Feb 22, 2007  •  In Gadgets, Geek, Reviews

Sony Ericsson M600i Review

When I first watched Casino Royale, I instantly became transfixed by the smartphone used by Vesper Lynd in the movie. Since I had been in the market for a new phone, I decided to bite the bullet and purchase an unlocked version from eBay.

Being a gadget/techie geek, I had done some pretty extensive research before making the decision to purchase the phone. The phone’s OS, UIQ3 running on top of Symbian 9.1, is still fairly new (well, not that new…but very new compared to say, the Blackberry OS) and as a result, buggy. It seems that SE wanted to jump on the smartphone bandwagon a bit prematurely when this phone was released last June. There were some major complaints when the phone first came out with reports of automatic restarts, lagging, faulty applications, etc. However, one good thing about SE is that they provide free firmware upgrades via their website. So by the time I was contemplating getting the phone, the latest firmware was pretty stable.

I must admit that when I first tore open the packaging, I was a bit disappointed with the casing – I had expected a glossy white finish from the pictures I’d seen. However, after some usage, I now applaud SE for choosing the matte, pearly white finish; this baby is pretty damn resistant to scratches (and you know how much of a klutz I am).

I had been considering two other phones: the Motorola Q and the Blackberry Pearl. What made me decide on the M600i? Well, one major pro was the touchscreen with handwriting recognition. Neither of the other two have it. I had also read that the Motorola Q was pretty buggy, and besides, I don’t like Motorola products much after having owned the over-hyped Razr. And while the Blackberry Pearl has the Blackberry name behind it, but I had read that since it runs on a modified OS, it isn’t as reliable.

Believe me – I was tempted when I read that a white version of the Pearl was due to come out “very soon.” However, I also knew that I would be doing a lot of web browsing on my new phone and the Pearl’s screen was the smallest of the lot. And I was right – I’m already wishing my M600’s screen was larger, when it’s only a little larger than the Pearl.

A few more pro’s:

  • I’m starting to see more and more Motorola Q’s and Blackberry Pearls these days. I feel special that I have yet to meet anyone else who has the M600i.
  • The M600i comes installed with ActiveSync, which uses the Microsoft Exchange Server network to sync data using direct push. So all my work emails, appointments, and contacts are synced simultaneously without having to install anything else or pay additional fees (unlike Blackberry).
  • It’s just so pretty! The physical phone itself and the UI are just my style.
  • There are just so many ways to navigate and use the phone – I love the integration of the keypad, the touchscreen, and the jog dial.
  • While the M600i’s QWERTY keypad looks like the Pearl with two letters to a button, they’re actually different. The M600i’s keys are curved so that you get a different letter depending on whether you press the left or right side. With the Pearl, you have to press the button twice to get the second letter.
  • I like how there is a landscape/portrait orientation view option.

Some con’s:

  • Like I said, the screen could be larger. But I guess they couldn’t make the phone too large or else it wouldn’t be fashionably slim.
  • While the keypad is a pro now, it was a con earlier because it takes a lot of practice to get used to it.
  • No camera. This is a big con for many people and the main reason they decide not to get the phone. Well I carry around a camera most of the time so it’s ok.
  • No Edge. Again, this is a big con for a lot of people but I don’t really care.
  • Although the latest firmware is the most stable (and I don’t have any problems 95% of the time), I still notice little bugs here and there. Hopefully they’ll be rectified with the next update.

I almost forgot – I immediately purchased a screen protector for my new phone, and it’s one of the best out there. Anyone who has an LCD worth protecting should get theirs at Martin Fields – everyone’s amazed when I tell them I have a screen protector on my phone.

One last thing: since I first became interested in the phone after watching Casino Royale, I wanted to make the experience complete by using Vesper’s distinct “ping” as an alert tone. Upon doing some research, I discovered that
many people had been looking for the tone – several even called SE! They eventually found out that the tone was especially made for the movie and was not available to the public. But did that stop determined geeks? Never! One person get a recording of the tone from the movie, converted it to mp3 format, and uploaded it. And then another person put it through various filters to clean the sound. And now I am the proud owner of the famous “ping.” :-)

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