All these specifications are no earthly good at all if a device isn’t usable. The good news is that I think the SPV M600 is pretty much on the button. The ergonomics work well. In the hand it feels enough like a phone to be held to the ear for voice calls. Call quality is good, and the speakerphone works well to.
The call and end buttons, sitting on a panel beneath the screen, are large and easy to hit. Number dialling is done via an on-screen tappable keypad, with an easy to set up speed dial list and call history another screen tap away. As usual, you can dial calls from the Contacts application too, and this is available from a soft menu on the Today screen. The other soft menu drops you into the Calendar.
There is, wouldn’t you know it, a camera – lens and self portrait mirror are on the back of the casing. It can be launched using a button on the top left edge of the casing. It shoots at resolutions up to 2-megapixels and, most unusually, has a macro mode which gets you to within about three inches of your subject. You turn this on and off by swivelling the lens surround.
The only other button on the casing is one which on a short press brings up a ‘communications manager’ from which you can control the Bluetooth, WiFi, phone and ringer, and on a long press starts the Voice Notes software.
On the top of the casing is an SD card slot. You might find you need cards to augment the built in memory. Although Orange quotes 128MB of memory, little of this is actually available. After a hard reset I found just 42MB free for my own use. Orange really should quote the available memory figure rather than the whole 128MB, but quoting the lot seems to be what happens across the board with Windows Mobile 5.0 devices.
The M600 is available to both consumer Pay Monthly and business customers. For consumers, the M600 will be free on £40 tariffs upwards.
Battery life is acceptable – not outstanding. In general use I have survived for weekends away from mains power, though I have to be careful not to go mad with Internet use, and for the record, forcing the screen to stay on and looping MP3 music got me six and a half hours of battery, which is on a par with what I’ve seen from other Windows Mobile 5.0 devices recently.
There are two important points to note in relation to battery management: the SPV M600 charges (and synchronises) via a mini USB cable, which means it might well double up with other devices you have on the mains power front. And Windows Mobile 5.0 is based on non-volatile memory – i.e. permanent storage. So if you let the battery run down completely, your data and installed applications won’t be lost. And yes, I have tested that!
I’ve tried an awful lot of connected handhelds running all manner of operating systems, and I can name just a few that I’ve been prepared to live with as my everyday phone and handheld in combination. The SPV M600 has defiantly added itself to the list. The ultimate endorsement, as far as I am concerned, is setting up my speed dials. I’ve done that with the SPV M600. ‘Nuff said.