Inside, it boasts a very fast processor, using a 520MHz Marvell part to power things along. This is among the most responsive Windows Mobile smartphones I’ve used, with crashes, pauses and hourglass tedium kept to a merciful minimum, even with a handful of applications open simultaneously. And it complements this with a full array of top-end smartphone hardware: Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and 802.11b/g wireless for data connections in Wi-Fi hotspots.
But as soon as I started to use the 614c in anger I discovered that these innovative, and you could say, luxurious touches cannot make up for a design that turns out to have more than just flawed looks. That touch ring control works well, for example, but only in isolation. As soon as you reach the option you’re looking for, you’ll quickly discover that selecting it isn’t as straightforward. The most natural thing would be to hit the button in the centre to select, but that has no effect; instead you have to crab your thumb to the side of the keypad to hit the Enter key. It’s hardly what you’d call great ergonomic design and I found myself, more often than not, operating the device two-handed – with left thumb permanently resting on the OK button on the left edge of the 614c.
Another problem with the touch ring is that because it’s superimposed on the number pad you end up activating it unintentionally when trying to tap out texts and emails. It’s infuriating to find when you look up at the screen after beavering away at the keypad for a moment or two, that the cursor has mysteriously moved from the body of the email to the address field – and that’s where most of your text has ended up. There’s also no way, it seems, of moving the cursor left and right within text other than tapping with a finger nail or the 614c’s telescopic stylus – the touch ring simply moves the cursor up and down.