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Review Siemens ST55. Part 3
Camera. A camera integrated in the phone is situated on the back cover of the handset. A small mirror is placed there too. The camera allows to take pictures of different resolution: 120õ160, 320õ240, 640õ480 pixels. All pictures are stored as JPG files. You can select quality of files (low, average, high).
Screen of the phone is used as a viewfinder. When you take a picture, it is well seen on the screen. When you view it after shooting, it is blurred. Probably, the phone processes the picture when it outputs it on the screen from the memory.
It is also possible to set brightness (5 points, 0 – by default, moving from –2 to +2), switch on/off night mode. Sensitivity of the matrix is increasing in this mode, but noises are increased too.
You can apply different effect while shooting. The picture could be black-and white (effect Mono). There are also such effects as Sepia, Bluish. You can apply different effect while shooting. The picture could be black-and white that is why there are such effects as Sepia, Bluish. Illustration of Mono effect is clear, illustrations of two other effects are too complicated to understand what these two effects mean.
One could set Light Frequency (50 or 60 Hz) in the phone. This setting is necessary to change if the picture is trembling on the screen.
Photos have rather a large size:
Resolution of 160õ120 pixels, High – 27 Kb
You can also use Zoom function in the shooting mode. Certainly, it’s not an optical zoom, just digital zoom (õ2, õ4). There is no sense is using this feature, because you can increase size of this picture on PC and the quality will be better in this case.
All photos are kept in the photo album. You can view them from the whole list, there are small icons of each photo. It is also possible to view detail information, concerning creation time, bit depth, resolution. There is a possibility to increase an image using Zoom feature. These photos can be setup as wallpapers.
The phone doesn’t handle IrDA and bluetooth, to synchronise images with PC you should use a data adapter. It is not included in the standard delivery kit, that is why I couldn’t download photos from PC. All pictures can be send via MMS messages. Unfortunately we couldn’t send photos, probably it is a shortcoming of the current version of firmware. We hope that this bug will be corrected in a commercial sample.
Quality of the images on the screen is average. It is difficult to recognize the face of the person. We think that the problem is again in the way of processing images.
The phone offers standard capabilities, if to say about sound quality and loudspeaker volume. There are no problems with them. Speakerphone function is well-realized, the volume is high. Ringing volume differs depending on selected melody, but the sound is one of the loudest among phones produced by Siemens. Polyphony is very nice, though it differs from the phones of other manufacturers. The sound is more sonorous than in the phones made by Samsung, Panasonic, Alcatel. On the one hand, it increases the volume, but on the other it becomes not so soft. The 40-tones polyphonic ringing tone sounds as 16-tones or 24-tones polyphony. You can listen to the melodies yourself (the link is below). Vibrating alert is strong, it is almost always felt.
One of the biggest shortcomings of this phone is a short operating time in the standby mode. The reason is large power consumption of the screen. The other defect is absence of IrDA, inconvenient keypad. Unfortunately, not all screen capabilities are used. Menu icons, menu interface are made in ascetic style. It is not an advantage of the fashion phone. Compare the icons with the menu in Alcatel OT 535 and you’ll immediately notice the difference.
The advantages of this phone are wonderful display, which operates well even under the Sun. The phone has good speakerphone and voice dialing functions. Then, it is equipped with camera. But if compare it with the products of other manufacturers, it doesn’t have exclusive features, just standard set of capabilities.
After reading official press-release, most people thought that the phone had 1.2 Mb of memory. In reality it is not so. This memory can be only to store photos. Besides, there is space to store SMS-messages, e-mails. The memory is not dynamical. It is not obvious why, because many users of this phone will not use mail client.
The manufacturer positions this phone as a fashion solution. Siemens ST55 is placed between MC60 and SL55 in the product range of this company. It means that the phone will cost about 300-330 USD in the end of October, beginning of November. It is not the lowest price, taking into account absence of IrDa. But it’s OK, if remember that ST55 is a fashion phone.
Java is absent in the current version of software.
Unfortunately designers from Siemens did not take part in creating this phone. Design and ergonomics of the phone considerably differs from typical phone from Siemens. Taking into account that users of the fashion phones pay attention mainly to design, it could influence sales of this phone. Concerning functionality, ST55 is not the winner either. Already in September we could see Alcatel OT 735 whih would cost 120-150 USD less, have comparable functions, but worse screen (lesser size, 4096 colors). The main rival of ST55 will be Motorola E365, equipped with TFT 65K display and integrated VGS-camera. The main advantage of this model is its price – 190-210 USD. The model will be available at the same time as Siemens ST55.
All facts connected together allow to say that Siemens ST55 will be just a niche handset, which will not provide large sales. We recommend to pay attention on this model in April-May, when it would leave the market and cost about 200-230 USD. It can be a nice middle class model in spring. It will depend on price policy of the rivals. On the whole, you can buy much more functional phone spending the same money. For example, price for Sony Ericsson T610 will be similar, although this phone offers much more functions. The main difference is worse quality fo the screen (STN), it is not visible in sunny day. Anyway, we recommend you to try this phone in autumn yourself to have own opinion about this handset.
They say that in February we would be able to see a new Siemens ST55i, where all shortcomings of ST 55 would be corrected. The new model would support Java. There would be also a possibility to record video clips. So, let's wait and see.
Published 18 August 2003
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