Orange SPV M2000 Review

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  • Review Price: £249.00

I’ll come straight to the point. The SPV M2000 is a full size Pocket PC PDA that is also a mobile phone. We’ve seen this before with hp’s iPAQ h6340, and the same concept has also been used for O2’s XDA and T-mobile’s MDA range, along with a host of other players offering similar devices. In fact, the HTC (High Tech Computers, Taiwan) designed chassis (codenamed “Blue Angel”) is identical to the XDA IIs, MDA III, and the iMate PDA2K.


It’s an appealing combination for obvious reasons. I mean, why bother carrying around both your mobile phone and your PDA when there’s one device that does it all? However, I would still argue that the device has to be small to remain appealing, and in the case of the M2000 this balance is skewed toward the big end of the size scale.


This fact was confirmed to me after I fitted my Orange SIM card and made my first phone call while scaling the mountains in Snowdonia (Yes, the Orange signal was rather good up there). In a Dom Jolly, Trigger Happy TV moment, the rest of our hiking party all gave me a strange look as I held this slab of technology against my ear… “Hello. Yes! I’m up a mountain! It’s rubbish!”


Admittedly for me the hike was rubbish (I held everyone up), but the barrage of abuse from friends was exclusively related to the M2000’s proportions and not my climbing prowess. “What’s that against your ear?” “Do you realise you look stupid holding that?” This went on until eventually they all just got used to me nattering away on it. I guess that’s just it. It is big. It’s a little ungainly, but when I gave it enough exposure, it and I finally gained peer acceptance.


So as a phone the M2000 is large and it’s even larger if you pull out the sliding QWERTY keyboard. However, as a PDA there’s little difference between it and a typical PDA. In fact, it measures 125 x 71.6 x 18.7mm (WxHxD) and tips the scales at 195g, making it quite similar to hp’s iPAQ h6340 – they’re both PDA-like in terms of width and height, but carry a little more thickness. The size doesn’t make it that pocketable, but at least Orange supplies you a carry case (with magnetic fastening) that can be clipped onto your belt.


Using the case threw up what I thought was a rather annoying issue. Upon slipping it in I would activate the Pocket PC Start menu icon in the top left corner of the 3.5in QVGA (240 x 320 pixel) transflective TFT display. So the first feature I looked for was the ability to lock the display, in the same you would a mobile phone’s keypad. Luckily you can, with an option buried under the System tab within the Settings menu. Here I found the “Button Lock” icon that allows you to lock all the buttons except the power one when the M2000 is off. However, “Off” isn’t quite the correct term as the phone will still ring if you receive a call.


Out of its little holdall, the M2000 feels well constructed with a metal front frame that borders a plastic bezel that surrounds the screen. The charcoal coloured rear is made from rigid plastic that also feels solid. Not everyone will like the champagne finish to the front, but it grew on me as it isn’t too “gold”.


At the top there’s a headphone socket covered with a rubber bung, an SD/MMC slot with SDIO support for other peripherals, and there’s the power button. Around the back is the camera lens accompanied with its traditional reflective disk that doubles as a self portrait mirror. More on the camera’s quality later.


The M2000’s right flank is devoid of any controls, largely because it houses the chamber for the stylus, which is actually one of the best I’ve used. It’s not flattened like the one belonging to the Dell Axim X30, it’s long enough to hold comfortably, and the metal shaft adds that extra bit of durability. No problem there. Along the left hand side you’ll find the IrDA port, the camera button, a slider volume control (for both the ringer and the earpiece), and the voice record key (or notes key for recording short memos).


The front carries most of the key controls. In true PDA fashion, there’s a four-way navigation pad with a centre button for initiating functions that are highlighted on the display. And, in true mobile phone fashion, this pad is flanked by two backlit buttons. On the left by the red “end key” (for ending, rejecting and diverting calls), and on the right by the green “call key” which fires up the phone screen so that you can make a call. Furthermore, if you hold this down during a call the speakerphone is activated so that you can continue a conversation hands-free.