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Review Siemens A50
Siemens went against its principles announcing A50; for the first time, a low-end model approximately approached the next model in the line of the phones. If to compare a new line with a previous one, A50 will be similar to C45; these two phones resembles in both “outside” and “inside” features. They are really based on the same platform; A50 is the last phone with it. All other models from this line have another interface connector and smaller dimensions. Earlier, the company preferred to produce not so advanced phones as low-end models. Siemens A35, A40 were oversimplified models and sales mainly were connected with a price and a brand. After A50 the level of low-end models increases, the same tendencies have the other manufacturers.
So, A50 is a handy phone, its dimensions (109 x 46 x 23 mm) allow to wear it in the pocket of the shirt, though the holster is preferable. The weight of the phone is only 95g. One can set interchangeable covers ClipIt and vary the design him/herself. Traditionally, phones of two colours are available: Blueberry and Vanilla. An extra cover ins’t included in the standard kit as several editions alleged. It’s very easy to disassemble the phone and a virtue of the handset construction is that a rear cover doesn’t have a backlash. An external antenna connector is placed on the rear cover and an interface connector is positioned on the bottom of the phone.
If you look at the front side of the phone, you can notice that a keypad is placed deeply in the phone and it’s impossible to press it by chance when the phone lies face down. However, the phone has the other shortcoming: a convex glass of the screen, which is scratched greatly if the phone lies in this way. These scratches don’t interfere with viewing an information on the screen but it’s better not to do so.
The keypad is made of rubber, keys are easily to press and they respond well to commands. Dialing is rather comfortable because of well-spaced keys and their small size. It’s pleasant that two soft keys under the screen are doubled as in ÌÒ50, they are not the same as in Siemens C45. Orange backlighting of the keys is similar to the backlighting of the screen. Central row of keys has the best backlighting; the other two rows are not so bright. In spite of slim font, characters are highly visible, both in the dark and artificial light.
The screen of this model has an orange backlighting, the resolution is of 101 x 64 pixels, what allows to show up to 4 text lines and a line with tips to the soft keys use. In the majority of menus only three lines of information and one service line with tips can be displayed. Information is highly visible. This type of displays was used in 45-series and it shows good results.
Few words about the battery. It is lithium-ion battery of 650 mAh capacity in this model. According to the manufacturer it can operate up to 250 hours in the standby mode and up to 2.5 hour in the talking mode. In reality the phone worked about 4 days in case of 35 minutes of talking and about 10 minutes of using other applications. Time of full re-charging is about 1.5 hour.
Menu structure is typical for the phones from Siemens; there are no considerable changes. Shortcut number navigation is available. You can also add a special menu item to the soft-key in the standby mode.
Phonebook. Phonebook is rather simple; only one phone number can be added to one name. Totally up to 50 phone numbers can be stored in the phone memory. The phone supports up to 4 caller groups: VIP, Leisure, Office, Family. The user can name them in the other way and associate a ringing tone and an icon to a special group. A set of the pictures is not large, but they vary the possibilities of the phone. If to press a phonebook key two times, a list of groups appears, one extra pressure calls a VIP list. You can add pictures with faces to some of the phone numbers (up to 25), drawing them yourself by choosing eyes, chin and the upper part of the man. This function firstly appeared in Siemens C35, now it is repeating in A50.
Messages. This function is realized in traditions of Siemens, only a possibility to send messages on Russian was added. Apart from 9 pre-installed templates there are 5, which can be recorded by user in Russian (up to 32 characters each). The phone supports concatenated messages (up to 760 characters) and EMS standard.
Records. Call lists with dialed, received and missed calls (up to 10 fields in each list) with time and date indication are located here. Settings and counters of broad-cast messages can be found here too. When you press send key in the standby mode, only a list of the last dialed calls is displayed.
Clock. You can set date and time and alarm-clock (one, which is used in special days, or recurrent one) here. It’s more interesting to switch an autopower on/off function, then, the phone will be turned off in special time.
Internet/games. The first item of this menu is a Wap-browser (version 1.2.1). You can also find two games here: StackAttack – this game was used in the other models, you play a role of a loader who sort falling boxes in it. The second one is Balloon Shooter.
Finally, a melodies editor, which allows to download a desired melody (up to 4) using a special service (downloading of melodies and pictures to the phones from Siemens (45-series, M50, A50) from such sites as www.revkom.ru and www.infon.ru). Here you can also view and download pictures which can be used as wallpapers or in EMS massages.
Profiles. Up to 6 profiles, which can be setup, are located here. Almost all parameters can be changed.
Audio. All settings connected with ringing tones and vibrating alert are collected here. Up to 20 pre-installed ringing tones and 4 own melodies can be used as incoming alert, reminders and SMS tones. It’s interesting that volume of the ringer is adjusted separately and doesn’t depend on the selected profile.
Settings. All other phone settings can be found here. Everything is standard. There is a possibility to set capital letters in the menu. In this case a font size increases and only one item is displayed in the main menu.
A 50 resembles Siemens M50, C45 in quality connection and volume of the ringing tones. But it would be strange if these models based on one platform considerably differed from each other. It seems to us that an operating time increases a little bit in the comparison with other models. The phone can work up to 5-6 days in case of not very active using. If to switch it off in the night the autonomy could reaches one week. Here you can listen to the phone melodies (mp3, 700 Kb).
Official deliveries of this phone are expected in January, the price would be about 110 USD in the beginning of sales. C45 costs lesser, but A50 wins since it has a lithium-ion battery and it, undoubtedly, would be one of the leaders in its class. If to take into account that there is a tendency to reduce prices to the phones from Siemens, we can presume that next summer this model would be one of the cheapest in the class and, as a result, one of the most popular.
Published 16 December 2002
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