Siemens SK65


10 Mar 2005

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Product: smart phone
Price: €229
Acts of phone fidelity are alien to me, but I know people who swear by their Nokia phones and also people who will use nothing other than a Siemens phone.

Loyalty to a phone type can be driven by straightforward issues such as the look and feel of a particular device and certainly a phone’s operating system (OS). Manufacturers have examined different OSs and only lately have gotten it right. From my experience, Siemens has always got its OS right: simple, not too tricky and very quick to get a handle on. The SK65 business smart phone is no exception and it will garner a whole new generation of loyal customers for Siemens.

At first glance it looks similar to a glasses case or a pencil case. But superior stylish design came to bear when the 37-key keyboard swivelled into place to facilitate instant email communication. The appearance of these red keys made me think of The Terminator, where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s robotic head gets beaten to a pulp.

Given the spec of this device, it is a perfect competitor to the Nokia 6820. Both devices feature BlackBerry functionality that will no doubt appeal to the tech savvy business elite of today.

The SK65 has different variants to suit corporate business and small office/home office needs. The standard version is available allowing manual transfer of email messages from an email account to the SK65.

For mobile professionals of SMEs without a corporate email infrastructure, the SK65 will be available with BlackBerry internet email services. This allows the automatic transfer of POP3 or IMAP4 emails straight to the SK65. For company executives working with a corporate email server inbox, the SK65 with BlackBerry Enterprise Server support allows emails and information from MS Exchange/IBM/Lotus Domino systems to be accessed behind corporate firewalls. This model will be available with fully secure encrypted instant email access and calendar-entry transfer when using the SK65 on the move. Additionally, the phone supports the mobile data service features of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server allowing employees remote access to corporate data such as intranet webpages, specific programmes and databases.

There is no question that this phone has been created for anyone other than a mobile road warrior, insofar as on first glance it looks similar to a corporate device but in performance it is likely to emerge as a sophisticated and rugged workhorse for the most harassed executive who needs reliable information quickly. The device is compatible with the HKW-600 Bluetooth Carkit, which features automatic connection to the carkit on entering the car, echo compensation, noise suppression, automatic radio mute on receipt of a call and ignition recognition.

In terms of usability, I had figured out the text messaging functionality in less than a minute and found the phone a slick piece of design insofar as it had a full-colour screen predominantly with a black background that added to the design flair. As a multimedia phone it sadly lacked a camera but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this added in subsequent models. The SK65 features 64MB for managing large amounts of data, with up to 30MB free for storing personal information such as emails and java applications. Additional features include a large 132×176 pixel TFT screen with 64k colours, a fully featured address book with room for up to 2,000 entries and new Siemens Mobile Phone Manager PC software.

My only gripe with the device was figuring out the calendar-entry system, with the result that sometimes it wouldn’t accept entries or other times I found myself inadvertently deleting numbers when I was trying to make a call. However, that was not the phone’s fault but merely due to me being unfamiliar with the Siemens OS.

Weighing 144g, the SK65 has six hours talk time and up to 250 hours standby time. The Siemens SK65 is available on the O2 network in Ireland from €229 with a free car charger.

By John Kennedy