The Ice, exclusive to O2 is, as you may have gathered, white. In fact, I’d describe the colour as pure brilliant white – like the paint. It is tall and thin, and I have to say, rather elegant in design. The phone tapers at both the top and bottom edges, which makes a nice change from blockier handset designs and permits a couple of curves to creep in. When you add in the unusual rounded shaping of the number pad buttons, the call and end keys and the soft menu keys and the net result is a distinctive and not unpleasant handset.
When you buy a mobile for its looks you really need a matching Bluetooth earpiece, especially when your handset is cool white, right? Buy O2’s Ice online and that’s what you’ll get, the headset being worth £49.99, at least according to the company’s web site.
My review Ice didn’t have this little extra in its box, but I did get a pair of white headphones. These incorporate a blue O2 flash on each earbud, which will allow the eagle-eyed to spot that you are using O2 kit and not any other, ‘trendywhite’ hardware.
It is one of the little let-downs of this handset that the headset connects to the phone via a 2.5mm jack. O2 has come close to offering owners the opportunity to use their own headset with the phone, but stepped back from the brink at the last minute. Yes, you could use a 2.5mm to 3.5mm converter plug, but this is an unwieldy solution and with the headphone socket located on the left edge of the Ice, one that is very awkward for the pocket.
The phone actually isn’t just white. There are some small splashes of colour such as green and red markings on the Call and End buttons, a circle of silver in the centre of the navigation button, markings on the number pad and so on, but the predominant whiteness is clearly this handset’s defining feature.
Usability has not been sacrificed for design. All the keys are slightly raised from the fascia, well spaced and very easy to hit. The navigation button, though small, is also easy to use.
Buttons and connectors are discrete and minimal. The headset jack on the left of the casing is accompanied by a volume rocker that is built flush to the edge. On the right edge there is a covered slot for a micro SD card. The bottom edge houses an uncovered slot for mains power and connecting to a PC.
Here we encounter another of those little annoyances, as this connector is proprietary rather than the widespread mini USB type. O2 provides a mains power cable and the battery performed reasonably well – on my standard music rundown test with the screen forced to stay on I got a shade over five hours of music from a full charge. During everyday usage the Ice saw me through a full day and more of activity. But still, on a weekend away I felt it was necessary to carry the mains charger just to be on the safe side, and so, I have no doubt, would you.