You do, though, need to think a bit carefully about where you put the handset to do this. On a desk in front of you is fine, but the camera angle just doesn’t work properly if you want the handset raised a little from your desk height. For example my PC monitor is at eye height and it was not possible for me to sit the EF81 next to it to make a video call without wedging the whole handset at a new angle.
Inside the clam there is a lot of space for screen and keyboard. Although the screen is of a reasonable size at 2.2in diagonal it does look a little lost in the large area available to it, even though BenQ-Siemens has done its best to enhance the screen with a big, black frame. At 240 x 320 pixels and offering 262,000 colours, though, it is sharp and bright.
The number pad and other keys use almost all the available space on the bottom section of the clam. Another Motorola V3x comparison has to be made here as the area is flat with small raised lines forming three sides of a rectangle to separate the number keys from each other and eight further raised lines radiating from the large central navigation lozenge to separate the other function keys – two softmenu keys, call, end, video call, Internet, clear, and a task switcher for flicking through open applications.
The only one of these which is a fiddle to use is the navigation key which has a relatively small area to tap at. But it is slightly raised, which makes the job a little easier.
BenQ-Siemens gets away with a single camera for video calling and stills shooting by locating it on the hinge so that it swivels when you open and close the clam. With the clam closed the camera faces the back of the handset, with the clam opened it swivels to the front.
Using a single camera may have helped achieve the slim design of the EF81, but it is a bit hampering when it comes to shooting stills and video because you can’t swivel the lens manually. With the clam opened you can only shoot stills and video of yourself. With it closed you can shoot away from yourself but have to use the front screen to frame shots and its relatively small size makes things far more difficult than they would be using the internal screen.