Review by Michael Oryl on Monday December 29, 2003.
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Siemens MC60The MC60 is the new entry-level cameraphone from Siemens. It shares many traits with the SL55 and other recent Siemens handsets, but has a scaled-back feature set more appropriate for an inexpensive phone.
Long gone are the days where a 256 color display is acceptable. Most new handsets shipping today have some sort of 65k color display. Siemens has often been a bit behind in this color-depth race, and as such we see the MC60 shipping with a 4k color display. Unfortunately the 4k color display on the MC60 is quite poor when compared to those from Nokia and others. Even when compared to the SL55. It appears to be caused by a poor choice of backlighting, which causes the display to have a dirty look to it. Whites just are never white. While it is quite easy to read, which is important, it looks no better than an early Sony Ericsson T68 256 color display - and it should look quite a bit better.
But unlike both the Sl55 and the T68, the MC60 comes with a built-in CIF camera. This means it can take photos with a maximum resolution of 352x288. Additionally, it supports other sizes such as 176x144, 320x240, and 160x120. The auto white balance setting for the camera does an admirable job of adjusting to different lighting sources. In fact, it did a better job than the manual Daylight/Indoor settings in my tests. The overall quality of the image, though, was still somewhat lacking. Focus was poor, contrast was a bit low. Acceptable for the random snapshot, I suppose, but not something you would want to MMS over to a friend who uses a phone with a big and bright display. You can see some example photos taken by the MC60 at the end of the story.
As I mentioned, the photos you take with the MC60 can be sent to others using MMS. In fact, this is the primary way to get photos off of the phone, since it has no infrared port. If you have a compatible Siemens serial cable, you can use that instead. There is a reasonable amount of storage available, bearing in mind that the camera is fairly low resolution. There appears to be just under 2MB total storage on the device, with about 650K available to the user by default. It is worth noting that most everything that comes pre-installed on the MC60 can be deleted by the user, freeing up more storage.
The MC60 has a 16 voice polyphonic system in it, which can create reasonably attractive music. Like earlier polyphonic Siemens phones, you can record your own ringtones directly onto the handset and then use them for alarms, call rigners, or whatever you like.
Not as light as it thinks
While the MC60 is a reasonably small and light phone, it is not quite so small and light as Siemens claims. Siemens claims a weight of 86g for the MC60. Our scales report something quite a bit heavier, though: 95g. 9g is not a lot of weight, of course, but in this case it does represent a full 10% increase over the claimed weight. Most handsets that we review are usually within a single gram of the claimed weight, or in some cases actually lighter. But even at 95g, the MC60 is still light enough.
In terms of size, the MC60 is a bit larger than a T68i or 6610. Part of that bulk comes from the replaceable cover system, which does not fit the phone body particularly tightly. In fact, the buttons on the keypad tend to rattle, and the cover never quite seemed to fully close. The buttons were a bit difficult to press at times, and the design of the keypad, while perhaps good for games, is very poor for normal phone use.
There are no buttons on the sides of the phone at all. No dedicated camera or volume controls, for example. The 5 keypad button has been preprogrammed for use as the camera button, which is acceptable. The buttons are all well backlit, and while the MC60 is missing a true 4-way directional controller, the up/down scroll button has a nice design and feel. Although the scroll controller does look like a 4-way deal, the left and right directions are actually the two main softkeys and can not be used for normal left/right movement.