Tools Of The Trade: The Siemens S65 mobile phone

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The Independent Online

The most attention-grabbing feature of Siemens' S65 mobile is its its 1.3-megapixel camera, complete with four times zoom and video mode at 15 frames per second. But focusing on the camera overlooks the point that the S65 is a capable business workhorse.

The most attention-grabbing feature of Siemens' S65 mobile is its its 1.3-megapixel camera, complete with four times zoom and video mode at 15 frames per second. But focusing on the camera overlooks the point that the S65 is a capable business workhorse.

Siemens does not have the mobile market share of Nokia, in the UK at least, but those who have used its business phones are often reluctant to try anything else. Build quality is certainly part of this, and the S65 has a good weight and a decent keypad. The silver and black design might be on the austere side, but this is more than compensated for by the S65's large screen, which is clear in most lighting conditions and large enough for reading emails or using the in-built calendar.

Siemens has worked hard on the organiser and email functions for the S65, and is one of the first manufacturers to ship a handset with support for SynchML. This is a communications standard designed to make it easier for mobile devices to synchronise with company email systems, such as Microsoft Exchange.

SynchML support promises that users of a phone like the S65 will see changes to their calendars or inboxes almost instantly. This makes it easier to make or switch appointments, as well as to keep on top of emails, though would-be owners of an S65 will need to check whether their email servers support SynchML.

The phone was also easy to adapt to act as a wireless modem; in this respect, it is one of the best that has been reviewed on these pages. Setting it up to use Vodafone's GPRS network was quick and connections were reliable, even using Bluetooth. Given that this is a "2.5G" not a 3G phone, connection speeds were reasonable too.

Robust Bluetooth and GPRS support is critical at the higher end of the mobile market, where most buyers will own either a laptop or a handheld computer. Siemens, though, seems unsure whether it should position the S65 as an out-and-out smartphone, on the lines of Sony Ericsson's P900, O2's XDA or Orange's SPV handsets.

It might be missing a trick here as the S65 is a worthy rival to these, especially for anyone who is happy to trade a touch screen for a smaller phone with a longer battery life.

The lack of a touch screen is a disadvantage if you want to take notes or write memos, although there is an in-built voice recorder and it is also possible to attach a wireless keyboard using infrared or Bluetooth, and to download business applications like a word processor.

But that might be adding complexity to a phone that works well enough on its own terms. The S65 is easy to use, has a decent battery life and will stand up to business use.

THE VERDICT

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Pros: robust, good support for email and diary information.

Cons: fewer input options than some smartphones.

Price: from free to £200 depending on contract.

Available from: www.siemensmobile.co.uk

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