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On acquiring what I believe to be the eighth phone that I have owned from Siemens, I was expecting quite a lot. For those unfamiliar with the term, the abbreviation OEM stands for Other Equipment Manufacturer, which means that although the C62 had Siemens branding, it was not made by Siemens themselves. As pointed at the time of the phones release in early 2004 on www.mobile-review.com, the C62 was the first (and I believe only) mobile phone from Siemens to be built on a Sony Ericsson chipset, and then made by a third-party manufacturer in Hungary, I believe. There is little doubt that this choice of building block for the phone made for substantial differences between the mobile phone manufactured by Siemens themselves and the C62, and, as will be discussed later, these are both negative and positive. Let us start with the basics.
As an actual phone for making calls, the C62 performs rather well. Apart from the suffering the standard Sony Ericsson quirk that the numbers from the SIM card have to be copied onto the phone before anything meaningful can be done with them, no doubt relating to the chipset again, the phone book appears well organised and detailed. As is the case with many MMS phones, there is a photo phonebook too, but without the extra clip-on camera (not supplied in the standard package) this is redundant. Unlike many of Siemens real phones, the excellent infra-red port (which can normally be used to transfer anything short of games, including ringtones, pictures and contacts) is absent. I was, however, able to use a standard Siemens 55-series data cable to transfer MIDI ringtones onto the C62 without any difficulty. Once the phone does actually ring, the call quality appears reasonable, although the lack of side buttons does make volume adjustment rather tricky during a call. There is also a speakerphone (something missing from Sony Ericsson models before the later K700i), which performs just as well as any other Siemens model, which means rather muted volume on the part of the party making the call, but excellent clarity and volume for those receiving the call. Unfortunately, there are two fundamental flaws which somewhat mar the basic abilities of the C62.
The first of these is the mediocre battery life. The particular model I purchased was used as a temporary stop gap for my sister in between phones, and so the battery had a good test. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a less than positive experience for her. Within two days, the battery was always drained, which is even worse than my current Sharp GX15 camera phone, which has a lot more features. The C62 battery, which is not common to any other models, is certainly one of the phones weak points. If you are to be away from a car charger or a building with electricity for a few days, make sure that the C62 is not going to be your only source of communication! The problems, unfortunately, do not stop there.
On a holiday to the Lake District, my sister and I alternated between a Siemens S55 I had at the time and the C62. Naturally, she got the S55. Not only was the battery a lot better (despite the phone being a year older), but the C62 was unable to hold a steady signal in the hotel in which we were staying. The S55 nearly always got something, but prior planning was needed with the C62 to send a message or make a telephone call. There was more bad news after the two months my sister had used the C62. Although perfectly reliable, the silver on the keys had already started to wear off, and thus when I came to sell the phone on Ebay, I achieved less than half of what I had paid for it. This did not make much difference to the operation of the phone itself, but was irritating nevertheless. The last principal problem with the C62 was the lack of Java.
The appalling C60, which I reviewed last year, and was supposed to be in a similar price category to the C62 (why Siemens have made so many models which appear to be competing against each other in the same price band is beyond me), had Java. Although the screen was ostensibly the same as the C62s, a CSTN unit supporting 4096 colours, the resolution was a lot poorer at 101x80 pixels, as opposed to the 128x128 pixel unit fitted to the OEM phone. Sony Ericssons expertise at making excellent displays (the Ericsson T68 was the first phone to support 256 colours) certainly appears to have paid off here. Unfortunately, the phone which could make best use of the display, the C62, never made it to the market with Java. Why this could be is inexplicable. Surely, a more expensive phone with better display would mean better games? Apparently not, according to Siemens. Thus, the C62 comes with just two standard games, Achevo and Falling, neither of which I understood and failed to amuse me for more than five minutes at a time. To say that I am disappointed with the C62 after having been told how much better than the C60 it was, and then failing to see the advantages, is an understatement. However, there are certain things which were positive about this Japanese Swede in disguise.
The aforementioned screen is clear and bright and nothing appears pixelated. What a shame that there is no built in camera for this particular model, as I believe that the pictures would have actually come out half decent had this been the case. The polyphonic ringtones, using a different speaker from the 55/60- series Siemens models, sound excellent, and if you do have a data cable, it is very easy to use the software to put whatever MIDI files you like on the phone. The calendar function is rather good, and the phone also contains a number of decent extras, like a voice-memo function, currency converter and calculator. The external design also comes in for some comment.
The C62 is one of the smallest standard phones ever to have worn the Siemens logo, and the white model is actually rather attractive. It also seems rather light, which is probably just as appropriate for explaining its relatively spartan feature-set. Unless the silver has worn off the navigational buttons, that is. The back never felt loose, creaky or in danger of snapping, despite the fact that the SIM card has no holder at all, and is entirely secured by the pressure of the battery. The overall design seems quite strong, and striking at the same time, and is a million miles away from the nasty colours and materials of the C60. The orange backlight looks in keeping with the rest of the design, although for some strange reason the navigational keys do not appear to be lit at night.
Going through the menus is just the same as any other 55/60- series Siemens phone, apart from the Ericsson-style address book, and is comfortably fast. Text messaging is not a problem, although if your contacts are not yet saved on the phone, it may take a while to find numbers after completing a message. The phone uses a standard Siemens layout for sending a message, rather than the Sony Ericsson one, which may or may not be useful depending on what one has had before. There are some relatively good backgrounds too, unlike the awful selection for the C60.
In short, then, Siemens decision to go for an OEM phone in the C62 appears to be misconceived. Whilst it certainly wins points for being small and light with a decent display, there are basic flaws in the handset, such as poor battery life and average reception, which would question the wisdom of paying the extra money for this over even something like the C60. The recently announced merger between Siemens and BenQ will hopefully decrease the need for something of this nature to happen again.