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Orange SPV M600 PDA phone

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Review I’m going to go out on a limb here: the SPV M600 from Orange is the best Windows Mobile smart phone I have ever used. It’s not perfect - that would be an overstatement - but if you’re after a smart phone with PDA functionality, the SPV M600 is the one to get. It’s way ahead of Orange's SPV M500 when it comes to functionality, and the upgrade to Windows Mobile 5 has made a huge improvement too...

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The combination of the new operating system and the new control design makes the SPV M600 much easier to navigate without a stylus or using the touch screen than previous devices. This is mainly due to the addition of four new buttons: two soft keys, a Start menu button and an OK button. Hardly rocket science, but it has taken some time to finally get a decent navigation system, which has so far been one of the biggest flaws with the Windows Mobile handsets.

In standby mode, the two soft keys give you access to the calendar and your contacts, although this can be reconfigured in the settings. But it’s the OK button that has really made it easier to navigate with one hand, finally allowing you to close windows and applications once you’ve finished with them. Sure, you can use the end call button to take you back to the Today view, but this isn’t always where you want to go back to. The navigation pad isn’t ideal - I prefer a side-mounted scroll-wheel or jog-dial to a front-fitted five-way navigation control.

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On the left-hand side are three controls: the top one starts the camera application, the middle is the volume rocker - nudge it up or down to adjust the sound level accordingly - and finally there’s a new button that launches the Comm Manager if pressed briefly or the voice recorder if held in for about three seconds. The Comm Manager allows you to set the phone to flight mode, enable the Wi-Fi radio, enable silent mode, turn Bluetooth on and off, and enable the sync applications. For those with a push email account – which Orange will offer on the SPV M600 – this is where you can switch it off if you don’t want to download all your email, when you’re abroad, say.

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