On the right side of the E650 is a dedicated camera button, which will activate the 2-megapixel camera and then act as a shutter release. The pictures produced by the camera are pretty good, and stand up well to other camera phones with 2-megapixel sensors. If there’s one criticism of the camera, it’s that the colours it produces are quite subdued, leaving images that should be vivid, looking slightly washed out. There’s no LED flash though, which some users may find disappointing. That said, I’ve yet to be really impressed by an LED flash in a phone. The picture below was taken in the late afternoon on an overcast day, using only the natural light from the window – and yes, my cat is a total poser!
The power button is located on the top edge of the device, while along the right you’ll find volume controls and a shortcut button for voice dialling. Finally at the bottom there’s a rubber flap hiding the mini-USB port, which is used for synchronising with your PC and charging the device. The E650 will charge while connected to a USB port on your computer, but there’s also a mains adapter in the box for charging away from a PC. Orange quotes seven days standby time, and I wouldn’t argue too much with that – I found that I was getting over four days between charges, with me fiddling with the E650 at regular intervals and making the odd call.
This is a quad band GSM device, so you should be able to use it pretty much anywhere in the world, assuming that Orange has a reciprocal agreement with local carriers of course. Heavy data users may be disappointed by the lack of any form of 3G support, but to be fair the E650 isn’t about heavy data use, it’s about the convenience of carrying a single device in your pocket without weighing you down. You do get EDGE support, which does result in reasonably fast data transfers, but obviously video calling is off the menu, so if that’s important to you, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
There’s Bluetooth support, both for voice and data, so you can send and receive files wirelessly with other device, as well as connect to headsets or to an integrated hands free system in your car. Of more interest is the integrated Wi-Fi. Not only does this mean that you can browse the web and receive emails far faster when connected to a hotspot, but it also opens the possibility of using VoIP on the E650. The potential for free calls over an Internet connection is quite a compelling proposition for many users, especially those who already have a Skype account and a load of contacts. Interestingly, the Skype minimum system requirements specify a CPU speed of over 300MHz when using Intel or Samsung chips, but only 195MHz for an OMAP chip, which means that the E650 makes the grade.
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.