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Review Siemens A55
Siemens releases budgetary models traditionally based on the platform of more expensive devices, thus, the economy achieves economy on development of new models. Due to such approach the users receive the verified devices for reasonable money. Let's remember a budgetary model - A50, its prototype became Siemens M50. In case with Siemens A55 for the basis is taken Siemens C55. It's clear, that there is no big memory size and there is no the same functions in cheaper budgetary model, or cheap version of С55. In its turn А55 has served as a prototype for more cheaper А52, in which there is no wap-browser and some more functions, it is very simple device.
The device has classical design, the contours of the case are characteristic for phones from Siemens. The sizes of the phone are 101х44х21 mm, and its weight is 84 grammes, such parameters are characteristic for budgetary models, but earlier they had bigger sizes. By the way, the same А50 is bigger by dimensions, rather than А55. The phone lays well in the hand, it can be carried where you want it.
This model has changeable face and back panels "ClipIt", you can easily change your phone using them. Sometime the phone squeaks in hands due to the panels, especially if to make an excessive effort. The phone is delivered knocked-down in box, with removed panels and with disconnected keyboard. Due to this it was possible to find a problem place for this model. The keyboard is made of thin plastic, it is easily used up and is subject to deformation by bend. Certainly, the manufacturer has examined the ageing of plastic and has rated how long it could be used. Pay attention to the photo, the bends are visible around the most used keys, the plastic is used up fast enough (2 weeks of using the device). It's worth waiting that the keyboard can fall out at active use of the phone (to tear) in one or one and a half year. But there won't be any problems with the device, as the separation of the keys from the common substrate won't play a role if you don't strip the device.
The keyboard is convenient by the arrangement and by size but keys squeaks when you pressing them, this fact is more unpleasant. When you press keys you can hear crunch, the back cover is bend a bit. If you pass your finger over the keys top-down, you will hear as they move in their jacks. Exactly the sound of pressing keys is most questionable.
The backlight of the keyboard is amber, as well as the backlight of the screen. The labels on keys are put in two lines (Russian version). The letters are visible, if the backlight is switched off, when it switches on all letters merges due to its irregularity. It's difficult to descry the labels in conditions of artificial light or on the sun.
The screen has the resolution of 101х64 pixels, it allows displaying up to 4 lines, 16 symbols in each. The screen fonts are pleasant, the have the optimum size, you don't have to strain the sight when reading. The amber backlight fades gradually, it’s pleasant effect.
The device has lithium - ionic battery with capacity of 700 mAh. According to the manufacturer it is capable to provide up to 250 hours in standby mode and up to 6 hours in talk mode. The real values are a bit different, in conditions of MTS network (Moscow) the device has worked about 3 days at 1 hour of talking and at 40 minutes of using other functions. 30 minutes from 40 has fallen to games. If to use the phone only for calling and if to call not so frequently (only 20-30 minutes) the device is capable to work 5-6 days, in some cases it can work about one week. The developers have really managed to lower the power consumption of the device, thanks for it. The time of the full battery's charge is about 2 hours.
If screen saver is not enabled in standby mode you see the name of the network, time and date, signal level and also charge level. Any person who has ever used phones from Siemens will easily understand the organization of the menu in this model, and it is nothing difficult for other people. To enter the main menu you have to press right soft key. The main menu is organized as list, but it can be changed to the style when the screen will be occupied with only one icon, it is less convenient. All submenus are organized as lists; shortcut numbers are available. As against С55, you can only assign quick dial to numerical keys in standby mode, the jump to selected items of the menu is impossible.
The phone supports T9, including Russian. When you typing text you can switch fast between the languages, it's undoubtedly convenient. Let's pass to the examination of other functions of this device.
Phonebook. You can store up to 50 entries in the memory of the device. It is not enough, taking into account that it is possible to save only one number for each name . You can assign animation or graphic image to each number.
But saves the situation the fact, that numbers, which are saved in the memory of SIM-card, are displayed in the uniform list with numbers from the memory of phone. The fast search by the first letter is available in this list, it works as in Russian and in all other languages. It is necessary to remember, that if the entries in the phonebook are only in English, but the input language is Russian, you should scroll through all Russian letters. It is easier to adjust English as input language at once, then you will instantly jump on the necessary record.
There are subscribers groups in А55, they are 4: Family, Friends, VIP, Without group). It's possible to change the name for each group. Also you can adjust ring tone and its volume separately for each group. The entries on SIM-card can be referred to groups, it is a big plus. If to remember that phone has built-in filtration of incoming calls by groups, the necessity of their filling becomes clear.
There's 2 new features for groups in the phone: you can send group SMS-message and you can make group call. In the latter case, before calling you can choose separate subscribers (this function should be supported by the operator).
Messages. You can save up to up to 25 messages in the memory of the device. There are 9 template messages in the phone, they are stored separately. The messages with the length up to 760 symbols are supported, EMS is also supported. For EMS-messages are installed standard pictures, they are familiar by the previous models.
Call list. Traditionally are saved 10 accepted, 10 dialed, 10 missed calls. Time and date are displayed for each call. Here you can find out the time of the last call, of all dialed call and of all accepted calls. There general time is not displayed..
Alarm. The alarm can be adjusted for any day of week.
Surf&Fun. Here you can find wap-browser, but the phone doesn't support GPRS, so the using of the wap-browser is rather expensive.
In the pictures menu you can choose small animation pictures or rather pleasant static images. There are lots of them in this menu, you can find plots for all tastes, all the pictures can be removed, however, as well as the melodies (which are not marked by the badge sign), and then the memory size becomes grater. In total, the memory, which is available for the user makes 120Kb.
The phone has 4 games: Stack Attack (the loader, which allocates the boxes, falling from above), Balloon Shooter (shooting the flying balls), Move the Box (logic game), Wacko (speed game, you should slam the mouse looking out from the aperture).
In the same menu you can find calculator and currency converter.
Profiles. There are few user profiles in the device, you can adjust some parameters for each, including ringtone and vibration alert settings.
Settings. Nothing special. Here you can adjust the contrast of the screen, you can choose a picture for screen saver, plus two animated screen savers and two skins (flower or bird).
At cost about 100$ the device is typically low-end phone, but it's a bit expensive, than А50. The difference between Siemens C55 and A55 makes about 15-20 dollars, it is rather critical for this segment. The device can be recommended to purchase when its cost make about 85-90 dollars, in such case it will be justified decision.
The phone has 16-tone polyphonic ringtones, they sounds pleasantly, but they are not always audible in all conditions. The vibration alert is average by force. The presence of the handsfree function is useless, as the volume of the speaker is not enough. It is especially strange, because the speaker of С55 is better audible, but the platform is the same.
This phone is a good choice as budgetary, the platform is enough stable, it isn't worth waiting for serious problems. We managed to find only one software bug. You can't switch on the phone and to call after its registration in the network at once. The device will dial the number, but it won't connect. This is the unique and not the biggest minus of the device, it's possible to reconcile with it. It is just a small roughness, no more than that.
Published 09 July 2003
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