Better than many were expecting.
Siemens cash haemorrhaging mobile phone division wasn’t exactly the darling of the industry when it was bought by BenQ last year, but the first three handsets from the new ‘BenQ-Siemens’ brand have nothing to be embarrassed about.
Most desirable is easily the EF81, a skinny clamshell which will inevitably draw comparisons with Motorola’s iconic RAZR. It is just 16mm thick yet boasts 3G connectivity and a 256k colour display.
The integrated camera is a hefty two megapixels, swivels and the external screen acts as its viewfinder. USB connectivity and a nice stainless steel keypad add further street cred and a microSD memory card slot compliments the 64MB of onboard memory. Multimedia isn’t too shabby either with support for AAC+, MP3, Mpeg4, RealVideo and H.263.
Even more malnourished, though not as high end as the EF81, is the S68 (above, right) at a weeny 13mm thick. It weighs just 79g, also comes with brushed aluminium casing and a 262K colour screen.
Just 8MB of memory has been squeezed onboard, but since there’s no camera or video playback you’d think that wouldn’t be an issue. Handy synchronisation with Outlook or Lotus Notes may test that theory a bit, however. Still, there’s 300 minutes of natter time and 300 hours on standby, should you enjoy talking the hind leg off a donkey.
Larger, but packing more oomph, is the S88 (above, left) with a 2in 262k OLED screen and two megapixel camera with whopping (if still rubbish by definition) 16x digital zoom. The microSD slot will most definitely be called upon given the stingy 16MB of onboard memory, but it does support PictBridge printing via Bluetooth. Battery life here is even greater than the S68 quoting 450 minutes of talk time though 3G isn’t supported. Otherwise, the same multimedia and connectivity options as the EF81 remain.
The S68 will be first out the door arriving this February, with the EF81 down for March and the S88 ambiguously listed as just ‘Q1 2006’. BenQ-Siemens says we can expect many more launches this year with most multimedia friendly and sporting cameras of 1.3 megapixels upwards.
A promising start for a company with a highly dubious acronym…