Ever since the introduction of Windows Mobile a couple of years ago, Orange has offered a range of different SPV models, all residing under the Orange brand. The previous three SPV units were not that pocket friendly and were found lacking in both the features and usability departments.
However, the SPV C500 has corrected most of the flaws and faults that plagued the earlier models, although it is still manufacturered by the same Taiwanese company called HTC. Now, you wonâ€™t be able to go out a purchase a phone under the HTC brand, but the SPV C500 is available under a range of different names depending on where you live.
The SPV C500 is what is usually known as a â€œcandy barâ€ phone, which makes it quite different to the Mio 8390 straight away. The screen is slightly smaller at 2.1in, although it features the same 176 x 220 pixel resolution. Despite the identical resolution, the screen on the SPV doesnâ€™t come close to the Mio 8390 in terms of quality â€“ thatâ€™s not to say that itâ€™s a bad display, just that the screen on the Mio is a very good one.
There are of course several similarities between the two phones and most of the layout is recognisable. Just below the screen the SPV C500 has two soft buttons that correspond to the various options on the display. Below those is a large rocker button that takes you back to the home screen on one half and acts as a back, clear or delete button on the other half.
Below the rocker button is the main navigation bar - this is the first time I have come across anything like this on a phone from any manufacturer. It does work OK for up/down and left/right navigation, but the problem is when you have to press it inwards to select various menu options - if itâ€™s not dead centre, then you wonâ€™t be able to press it down and select your option. Unfortunately, this happens quite often when youâ€™re browsing the menus, but itâ€™s only a small niggle.
On each side of the navigation bar youâ€™ll find the dial and end call buttons, while below it is the numeric keypad. Just below the zero is a small white dot, which is a light sensor that automatically adjusts the screen backlight depending on how bright it is where you are. This helps to improve the battery life, but the placement of the sensor seems odd as it can easily be blocked when youâ€™re holding the phone.
The bottom of the C500 features two connectors, one for the wired hands free headset and one standard mini USB connector. So where does the charger go? Well, the phone can be charged via USB from any PC, as long as you have ActiveSync installed, but you do also get a charger in the box - this has a mini USB connector which plugs straight into the same socket.
The left hand side of the phone has a volume up and down button, while the right hand side has a dedicated camera button with a small loudspeaker fitted just behind it. The top of the phone has a power button as well as the IrDA window, which seems to have taken some inspiration from older Nokia phones in terms of layout.