On the utilities side the already noted M-Desk presents an icon based alternative to the Today screen for getting into applications, while something called Quick Link can show shortcut icons to applications on the Today screen. You can set this up to show just the few applications you use a lot, or go the whole hog and show every application and many settings areas. It looks horrendously cluttered but so called ‘power users’ will love it.
There is also an application for editing images taken with the digital camera in a freeform way and a second one which steps you through various editing tasks including adding frames, applying filters and adding stamps. A well featured backup utility can make backups manually, when the battery gets low and on a timed schedule.
To be honest, some of the added software seems to duplicate features available elsewhere. E-TEN includes MMS and SMS creators, for example. In other cases what’s on offer does not seem to have much practical use. The Multimedia Manager is an example here – it is just a file manager for images, music and video, and duplicates functions in the main Windows Mobile 5.0 File Manager, Pictures and Videos or Windows Media Player software. Still, all this stuff is on ROM and you aren’t forced to use it but it is there if you want to.
Battery life proved to be something of a let down. My standard Windows Mobile Pocket PC battery test involves turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but turning the GSM SIM on, having the screen always on and at half its maximum brightness level and ramping up the volume. I then play music continuously off a full battery charge.
In this case I got five hours 57 minutes of music. I’ve seen worse from Pocket PCs, but also better not least from the already mentioned G500 which managed six and a half hours.
My main problem with the E-TEN M600+ is that it is expensive. When you compare its cost to that of connected Pocket PCs on contract from various UK operators it seems prohibitively so, not least because you still need to factor in communications costs.
But evaluated as an all round device, if you don’t mind an approach to graphics design for the software extras that border on the lurid at times, the M600+ is a well featured and functional connected Pocket PC.