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Review Siemens CF62
Siemens is not very strong in the clamshell phone segment, its first product, clamshell CL50 was accepted more than just cold by the consumers. The next product – CL55 did not even reach the market, this ODM-model was silently cancelled in the first quarter of year 2004. That’s why it was pretty useless to expect warm feedback from the consumers for the CF62 phone, it undeservedly lost attention by consumers who considered this phone another asian model. The irony is that this time Siemens had developed the model by itself and did it with their best traditions. After a long break Siemens introduced successful model, which has slipped out of consumer’s sight due to previous failures. I’d like to make a note here, that by saying successful model you should not expect maximal functionality, you will not find it here, but try looking for match of functions and segment – and you will find it, it is new generation of what Siemens M55 was for its time, by the way CF62 is the clone of this model.
The design is not original, here you can see how it was influenced by Sony Ericsson, same strap holder in the upper part of case, just like in Z200. This strap is not included in the package, but in the accessory shop you will be able to find the matching accessory by size and width. In Moscow such accessory from popular brand may exceed the phone’s price, and I shall not judge if this buy will be approved or no. There are no original straps, but in case you have enough time you can do it yourself, you know what they say – it is all in your hands. I would not recommend using standard, thick straps, since the phone will not be hanging steadily, and this does not look appealing, turns out sort of imbalance.
The phone is shipped in two color solutions – Cool Gray, Cool Cashmere. In most cases you will see only silver color.
The external display is located on the front panel, the backlight’s color is blue. The resolution is 98x64 pixels, up to one (!) text line can be displayed on it, plus additional lines for service needs. The activation of external screen occurs only when there is need for that, and since there are no keys outside – it is sort of inconvenience, I believe that this is the biggest disadvantage of this model, about the external screen.
The phone’s size is comfortable (82x45x22 mm), the weight is standard for the phones of this segment. It is not very easy to open the phone with one hand, there are no places in order to make this process easier. Both sides are closely stuck to each other.
Inside everything is not so clear, the designers used the same solution as in Siemens C62. The keypad rows are separated by nickel plastic lines, they are slightly above the case. It turns out that when you press buttons, you will accidentally touch these lines as well. Although this does not happen very often, but it does happen and this actually kind of ruins the impression from the keyboard. This is kind of sad especially since buttons in CF62 have soft move, they react to pressings pretty good. The backlight is orange, it is rather pale and is clearly seen only in complete darkness. In conditions of average lighting the symbols on the buttons flow together and are not always readable.
The navigational key is four-positional, the approval is up to soft-key. The functional keys are convenient, there are no complaints about it.
The internal display has resolution of 130x130 pixels (28x28 mm), this allows displaying up to 7 text lines and up to one line for service needs. The display can show up to 65000 colors (TFT), this is the best display from those that are installed in modern day Siemens phones. In x65 series the screen is bigger, but the quality of displaying images, saturation, softness of transfers is worse. If we compare this display with other models on the market we will have to admit that in its class it is far from being classified as outsider, it is pretty much comparable with displays produced by other manufacturers, the screen is better than ones installed in Motorola C650, Motorola v180. The last model is direct competitor of this phone.
The screen turns pale on the sun but due to bigger physical size it is more critical than bigger screens, the information is not so clearly visible. You can change the contrast settings in order the picture to look better on the sun. The font-change function is traditionally present, you can make very big, this will make the sun not so affective. This possibility is interesting and useful for people with bad eye sight. The brightness setting might be interesting for indoors, it allows wasting battery’s energy more economically.
When the phone is opened you will see bright plastic on the phone's edges, it is used on both phone's sides. The reason for this plastic's usage becomes known pretty fast, the phone is provided with Dynamic Light function alike Siemens M55 , this possibility is used in new youth phones of x65 series. The backlight in CF62 works only on the lower part of the case, on its edging. The backlight's color is orange, it cannot be changed. The dynamic light can work during incoming call, or other events. The specter of settings is pretty wide, you can use various ways of light's acting. You can also disable this function completely in case if it does not suit you for some reason.
For the first time dynamic lighting was used in Motorola's phones, this technology was called Haptics. At the moment the advantage of such realization is that it supports maximal amount of colors and color transfers. The unique possibility is called Rhythm and Light, it allows activating backlight at the disco, sort of light-o-music. But in same segment phones as Siemens CF62 this function is presented really badly, only in games. The most interesting realization of Haptics was used in such phones as Motorola v600, v80, e398.
The realization of border in Siemens CF62 reminds Philips 330 pretty much, the phone's are targeted on the same people, each for its own time. In both cases the whitish plastic ruins the impression, provides the phone with cheap look.
On the whole we can see successful adaptation, combination of existing technologies, their logical development. Talking about logical development I mean presence of built-in editor of light’s acting, you can create your own themes and later on bind them to special occurrences. At the moment this function is unique, and you can have fun with it.
On the bottom side standard interface connector is placed, it is fully alike the one in x55 series phones. As a result all standard accessories for x55 series can be used in this phone as well, including the data cable and software.
The cover on the back side hides the battery under itself. It is timbered by one latch and has slight backlash. If you place foam-rubber roller or sticker made of small piece of soft rubber. Well, actually the backlash is minimal, that’s why additional measures are used only for those who are not removing the cover or changing their SIM-card often, and hates small movements of the case.
The battery in this model is Li-Ion, its capacity is 600mAh. According to the manufacturer it can work up to 220 hours and survive for 6 hours when you are talking. In reality the results are far from the claimed. We were testing this baby in Moscow, our operator was MTS. The phone worked not more than 3 days with 35 minutes of talks. It took slightly more than 1.5 hours for the battery to charge up again.
The SIM-card holder in this model is standard, I cannot say anything special about it.
The phone is almost full copy of Siemens M55 by its possibilities and features, that’s why a lot of menu items will be copied from the corresponding review. The advantages of the new model are reworked interface of the main menu. The icons became more youth. The second moment is about the preinstalled pictures, they are really nice, and competitive with the best samples from other manufacturers.
The pictures are ideal for the targeted consumers, there are a lot of them, and this drops off the need to download new images during first time.
The main menu is presented with the list of 9 icons, you can use fast number navigation. You have the ability to bind the most used functions to keypad. The menu’s localization and input are fully localized, it is similar to other phones of x55 series.
Phonebook. This handset has a dynamical memory. In the phonebook not more than 500 entries can be stored. You can add such fields as name, first name, phone, mobile, two faxes, two e-mail addresses, URL, company, its address (city, street, post code, country). Besides you can input a birthday and activate a reminder to know about the day in time. It’s also possible to assign a graphic file, for example a photo or just a picture to each entry.
In each name entry it is possible to create the voice labels for individual phone numbers, all them can be up to 20.
All names can be allocated on 9 groups, it is possible to appoint ring tones for individuals groups.
Messages. Up to 100 messages can be stored in the phone memory, but in fact their quantity depends on free memory space, don’t forget it. In the total list all phone numbers (from both phone memory and SIM-card memory) are displayed on the screen. Phone numbers from SIM-card are marked by a special sign. You can create SMS templates and special folders in this menu. This model supports MMS; all settings are rather simple, using tips of your operator, you’ll need 3-4 minutes to set everything. It’s obvious that it’s better to use GPRS to receive and send MMS messages, it’s much cheaper.
I wasn’t delighted with an interface while creating messages. You can’t move quickly between pages, and you should call a context menu to know, how many pages you have in your message. A message size reminder, which is displayed before sending a message, is very pleasant. You need also to input a time period (one hour - as long as you want), during which the message will be delivered. If you pay for the messages size (depends on operator) it’s a rather important function. You can receive MMS manually or automatically. Besides, you can decide would you like to receive message in roaming. It’s interesting that sometimes, when you are in automatic mode, the phone gives a notice that this way can be expensive.
Calls lists. Last 10 dialed, 10 received and 10 missed calls are stored in the phone memory. Time and date of each call can be viewed here too.
Extras. Such applications as calculator, currency converter, stop-watch (with intermediate results), countdown timer, alarm-clock (including recurrent alarm-clock) are located in this menu. Here you also get access to voice commands (up to 10 voice tags).
Organiser. It has traditional structure, there is a monthly view, weekly view (with time scale) and daily view (with time-table). Special menu items allow looking through all special events, for example, meetings, notes and reminders. Totally, up to 500 events can be stored in the organizer memory.
Alarm clock. This item can be found in the main item, and setup only once, you cannot set reoccurrences by chosen week days, this is definite disadvantage comparing to previous models from Siemens where you had the ability to set this up.
Settings. There are all functions, which are connected with phone capabilities. We are not going to describe all of them in details, we'll only make some comments. For example, it ‘s better to switch off GPRS when you don’t use this feature, it will increase the battery life of the phone. Operating time is halved while using this function.
You have the ability to select color schemes. Traditionally you can setup the way how the phone will behave himself in various conditions (vibrating alert, ring tones etc.), this means choosing the corresponding profile.
Own folders. Here all ring tones, images and other files downloaded to the phone are stored. Nothing special here, the amount of memory in the phone is about 1.56mb slightly more than 500kb are occupied right from the start.
Surf & Fun. Let's start from the wap-browser. It is not different from the one we had seen in x55 and x60 series from Siemens. You can consider it almost fully compatible with wap v2.0, xHTML support is present as well. There's nothing special can be said about the browser, everything works as it should.
Games. In youth phone we could expect big amount of games, but there are almost none of them in this model. The games that are preinstalled are – Mobiloko, Wappo. Both games are Demo Versions, you will have to buy the full versions separately. This wicked position of manufacturer is ridiculous, and I cannot find explanation for that.
While playing I had faced the fact that the phone works pretty slow, the first game loads about a minute, the second one slightly less. Considering this – you can safely forget about the presence of games in this phone.
Java. I have no ideas why but the manufacturer decided to use Java support (MIDP 1.0). The strange thing is that the phone is not suited for working with most applications, the processor is too weak. According to JBenchmark 1.0 the maximal result is 224 points, this is the third position from the end in results list. The worse results are older models from Motorola (OMD models). In order to compare, Siemens M55 which was not a fast model at all in terms of working with Java, gained 651 point in this test, this is like 3 times more than CF62 has.
Detailed results by parameters are as follows:
The network reception quality for Siemens is typical, no problems were encountered, it pretty much fits the thing that was promised and awaited. The sound in speaker during conversation is clear, there are no synthesized effects from the speaker, or they are just not noticeable. The volume of 16-tone polyphonic ring tones is not very loud, but it is enough in most cases, anyhow you can be sure that vibrating alert will not let you down since it is very strong in this phone. You can use any WAV or Midi file for ring tone, and the ability to setup recorded sound from the Dictaphone (up to 30 seconds) is present as well.
Siemens CF62 is a typical model for youth, which is pretty nice for its segment. The phone reminds me of M55 for its time, the fate of these models will most likely be the same, especially in terms of pricing. The CF62’s advantage is traditional quality of the phone – Siemens style, the presence of dynamic light, rather big amount of memory and standard set of functions (expanded phone book, good organizer), there is no better display in this segment. The disadvantages are lack of games, bad realization of Java and impossibility to download new applications and their comfortable use. We shall not talk much about the design, this is subjective parameter, but I’d like to make a note that the plastic used for edging could have been better. One simple detail makes the phone look like a cheap toy, this is certainly sad.
The lack of abilities for synchronizing events in the phone is typical for this segment, well, the most important thing is that this model lacks IrDA. When you buy the cable you can easily use this phone as GPRS modem (class 10).
At the moment the phone’s price is 175-180 dollars, during the upcoming month it can decrease to 165-170 dollars (current wholesale price is 151 dollar). By September you can expect activation of this model’s sales, the retail price can be about 125-130 dollars and this does look appealing. At the moment this is the most competitive model from Siemens, and it was released on the market before the competitors made it.
The direct competitors for this model is most likely Motorola v180, the main specifications are similar. Motorola v180 has worse screen comparing to Siemens CF62 (it is physically better, can display up to 65k colors, but it is STN), presence of external antenna. The rest is all up to Motorola's favor, it offers support of Java MIDP 2.0 in full scale, memory size is 2.5 mb, 24-tone polyphonic ring tones, ability to playback mp3 files as ring tone. In my opinion all these advantages make the two models even, they are extremely similar. But Siemens CF62 has certain advantage – two extra months which is pretty much. The price of both models is equal, there are no real differences.
The short resume will be as follows – if you love clamshell phones and you were missing one from Siemens – take a look at this model. You will like it especially if you got used to the menu's organization by Siemens, and the phone book. In case if the functionality is too poor for you, but you desperate about getting clamshell phone from Siemens – you will have to wait for autumn, when the phone in this form-factor will be released. In any case you should take a look at Siemens CF62 in order to have your own opinion about it.
The SAR factor for this model is 1.7 Watt/kg.
P.S. Curious fact that in case with Siemens and Motorola we can see pure symmetry in products. Motorola v180 and Siemens CF62 are direct competitors, same thing can be said about Siemens C65 and Motorola C650 . In second case Motorola gained advantage by releasing C650 two months earlier. The company concluded that the phone's sales in classic form-factor will be higher than the clamshell one would have. In nearest future we will see who was right and who was wrong in his predictions. We just have to wait and see how the events will develop with great interest, and tell you about the result later.
Published 2 June 2004
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