Back in March I reviewed the T-Mobile MDA Vario, which was a cool little Windows Mobile device with a slide out keyboard. Although I liked the Vario, I found myself more impressed with the Orange SPV M5000, which although larger, had the advantage of 3G support. Of course what I really wanted was a cross between the two – a device with the dimensions of the Vario, but the 3G support of the SPV M5000. Well, it appears that wishes do come true, because that’s exactly what I’ve got on my desk right now.
If you read Sandra’s review of the HTC TyTN, you’ve probably noticed that the Orange SPV M3100 is a variant of that device. The big difference being that this one is available on a contract, and therefore won’t cost you over £500! In fact you can pick the M3100 up for free if you go for an Orange tariff at £35 or above.
The black and silver finish definitely works well and despite looking relatively obese compared to the plethora of anorexic, ultra-slim handsets on the market, the M3100 still looks stylish and modern. With a weight of 178g including SIM, battery and memory card, the M3100 isn’t light by modern phone standards, but it isn’t heavy compared to most Windows Mobile devices either.
There is a plethora of buttons all over the M3100, but still it manages not to look cluttered. Below the 240 x 320 screen you’ll find a four way navigation pad with a button at the centre. The navigation pad is flanked on both sides with buttons – you get two soft buttons, Call and End buttons, an OK button and a Windows button. An interesting addition is a dedicated video call button, for easy differentiation from voice calls. Above the screen you’ll find a couple more buttons – one launches your email client, while the other launches your web browser. Finally, in the top right of the front fascia is a small camera for video calling.
On the base of the unit is an IrDA port, in case you’ve still got hardware that uses it. Next to the IrDA port is a mini-USB port that is used for charging and syncing. Interestingly, the bundled hands-free set also uses the mini-USB port. This brings with it a couple of issues – obviously you can’t use your own headphones when listening to music, but it also means you can’t listen to music while you’re charging the M3100.