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Review Siemens ST60
In order to make my review more constructive, and since it is my first review, I would like to make some things clear first. First of all, I am not a “flamer”, since I do have neither diligence, nor grammatical skills. Second, I do not want to start my internet-journalist’s career with Siemens mobile phone review at mobile-review.com, this is just not thankful thing to do. The company I work in wasn’t entirely agreed with the way latest Siemens reviews were written, but I can’t really say that our attitude was right either. Private dialogue was the only possible solution; meanwhile corporative position was “head into sand”. During private debates with the author, a very wise thought was expressed: “you have the right to believe that there were some biased notes, please take your time and point out everything, line by line, you have the tribune to do that”. That’s where I had the chance to catch this phrase, and I decided to try my best, by writing this article. I will not disclose my real name, because I still want to work in my company, after this article will be published. Siemens ST60 was offered to become the aim of my first review, it is one of the latest Siemens phones on the market, and has stable firmware. I could have taken other models, but they will not be released any time soon, so the interest will be less, although there are some other reasons as well. I can’t guaranty being biased-less, but I will try to do my best in order to stick to objective review style.
A lot of people know that Siemens decided to release a lot of ODM phones. Some orders are distributed among Asian developers; since developing and manufacturing own model line is a hard thing to do. Developments our sorting process does not affect the model quality, since really strict demands and quality control exist. Sometimes it is even stricter, then on company’s own factories. ODM-manufacturers are aware of trying to release rejected handsets, because this may cause really high fines and financial loss. I hope this will be enough in order to close the question about ODM-model’s quality and reliability.
But the choice of other phone forces ODM-developer to fully redesign phone’s interface (MMI) according to current model line’s needs. The phone must feature same functions, menu style, appearance, just like the “own” phones do. This development stage often encounters difficulties in font adaptation, appearance, but they are solved in really short terms, and do not affect the final quality of the product. It gets as close as possible similar to the required ideal. The user can’t see obvious difference between “Alien” and “Own” products, this is the ideal type of situation, when everything fits and no problems are around. Some boundary situations exist as well, here everything depends on the persistence of project’s supervisor, his will to work overtime and explain continuously why the icon’s color has to red, and not brown to his Asian colleagues. For Siemens ST55 (ST60 is the cause of the first project, its consecution update) icon development according to the manufacturer’s needs was assigned to Asian manufacturer, who didn’t really managed to do that task (imho). The TFT-screen’s possibilities, that can display up to 65000 colors (actually the color palette is significantly more poor, but this is another topic for discussions, and I will leave a small hint: Korean marketing specialists), more interesting fact is that they are used very weak. That’s why I can make the statement that ST55’s interface is weaker, than in Siemens own products (font and icon display quality), but as for navigation and menu organization – it is the same. Esthetical side of appearance is important, but is not the defying. The fact that the phone doesn’t cause seizure factor, and the financial resources for its developments were saved is enough. The user is not paying extra money for interface’s overall attractiveness. My personal subjective mark for appearance – far from perfection, but a significant breakthrough comparing to ordinary Chinese or Taiwan phones. Small remark – in order to understand the difference that separates Europe and Asia – you have to see graphical menu in their phones. It is very hard to look at the so called “designer’s work” in those menus without tear drops, lack of design schools badly affects on the products. The models that are interesting from the technological point of view are dying due to poor, horrible interface appearance.
Small keyboard size and keys placement can be Siemens ST60 only obvious disadvantage. The screen occupies bigger part of the case, and there is catastrophically low amount of free space left. Such problems are typical for a large number of latest generation phones, not only for ST60. The joystick is smaller, than it is required, that’s why you are forced to press it with a certain amount of aim skills. When you’re holding your finger on the joystick, it becomes easier to operate the phone; however tiredness is the rejecting factor in this situation. These are all weak points in this model, from now on we shall speak about the numerous amounts of advantages.
I am not willing to repeat what’s been already said, that’s why please refer to Siemens ST55 review that features review of practically all aspects, including software functions. Below I will describe the brightest impressions, what has left a trail in my memory.
The screen is luxurious, it behaves in nicest way when hits direct sunlight, picture display quality is nice as well – they are juicy and pretty. You can make sure in that by listing the preset pictures in the phone’s memory.
Overall sizes, phone’s weight remained the same. ST60 will fit perfectly everywhere, including the pocket of your jacket, everything is at top notch. Stand by time was about two days, I don’t play games a lot, but I love talking really often and long. About 30-40 minutes were spoken daily, and by the end of second day phone’s battery turned empty. An hour and a half and the phone ready for being used again.
The main differences from ST55 are software, but some hardware changes were made as well, since you can’t set ST60’s firmware on ST55 and turn one model into another by this operation. Few people tried this operation, and a dead phone was their result.
ST60’s main difference – is ability to record video clips. This process is similar to picture shooting mode, your screen plays the role of viewfinder. Video is recorded with sound, two quality modes are present. I recommend setting the maximal quality mode; otherwise the picture will have amazingly poor quality. Camera works nicely in all conditions, including the night, whenever you are taking pictures or making video clips. I will tell you one small secret of Punchinello, ST55/ST60 were made analogically to such products as Sagem myX -6/ myX-7. Unlike the original versions, company decided to exclude IrDA, which was a rather disappointing decision especially for phone manufacturers since they use their handsets not only for calls.
The volume of 40-tone polyphonic ring tones became quite a surprise; you can miss the call only if you are walking on a noisy street, and have your winter jacket on. The vibrating alert’s power is not obviously good or bad, it vibrates on low frequency, some of you can feel this vibration, but I am not one of those.
After three weeks spent for testing, a very unpleasant feature was spotted, you can’t insert smiles into your SMS message, I could not locate them. My ironical mood required their presence, in order to soften some formulates, provided generously to my colleagues and friends.
Another unexpected feature is that you are forced to feel like an ordinary mortal, and do everything what common users do. I was trying to send short video clip via MMS to my e-mail, but none of my tries were successful. My operators claimed that this message can not be sent, the phone was reporting a mistake. I can’t really imagine that commercial samples will have this problem. On the other hand, a lot of things depend on the operators, and not the phone itself.
Overall impression from the phone remains pleasant – good screen, sufficient amount of memory, organizer, phone book. E-Mail client is not a truly required feature, more like a toy. Serious people will be limited by its possibilities, and other users will not need it. Keyboard smears the overall impression, it is rather hard to operate with it (not dialing a number, since you can do it on any kind of keyboard, but I am talking about typing SMS -messages). Those who buy their phones without looking at the brand will not be disappointed by this model, and their expectations will be fulfilled. But for those who are loyal to the brand, this will not be such a good acquisition. After using several generations of Siemens phones and work with ST60, ST60 leaves the impression of incompleteness, lack of company’s spirit. As if the painter marked some patterns, drew them with several strokes, but forget to fill the area with color and shadow game, colors. By removing Siemens sign from this model, you will be able to force the user believe that he uses some other company’s product. The weakest link is phone’s adaptation of ST60, it will be interesting to a limited amount of people who did not use company’s phones before.
Our sales people were trembling for Siemens ST55 sales plans, and were telling that this is a niche solution. This relates to ST60 as well, the phones are similar to each other by their spirit. Siemens ST60 should be treated as narrow, niche solution, the phone will become interesting by that angle. It doesn’t belong to any mass-consuming category. Draw your conclusions from here.
I hope that I managed to tell you a little about my point of view for this model, although the review became rather one-sided and scanty. I beg your pardon for picture’s quality, the lack of professional skills and techniques are the answer for that. I managed to divide all pictures to menu items, in which they were made. I will be glad to answer your questions, just write me a letter.
Published 06 October 2003
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