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The reason for writing this review is that I honestly believe that amidst the confusion of mobile phones available, there are people out there, like myself, that want a telephone simply as a means of emergency communication. They do not want the all singing all dancing confusion of screens, and photographs, bluetooth, music player, or even the choice of ring tones to fit the current fashion. It is with these thoughts in mind that I feel the review relevant, even though this telephone was first put on the market in 2001. Mine is still fully functional and has never let me down. I chose it because of its' looks, it's solid feel and felt that compared to others within my price range was the best available and the least flimsy option.
The phone comes with a charger, and although I paid the equivalent of 35 GPB for mine, I know that these are cheaper now, though to me that makes them even more tempting to those consumers that simply want a telephone on the move without all the extras. Mine was bought in a supermarket and I had the choice of a phone with a contract or without. I plumbed for without, because my need of a portable phone is limited to holidays and short absences away from home. That way, I can top of my call time either with a credit card or a card from my network (available in newsagents and supermarkets here and ranging from 15-40 GBP equivalent).
The telephone functions on a GSM900/GSM1800 network, and has a built in antenna which is very discreet. The phone is not a folding one, and to me that has many advantages, in that it is less likely to get broken and is small enough to pop in your pocket, or in a side pocket of a handbag, measuring 118 x 45 x 27 mm, which makes it pretty small and neat. This is also a very light telephone weighing 122 grams (including the standard Ni-Mh 600mAH battery, which fully charged gives me 100 hours of standby and three hours of talking time. Now that really is impressive, since I can leave the telephone switched on for journeys and be assured that there will be sufficient charge for the telephone to work, and here the phone has never let me down. It's a really comfortable phone in your hand too and a very solid build that I have dropped on many occasions, but which has never been damaged by dropping, even onto hard concrete.
Having a good choice of languages available on the phone instructions (20 languages), both in the booklet and on the phone's menus, I believe this is a worldwide success story. I was impressed with the easy manner that the instruction booklet was set out to cater for new users of mobiles like myself, explaining everything in simple stages that were a pleasant education on how it works, and what options were available. I got the hang of it pretty well straight away.
I have the choice of 15 basic ring tones, which are nothing special and not polyphonic, but do allow me a little bit of personalization of the phone, or I can turn it to vibration only in a situation where I do not wish the phone to ring. This comes in handy, since often I am in company and am actually embarrassed by having a portable phone ring and interrupt whatever I am doing. The vibration is gentle and gives me a warning that perhaps I have received a text or a call, and I do not feel as obliged to answer it straight away as I would with a ring tone. Also, when driving, ring tones make me jump, so switching it over to vibration and having it in a pocket means that I can pull in, and then answer. Another feature here is the ability to change the volume of the ring tone which is a handy feature, since many of the ring tones really are irritable.
The screen on the telephone is a simple one showing two lines of text which is very clear alphanumeric, and black on a green background. It shows you the state of your battery in the right hand corner and this really does help me to remember to charge the phone. Charging on a regular basis, the phone takes about an hour and a half to fully charge which to me is reasonable and an indicator tells you when the phone is charged.
6 lost calls and 10 outgoing calls can be stored in the memory, as well as messages and here the SMS system is simple and I got used to sending texts, with the buttons on the phone being clearly marked and easy for my fingers including a cancellation button for going back if you make errors. This is so clearly marked and was essential to me as I had never sent texts before, and the instructions contained within the booklet that came with the phone were exceedingly clear and suit a beginner. Text messages are a little limited in that they can only have 160 digits, but I have always found this sufficient for my needs. I also have storage for my personal numbers and these are easy to find from the opening menu on the telephone and can be flipped through at ease although only carry basic information such as name and number, and I would perhaps have preferred to have had an area for addresses. At the present moment, I have 45 contacts, and their names show up clearly and can be accessed very simply.
There is also a clock on the phone, and I do find this quite important as I do not wear a watch. My general thoughts on the phone are positive. It is always clear when there is a message whether it be text or vocal, shown by a flashing symbol upon turning the phone on. Going into events to see what awaits you is simple as well and the phone makes it clear whether you have a text message or a vocal one.
I think my enthusiasm for the simplicity of use of this phone may rub off on those that do not want all the advanced technology. It's basic, but the reception is good and I can hear clearly calls from the United States as well as local calls. I use a pay as you go system of payment, because it suits me better than a contract, and for those who want a telephone simply for emergency situations that put them out of reach of others, this really does keep you in touch, without confusing configuration or the user having to have technical expertise of any kind. The phone comes in several colours, and the ones that I chose between at the time of purchase were red and black, and I chose the black as it seemed more discreet, and fancied it up with one of the 3 fascia panels that come with it which was simple to do and made the phone look attractive. I use the fascia illustrated at the top of the review.
Guarantee One year from the date of purchase.
How do I rate the phone ?
For the purpose for which I bought it, it really is a super phone. It doesn't need all the fancy gadgetry to be a good, reliable, functional telephone. It would suit those people who, like me, want contact with people whilst on the move, without the distraction of the multitude of features on other phones that quite frankly get in the way of basic functionality. As an emergency telephone for long journeys it is a superb telephone. Five years old and still going strong, and what proves that there is a market for simplistic phones is that the phone is still on the market and Siemens recognise that there is a need for simple communication at a low budget price. The only downfall to me is the irritating ring tones which would bring this down from 10/10 to 8/10, although switching them off and using the vibration is a simple solution.
It's a phone not a toy with gadgets and its' reliability still impresses me.