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Review Siemens S55. Part 2
Calls lists. Last 10 dialed, 10 received and 10 missed calls are stored in the phone memory. Time and date of each call can be viewed here too.
Profiles. As always you can setup the phone profiles, which allow several settings to be turned on by one key (vibrating alert, type of ringing tone and so on).
Organiser. It has a traditional structure, there is a monthly view, weekly view (with time scale) and daily view (with time-table). Special menu items allow to look through all special events, for example, meetings, notes and reminders. Totally, up to 500 events can be stored in the organizer memory.
World time (time in big cities) could be also viewed here. Besides, one can find a dictaphone in this menu, number of records and their duration is limited by free memory space of the phone.
Card-Explorer. This utility is used to view data, which are stored in flash memory. The phone has 921.6 Kb of free memory space, it’s not much as you could imagine. But it’s enough to download about 10 melodies, two Java games and some photos.
Fun&Games. Here we could find wap-browser in version 1.2.1. It was rather disappointing that version 2.0 is not represented here. An old version of wap-browser slightly limits functionality of the phone, it’s not possible to view a great amount of web pages.
There is no much sense to write about games, they are well-known to everybody. The phone supports Java, so, you can download any games, for example, a puzzle, where you need to create a picture out of several parts. As s picture you can use any photo or image you like. If you wish, you can play tennis. Everything is at your choice.
Extra. Such applications as calculator, currency converter, stop-watch (with intermediate results), countdown timer, alarm-clock (including recurrent alarm-clock) are located in this menu. Here you also get access to voice commands (up to 10 voice tags).
Siemens supports SyncML, what allows to save all phone notes and contact on server. We were able to test this feature and it worked with out problems.
Settings. There are all functions, which are connected with phone capabilities. We are not going to describe all of them in details, we'll only make some comments. For example, it ‘s better to switch off GPRS when you don’t use this feature, it will increase the autonomy of the phone. Operating time is halved while using this function. IrDa has lesser influence, but it’s more logical to switch it on only while using it.
My menu. As always you could create your own menu with the most frequently used features.
Bluetooth. By chance, we had an opportunity to test one of the first prototypes of bluetooth headsets from Siemens. This function works correctly. Bluetooth headset for Siemens is made by Jabra, this model is named Jabra BT-300. Later we’ll published a special article devoted to bluetooth headsets. Here I’d like to say that operating time of this bluetooth headset is about 2 hours in the talking mode and 2-2.5 days in the standby mode. Volume of the loudspeaker is really high. This device could be worn from both sides. Unfortunately, voice dialing didn’t work in both cases, though in Bluetrek device it was available. Probably, it was because we have only a prototype from Siemens.
Bluetooth-adapter on the notebook also worked with this phone without problems. An expected price of this bluetooth headset is about 120 USD. As for me, it was rather heavy and not compact. After two hours of wearing it, I was tired a little bit.
Camera. A special camera QuickPic is produced especially for this model. It is connected to a standard system connector. Two kinds of images resolution are available: 160õ120 and 640õ480 pixels. You can choose only low resolution images or both ones in settings menu. Probably, it was made to use photos as wallpapers or icons assigned to phone numbers in the phonebook. Images are stored in JPEG format. We seemed that the quality of images taken by this camera were better than the quality of pictures taken by external cameras of rival products (for example, MCA-20). This picture is more vibrant, colours are more balanced. Sometimes flash function is very helpful. It is the first accessory with such feature. You should charge a flash by pressing briefly a left side key and then you can take a picture. Here you could view some pictures taken by this device. Remember that this camera can’t compete with a usual digital camera. Images look mediocre on the screen, because of the screen quality, low resolution and small quantity of colours. But, nevertheless, this camera is one of the best ones in its class, the picture is vivid and accurate.
Now few words about negative sides of this product. Operating time of the phone reduces greatly while using camera with a flash gun. For example, 10 pictures reduce autonomy by 5%. The other shortcoming is the following. On the contrary to other mobile phones, a display of this model can’t be used as a viewfinder, and you need to look through the window in camera to take a picture. I think that later this feature could appear. Since pictures are of high quality, they need time to be saved and much free memory space (up to 36 Kb) to be kept. Choice of minimal resolution is not obvious, as pictures in MMS messages should be of lesser size and they wouldn’t be displayed on majority of phones. On the other hand, may be this resolution would be standard, when MMS is widely spread. An expected price of camera is about 60-70 Euro.
Siemens S55 has many characters of other models and many new features as well. Today it is one of the best technological phones of busoness-class. Only SonyEricsson T68i could be compared with this model, but it also loses in several features, which are rather important for users of this phone class (novelty, design, polyphony, Java).
Quality connection is good, volume of the loudspeaker is sufficient outsie and inside. Polyphonic melodies, though they are only 16- tones are very nice. They have only one minus – low volume; they are badly heard in noisy places or when the phone lies in a bag or a coat. Here, here and here you can listen to some ringing tones (mp3, 700 Kb). Vibrating alert could help you not to miss a call, it’s rather strong, you could easily feel it if you wear a phone in a hostel or in pockets.
Handsfree mode is realized successfully in this model. Volume of the loudspeaker is always sufficient inside. A phone capability to send files from PC was very pleasing. They are collected in a special folder – Data Objects. Later you can receive these files, just saving them, or reject to download them. List of supported formats is rather long. Here it is: *.bmx, *.gif, *.col, *.bmp, *.jpg, *.gif, *.png, *.smo, *.smi, *.mid, *.amr, *.mmf, *.txt, *.tmo, *.vmo. We tried to dowload images, ringing tones and games via IrDa. No errors were noticed.
First lots of phone will be contained data adapters and software for synchronization in standard kits. This function worked correctly.
Let’s turn to other small shortcomings. Display backlighting is often switched off, when it is useful, for example, when you work with camera or play some games. It’s also not very convenient, when you see only a picture assigned to a phone number while incoming call. A name of the caller is displayed only once. It would be more comfortable, if a picture alternates with a name. A phone number type is also not displayed while incoming call.
Sometimes the phone responds too long to commands, but it’s not irritating to say the truth.
Siemens loses in number of displayed colours (256 instead of at least 4096, which Nokia has), but it wins by its functionality. If you need only a good colour screen, choose Nokia or Samsung. If you need a good polyphony, your choice is a phone from Samsung or LG. But if you need advanced features and nice design, then Siemens S55 is surely your phone. In the end of 2003 a price of this phone will be about 350 USD. Taking into account a price policy from Siemens, we can presume that the price will be lower soon and Siemens S55 will be a mass product. No doubts, that this successful phone will increase sales of Siemens.
P.S. In near future we’ll publish a small article devoted to comparison of Siemens S55 and SonyEricsson T68i. Now I can say that Siemens has a slight advantage, but on the whole these models are comparable. If to compare a new model with products from Nokia, the latter one doesn’t withstand a competition.
Published 9 January 2003
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