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:
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.
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.
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.
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.