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Better late than never: Siemens S55


Review by Siddharth Raja on Thursday May 08, 2003.

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The Siemens S55
The Siemens S55
Siemens has fallen behind other competitors lately in terms of introducing new technologies such as colour screens, Java and MMS into their phones. Luckily, they haven't been on holiday, but working hard on the S55. The S55 can be considered to be the "come-back" phone from Siemens, as its a giant leap for them in technology terms.

The S55 is a successor to the relatively popular S45 business phone. New features include a color screen, tri-band GSM (900/1800/1900 MHZ), MMS, Bluetooth, Polyphonic ringtones, Java, email, and advanced Personal Information Management (PIM) functions.

In the Box
A special mention has to be made to Siemens because they have included a "full package" along with the phone. The box includes the phone, camera, software, 2 manuals (one for the phone, one for the camera), charger, and finally a data cable. Rather than forcing users to buy an expensive official cable, or risk their phone with an unofficial one, Siemens has taken the initiative to provide a RS232 cable. The addition of this cable greatly increases the amount of features you can use with the phone, but I will go further into this later in the review.

Physical Aspects and Display
As you can see, the Siemens S55 is partially traditional and partially futuristic in design. It is quite striking and different than anything else on the market. I asked a few people what they thought of the design and most of the replies were "pretty good". The directional pad, soft keys, volume and dictation buttons are made of a chrome type material which adds another dimension to the design. These are contrasted by the rest of the keypad which is grey in color.

Siemens has used an innovative new design for the keypad. The four rows of numbers and symbols are tiered. This system is easy to use and makes the keypad intuitive, even though the keys are placed very close to each other. The keypad and soft keys are illuminated using a white backlight, which makes it easily viewable at night. The only problem I have with the physical aspects of the phone is that the bottom row of numbers (*0#) has buttons that are too small and do not provide sufficient feedback. Sometimes I would press the button and the phone would not register a key press. This can be quite frustrating when trying to send text messages or entering other details. I had this same problem with the "Answer" and "Reject/Turn phone off" buttons.

Although the S55 is only marginally smaller than the T68i, it feels a lot smaller because its fits nicely into your hands. This is unlike the 68i which is more top-heavy. At 85g, it isn't the lightest phone on the block, but compares well with most Nokia and SonyEricsson phones.

The S55 is the first mainstream color phone released by Siemens and although it is a step in the right direction, in today's world of 4096 and 65K color screens, a 256 color screen just doesn't cut it anymore. Even though I didn't mind the 256 colors screen, 4096 colors should be the minimum nowadays. This is especially the case when viewing pictures from the bundled QuikPic Camera. The saturation and accuracy of the color is way off and, as a screen to review the camera photos, it barely passes.

 

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