At the rear of the M3100 you’ll find the main 2-megapixel camera. Image quality from the camera is reasonable, although it had some problems with colour accuracy – those bins really aren’t the bright green portrayed in the image below. There’s a switch on the camera to switch it into macro mode, and this worked surprisingly well, as you can see from the second picture below.
The camera is fine for the odd bit of point and shoot, but the colours aren't as acurate as they could be.
The macro setting on the lens is very impressive though.
Application wise, you’ve got the usual complement of Windows Mobile programs – Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Media Player, to name a few. Conspicuous by its absence is Pocket MSN, which allows you to use MSN Messenger on the move. Orange chose not to install Pocket MSN on the SPV M600 as well, and although you can install it manually, it’s a little annoying that you have to.
The M3100 is a quad band GSM phone so it should work pretty much anywhere in the world. Call quality is also surprisingly good considering that it’s more PDA shaped than phone shaped. I tried some video calling between the M3100 and Benny’s Sony Ericsson K800i – the quality was good, even though I had to look at Benny’s face! Benny said that the image quality was better than when he video calls to another K800i, so it would appear that the video call camera in the M3100 is above average.
You can setup the M3100 to use Microsoft Direct Push email, or if you want a simple solution, you can just set up your POP3 account and configure the device to poll your server regularly. Email isn’t as seamlessly integrated as it is on a BlackBerry and the battery life isn’t anywhere near RIM’s device either, but then the M3100 can do so much more than a BlackBerry.
On the whole I really like the SPV M3100, so much so that it has replaced my trusty SPV M600. Despite being slightly larger than the M600, the integrated keyboard and 3G support in the M3100 make it the best smartphone available right now.
Orange missed the boat slightly by not offering a competitor to the T-Mobile MDA Vario, but it has made up for that with the SPV M3100. Taking the best features from the SPV M5000 and the Vario, the M3100 is feature packed, has unprecedented connectivity and is still small enough to use as a phone. The fact that you can pick this device up for free on a £35 contract is just icing on the cake.