Measuring 117mm tall, 49mm wide and just 14mm thick, the Ice feels very comfortable in the hand. At 92g it is light too, which is especially welcome as this is a 3G handset.
There is a front facing camera for video calling. Its images were a little less smoothly rendered than I’d like, and the colour was a little off too. Everything was a bit dark, and the handset only managed an approximation of real world colours. Skintones in particular were remarkably pink.
You can fiddle with the white balance during a call using the navigation button, and this helped a bit. If you do a lot of video calling the colour rendering might annoy, and even for the odd call it might irritate. Still, it is useful that you can switch to the back camera during calls should you want to show people what you are looking at rather than an image of your own face.
The 1.3 megapixel main camera shoots stills at resolutions up to 1280 x 1024. It doesn’t have a flash, but there is a self portrait mirror next to the lens on the back of the casing. I found it difficult to frame shots outdoors in bright sunlight because it was hard to see the handset’s screen, though when not using the camera the screen was easier to view.
There is some shutter lag and as a consequence I found that you have to hold the camera steady for longer than you might think necessary to avoid getting blurred results. Images themselves are reasonably good though.
Our sample indoor shot was taken with the white balance at its maximum +2 setting which produces the brightest images. I found this needed to be used as the default setting for indoor shots was too dark.
The Ice ships with a PC connecting cable and some software for sharing data. This software will sync contacts, diary, tasks and memos with Outlook, and also has its own contact manager and diary if you’d rather not use Outlook. There are also video and image management tools, an MMS composer and file manager. The connecting cable will also charge your Ice, effectively meaning you could leave it and the mains power cable in two different locations – home and work, for example.
The Ice has additional applications on board. This being an O2 exclusive handset, one of the softmenus takes you straight into the O2 Active services, from where you can drop out onto the Web. It all works nice and fast over a 3G connection but Web pages are not rendered to fit the screen, so they need to be horizontally scrolled.
The music player turns out reasonable quality sound, though it is not particularly loud, and other extras include a voice recorder, calculator, notepad, stopwatch and unit converter. There is just 32MB of built-in memory, but you can augment this with microSD cards easily enough.
The O2 Ice is a very good looking handset. It ignores fancy buttons and bling for a rather understated but consequently appealing design. I have to say I like its whiteness. Feature-wise what you get is decidedly mid range, and O2 let’s the handset down a little by not paying enough attention to detail. Web browsing with fit-to-screen rendering and mini USB connectivity would have been welcome.