Orange SPV C600 smart phone
It's all in the screen
Review Orange was the first mobile phone network in the UK to jump on the Windows Mobile platform when it shipped the original SPV toward the end of 2002. The SPV C600 was launched late last year, a mere three years after the original SPV and the changes are amazing...
The first two SPV models - the SPV and the SPV E100 - never gained a huge following thanks to their large size and sluggish use. It was the SPV C500 that really opened up Windows Mobile as a viable smart-phone platform. Since then, phone development has moved on at a rapid pace, and Orange has managed to squeeze in a music version - the C550 - between the C500 and the C600.
Although physically the three latest SPV models haven't differed very much in terms of size there have been a fair few changes between the models. The most prominent difference isn't a hardware feature: it's the OS. Now we get Windows Mobile 5.0 instead of Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. Even here you could be mistaken for thinking not much has changed. Orange's customisation of the menu system uses pretty much the same interface as most new Orange-branded phones.
However, press the menu button and you realise that the operating system has undergone some major changes. Rather than having a list of applications there are now nine icons per menu page. The More button under the left soft key lets you move to the next page of applications. Each of the icons is associated with the numerical keys on the keypad, so by pressing Start then 4, you'd get in to the camera application, for example. The Start button has lost its Windows heritage, as no Start menu pops up, as was the case with previous Windows Mobile devices.
The screen resolution has been increased to 320 x 240 pixels and this is the most important hardware change to the C600. Not only is it much brighter, but the mesh effect that the C500 suffered from is completely gone. The only slight downside is that the screen can only display 16-bit colour - ie. 65,536 colours - not as good as the best handsets on the market which can do 24-bit. Still, the 2.2in screen- that's 0.1in bigger than the C500's display - is very easy to read and the higher resolution makes it a lot more usable, especially if you access web or WAP pages.
The SPV series (L-R): SPV C600, SPV C500 and the original SPV