It’s discreet, it’s rugged, it’s smart â€” so it’s obviously not your average Irishman. it’s the new E-Ten M600 smart phone, one of many new devices that aim to take mobile computing to a higher level in the local market.
Until now, only devices like the BlackBerry have really succeeded in making the world of mobile working a viable option for Irish executives. Throw in a spanking new operating system and some additional applications such as a digital camera and Wi-Fi then you’ve got the M600.
The device is one of the first iterations of Windows Mobile 5.0 to hit the Irish market and effectively makes the realm of handheld computing a reality and the realm of handheld computing through a smart phone device practically a Utopia.
In terms of functionality and features, the M600 is very similar to O2’s Xda II, minus the chrome. Looks-wise, the M600 is quite discreet and its large LCD screen with 65,536 colours surprisingly doesn’t eat up battery power as you might expect. Unlike the Xda II, the M600 sports a rugged plastic design suggesting the device may be aimed at mission critical applications in environments ranging from retail and industrial to construction and transport rather than solely for suited sartorial elegance.
Using the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system on the M600 reminds me of the transition from Windows 2000 in the desktop world to Windows XP. The experience and appearance is very familiar. I used the M600 passing through Dublin Airport last week and was pleasantly surprised at how the device automatically began picking up the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot, making it possible to go online and check email in seconds.
The phone application on the M600 is both intelligent and intuitive due to the swift method of searching through your address book. The only gripe I had was I would have to tap the screen to end a phone call rather than just hang up like on a normal mobile phone; for some reason the red hang-up button didn’t do the job. Another downside is the need to ‘cold boot’ the device after turning it off, making it less and less a typical mobile phone experience.
The 1.3 megapixel camera on the M600 was a bonus particularly due to the size of the screen at 240 x 320 mm. It made taking a picture or recording a video a truly vivid experience. The device comes with 128MB of Flash ROM and 64MB of SDRAM and also features a multimedia card slot for further expansion.
The device is available in Ireland for a recommended retail price of around â¬600.
Value for money ***
By John Kennedy