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Since the E650 runs Windows Mobile 6 for smartphone, rather than the Pocket PC version, there is no touch screen support. This means that all of your navigation is done via directional buttons and select keys. At first I found this rather difficult and frustrating, since I’d been used to just stabbing at the screen with a stylus or even my finger. However, after using the E650 for a few days, I became accustomed to the new navigation method and soon found it perfectly natural to get around my applications this way.
Moving from a Windows Mobile 5 device to Windows Mobile 6 doesn’t seem to bring with it masses of advantages, apart from the fact that it looks subjectively prettier. One thing I did notice is that the smartphone edition of the OS loaded on the E650 has a slightly cut down version of Office Mobile. Unlike previous versions of Office Mobile that I’ve used, this version will not allow the user to create new documents, instead it only allows you to open existing documents. Strangely though, you are able to edit those documents, which means that as long as you have template documents on the device, you’re able to open them, edit them and save them as new documents. I’m really not sure why Microsoft has not allowed document creation on the smartphone edition of Windows Mobile 6, but at least there is a work around, meaning that this is only a slight frustration, rather than a potential deal breaker.
As with the last couple of Orange SPV devices I’ve tested, Pocket MSN was conspicuous by its absence. However, after a chat with Microsoft I was informed that Windows Mobile 6 will be shipping with Windows Live Messenger instead of Pocket MSN as soon as the final version is ready. Microsoft was kind enough to send me the latest beta code for Live Messenger, which I promptly loaded onto the E650. Live Messenger works very well indeed and gives you the option to be fully connected wherever you are. With effective mobile email, SMS and of course voice calls also on tap, the E650 really is a pocket sized office for the mobile worker.
The SPV E650 is driven by a Texas Instruments OMAP 850 CPU running at 201MHz. That’s a pretty modest engine for a Windows Mobile device, when you consider that the SPV M3100 sports a 400MHz Samsung processor, and that’s far from the fastest around. As a result, the E650 does feel a tad sluggish in some situations, the most obvious being when the screen switches from portrait to landscape – this can sometimes take around three or four seconds, which is a little annoying. There’s 128MB of embedded ROM and 64MB of RAM onboard – after installing Live Messenger I found that I was left with around 46MB of free storage space. Of course this can be augmented via the microSD slot, which is conveniently located on the right side of the device, protected by a rubber flap. Orange bundles a 128MB card with the E650, which is a little small considering that you can pick up a 1GB card for around £7.50 these days.