A genuinely smart phone

I’ve spent years trying to find a smartphone that combines PDA and phone, and I’ve been disappointed with pretty much everything I’ve tried; for example my last phone, a Nokia 6600, is perfectly capable but it’s too big, too heavy and too damned slow to be of any use. However, thanks to my gadget-freak brother, I think I might actually have found a phone deserving of the “smart” label.

This is the Orange SPV c500, or at least it is in the UK: it’s known under all kinds of names around the world. It’s powered by Windows Mobile, seems to be reasonably bug-free, and covers all the bases: tri-band, GPRS, decent storage, plenty of customisation options and crucially, a reasonably small form factor.

It isn’t perfect – the joystick is fiddly, the alarm doesn’t always switch off when it should, it’s locked by default to prevent you installing unauthorised apps and the location of the mini-SD storage card is ridiculous – but it’s a vast improvement on the Nokia and I’m very impressed with it so far.

The only real problem I’ve encountered is in syncing with the Mac, which it isn’t designed to do; however, PocketMac software provides the missing sync features for Apple owners. Or at least, it should do: I’m currently speaking to PocketMac tech support because for no apparent reason, the Entourage sync isn’t behaving itself. Once that particular problem has been sorted out, I’ll be a happy man.

[Update, 24 January ’05]

Beware PocketMac – I’ve had endless problems with the software and for now, I can’t recommend that anyone should spend money on it. I’ll explain more when I get a few spare minutes.





0 responses to “A genuinely smart phone”

  1. It runs Windows??? It has problems synching with your Mac??? Honestly, this on top of buying the Dell, I’m getting seriously worried about you! Have you been going to your Microsofty Anonymous meetings like you’re supposed to?

    Seriously though, I’ve been hugely impressed with how my Sony Ericsson works with my PowerBook. (Words like “automagically” and “transparently” suggest themselves.) I have the T610, which probably isn’t “smart” enough for you, though it is tiny. (iSync automatically syncs phonebook and calendar via BlueTooth, which is enough for me.) The P910i is hugely capable but a bit on the large side I suppose. But I’ll definitely be staying with SE.

  2. > It runs Windows??? It has problems synching with your Mac???

    Heh. To be fair, I’ve had lots of sync problems with various Nokias too, so it’s not an MS thing. And as I’m running Microsoft Office 2004 on the PB, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to sync with a MS smartphone. Maybe it’s unrealistic, but not unreasonable ;-)

    Incidentally, if you read the blogs of the various MS Mac heads, you’ll find they love Macs as much as the biggest Mac evangelists do. Sometimes more.

    > Honestly, this on top of buying the Dell, I’m getting seriously worried about you! Have you been going to your Microsofty Anonymous meetings like you’re supposed to?

    I know your tongue’s firmly in your cheek but I’ll answer seriously: I really don’t understand loyalty to particular platforms or to particular operating systems. I bought the powerbook because it was the best computer for what I wanted to use it for, and it still is – although if I were looking for a new, high-end laptop right now I’d seriously consider one of the Sony Vaios with the X-black screens (if you haven’t seen them, they’re absolutely stunning). same with the phone: I bought it because it’s the best tool for the jobs I want it to do. If I was looking for an MP3 player right now I’d definitely consider one of the new Sonys (now they finally support MP3, and firmware updates are available for existing ones) over an iPod. And so on.

    Right now I reckon (when the dell’s delivered) I’ll have the right hardware and software for pretty much everything I need: a PB with an extra monitor for work, the Dell for other, PC-based work and getting web, mail and Word when I’m on the move, the SPV and iPod Mini for when I’m out and about and an Xbox for games. Perfect :-)

    I have to admit I’ve never particularly liked the Sony Ericsson stuff: no particular reason beyond personal preference. But I’m always open to new ideas and new ways to waste money on gadgets I don’t need….

  3. >>mini-SD storage card

    Something I don’t like – Mini-SD is roughly double the price of SD. £20 for 256Mb card isn’t too bad though.


    The only major bug is the alarm not switching off so far – you get the odd crash installing daft software. ;-)

    I have to admit that I hate everything about Sony Ericsson. i’ve had several Ericsson’s and they were extremely reliable, excellent quality but the software was kinda ropey. I’ve had Sonys too – build quality was mince, sound quality was rubbish but the software was excellent. Then I get a sony ericsson. They managed to take the worst bits of the ericssons and sonys and put them together. Bad, bad software, rotten sound and build quality and overall a complete stinking turd of a phone. I’ll never buy one again.

    Realistically the P900/910 is the only competitor on the UK market to the SPV – but it is twice the size and twice the price. The compatibility issue on the mac is because microsoft haven’t got round to releasing activesync for the mac, but this is unlikely to be the case for long since Windows Mobile and Pocket PC are becoming so much more popular then will have to.

  4. >>then will have to.

    Me grammer is ace. ;-D

  5. chef

    I think I could guess the problem. I tried installing pocketmac phone and it crashed my ibook, so i went for a restart and when i did it came up with a virus-type screen. After a hell of a lot of panic and many restarts and phone calls. It ended up with me re-installing OSX. This worked and I deleted anything to do with pocketmac. Stay away from this program. Please.

  6. Gary

    Thanks Chef. I think you’re right.