of melodies is great (about 19), you can also set one of the 7 animal voices. Extra melodies are also available. Vibrating alert is average, it isn't felt from the bag but quite distinguishable, when the phone is in a pocket. Here you can listen to some of the pre-loaded melodies (mp3, 500 Kb).
Siemens C55 is positioned as a cellphone of the middle class. It is the most popular market segment today. The phone almost doesn't have weak points except a small memory of the phonebook. But you can use a SIM-card instead. The absence of the calendar is not a trouble too. The phone has more advantages than disadvantages. None of the phones of that class has such autonomy and such set of features: Java, a possibility to record melodies "over the air", polyphony, handsfree, different ways of menu navigation. It doesn't have any problems with software. It's really a perfect choice among the phones of the middle class, taking into account that the initial price will be 200 USD and then it decreases to 170-175. We don't find rival models. In our opinion, all models that exist now lose to C55. Either they cost more or they don't have so many advanced features.
Published 9 November 2002
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