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.