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Orange SPV M5000 Pocket PC Phone
Company: ORANGE
Website: http://www.orange.co.uk
Estimated Street Price: 299 On A 12 Month Contract
Review By: Byron Hinson

Introduction

Orange have been at the forefront of Microsoft Smartphones and Pocket PC phones over the last couple of years, each new phone seems to get better and better than the last one. This time out we have the Orange SPV M5000 Pocket PC phone. I am reviewing this on an Orange 3G contract and due to this I have also had the chance to test out some of the 3G capability of the phone. The M5000 is certainly stylish, but does it have both the brains and looks? Read on...

battery life:
  • talk time 5.0 hours
  • standby 10.0 days
weight: 285g

features:
  • 3G
  • Bluetooth technology
  • GPRS
  • Mega Pixel Camera
  • Photo Messaging
  • tri band technology
  • Video Calling
  • Video Messaging
  • WiFi
  • Windows compatible

I know we have talked about other Pocket PC based phones in the past, but this one differs from the rest in terms of the flip style it has come with, this helps to lengthen battery time and also protects the screen really well. The phone comes with the usual bits and pieces such as 1.3 mega pixel camera, Bluetooth, 3G, GPRS and more, but also comes WiFi enabled thanks to it being a Pocket PC device in reality. It also ships with ActiveSync 4.0 and Outlook 2003 software for outlook syncing.

The Package & Review

The M5000 comes in at 128 x 81 x 25mm and weighs a heavy 285 g. This is heavier than various other Pocket PC devices and phones, yet despite this it does manage to fit/slide quite well into your pocket. As I mentioned earlier, the device comes in a clamshell style design, the screen opens up to provide either keyboard and screen support, or by swiveling the device 180 degrees, it closes up and allows a tablet style touch screen operation. The great thing here is that you can still use it as a mobile phone in any form, even when it is closed thanks to the handy buttons on the side of the device.

There are buttons all over the place on the SPV M5000 - these allow quick fire access to the varying functions of the device. Opening the device in the clamshell mode is easy, and if you are light fingered you won't have any worries about accidentally pressing the buttons on the side of the unit. The unit contains various buttons such as camera, Dictaphone, brightness and volume controls on the side of the M5000, at the top you have the power button and the SD memory area. At the back of the device you will find the very nice stylus, USB port, Reset button and the mic socket, slightly above those are the hang up and receive buttons for accepting and declining calls when the device is closed. Right at the front of the M5000 you also have dual stereo speakers, not that these are particularly good as usual with Pocket PC devices.

As with any 3G phone, the M5000 comes with a camera on the back of the device and on the front screen (video cam). The 1.3 Megapixel camera on the back of the M5000 takes a very good picture in quite good quality too, so transferring those over to your PC isn't a bad thing. The LED flash is basically useless though and seems more of a selling point that doesn't work.

Now lets get onto the inside of the M5000, when you first open up the device and turn it on, you will most likely be stunned by just how good looking the 3.6-inch transreflective TFT screen is, it runs in a VGA resolution and really does look the business. Everything is so clear and sharp that the device is perfect for reading text messages, writing on and looking at pictures on. The thumb keyboard is also excellent, the keys are large and are also beveled for better use. One real plus point here is that the keyboard has been designed to navigate the Orange interface too, so you don't have to use the stylus as much as you used to. On the keyboard you also get the usual short cuts on the bottom to the start menu, internet, mail and more, along the top are answer and hang up buttons along with contact and video call short cuts too. The only negative we could find here is that there is no Ctrl key on the device. Finally for the keyboard, we have an orange backlit screen, the great thing here is that it has a light sensor to detect when it needs to be used so there is less battery wastage.

Lets more onto video calls. On the bottom right hand side of the screen we have the "Video Cam" this is a 0.3 Megapixel camera that is perfect for 3G video calls. We have run a few tests to other people on 3G phones and accounts and have only had a few bad receptions, the picture works well and you can clearly see who you are talking to (not that its a good thing every time). The M5000 is one of the first Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone devices that supports 3G, and it supports it in the shape of WCDMA 2100 MHz. Credit here must go to orange for having good 3G reception right now, other companies like Vodaphone in my region are dire, reception quality is also excellent for plain calls and text messaging here in Cambridge too from Orange, we did however have some calls in which the volume seemed quite low, although we're unsure if this was a reception problem or a problem with the M5000. Don't let the fact that the video cameras megapixel rate isn't high, people just to conclusions that the higher the pixel value the better the camera, that isn't ever the case.

3G isn't the only connectivity that the M5000 can do though, it supports Tri-Band GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz and GPRS Class 10, Bluetooth and also Wi-Fi 802.11b which allows you to connect to mail servers and the internet wirelessly. The device also has infrared and USB 2.0 support which means you can finally charge up a device just via the USB port, which is really great considering you will have your M5000 hooked up to you PC quite a lot.

Inside the SPV M5000 we have an Intel 520 MHz processor, this runs nearly every application perfectly and much faster than I expected it would be, however we have noticed some slow down navigating the device, this is something that happens with a number of Windows Mobile 5.0 devices right now so this is likely the Microsoft software rather than the device itself. Despite all of the varying connectivity options that you can have running, the battery time is very very good, I had the device up running for 3 days before it needed a full charge up, but obviously if you are running it wirelessly or over 3G you battery time will drop down considerably.

As for the Windows Mobile 5.0 software, I have a lot of plus points for it, Internet Explorer has been improved quite a bit and has a full screen mode along with progress bars, Outlook mail is a lot faster than it has been previously, Word is faster to use too. We also have Pocket MSN that finally works great, it allows you to connect to Hotmail and download you Mail in Outlook style, in my view its even better than hotmail itself. It also lets you access MSN Messenger and MSN Mobile Home websites. It really is one of the best parts of the software. You also now have PowerPoint Mobile.

Now the bad part of Windows Mobile 5.0, Microsoft has done the unthinkable and removed Wi-Fi synchronization support from ActiveSync 4.0, this is required to use devices like these so you can no longer Sync your device over a wireless connection, believe me this is a major oversight, but this is Microsoft's fault and not Oranges.

Conclusion

How It Grades
Installation: 92%
Ease Of Use: 90%
Transfer Speed: 93%
Features: 91%
Drivers: 92%
Design: 92%
Video Quality: 91%
Audio Quality: 85%
Manual: 90%
Price: 92%
Overall: 91%

The Orange SPV M5000 is the perfect Pocket PC Phone device, it does nearly everything it is supposed to, the only let down being the lack of Wi-Fi syncing now in ActiveSync 4.0 and that is is maybe a bit heavy. The Orange 3G support has been excellent, as has reception for voice calls and text messages around the area in which I live in and on some traveling I have done. The device is easy to use even for newcomers to Pocket PC devices. The manual the SPV M5000 comes with, explains even the simplest of features in detail so it won't take you long before you are at ease with the applications and with the stylus. So overall the Orange SPV M5000 is perfect for the business users or tech savvy users who it is aimed at, for those who still want some of the Windows Mobile 5.0 features but a smaller device, get ready for my Orange C600 Smartphone review next week, its a fantastic too.

Feel free to comment on the review here.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 91%
Version Reviewed Orange SPV M5000 Pocket PC Phone
Release Date Out Now
In The Box?

Orange SPV M5000 Pocket PC Phone
Outlook 2003
ActiveSync 4.0
Instruction Manual
SIM Card

The Good Points Large Screen
VGA Screen
Fast to use
Clear sound
Good Camera
3G Support
The Bad Points No Wi-Fi Sync
Heavy
Reviewers PC Setup AMD Athlon 64 4000+
Sapphire Axion RS480AS9-A58S Socket 939 Motherboard
Crucial 2GB MB DDR PC2700
ATI X850 XT 256mb Graphics Card
Creative Labs X-Fi Extreme Music
180 GB Western Digital Hard Drive 7200 RPM, 8mb Cache
Sony 16x DVD-RW
Sony CD-RW (40x12x48x)
Creative Inspire 5.1 5300 Speakers
Apple 20" Widescreen Cinema Display

 

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