Orange SPV E100 Review

Say hello to the all-new SPV…

The new updated E100 once again redefines what a Smartphone should be.  This time Orange has got the formula for success perfect, and allows you to be productive whenever and wherever you are in the world.


It’s a new generation; it’s the start of a revolution and the continual evolution of the mobile phone.  It’s the notion that such a device could exist and yet be small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and light enough to carry around all day, which inspires and excites me at the same time.

Its predecessor has sparked a community which rapidly evolved into a cult. Its followers worship their smart phones on a regular basis.  Has it gone as far as someone building a shrine for it?  Who knows?  Maybe.  I wouldn’t be surprised if their was one.  The point I’m trying to make is that theirs a dedicated ‘group’ of people who help those in need with their smart phones.  If theirs any problem, theirs bound to be an answer somewhere on one of the many web-sites.  Just be careful that they don’t convert you to the SPV religion.


It was like Christmas morning again!

When I got the E100 out of its big black box, I thought, “Now hold on a sec, this looks just like my SPV!”  But after taking a closer look, I could see just how refined this model is.  I thought the original SPV was an excellent example of a technical phenomenon with its large screen and crystal clear audio.  Now I look back at it and see it as being outdated and old.  I’ll probably retire it in my drawer full of scrap mobiles.


Would you like a nice firm grip?

With some adjustments to its overall design, the E100 fits comfortably into the palm of your hand and slips easily into your pocket as well as your lifestyle!


The buttons on the left hand side (Volume, Voice Recorder, and Power Button) have been refined slightly.  The voice recorder and volume buttons are now round in shape as apposed to the ‘knife’ edged button you get with the original SPV.  The voice recorder button is also rounded and has a red dot on it.  For someone like me, I find it pointless to have that button there at all – I never use it!  Whilst the power button shape remains the same, it feels different when you press it.  You get a click action when you press it as apposed to a soft touch on the SPV.

The left and right hand soft keys are slightly smaller and I think it’s a bit harder to press…but it’s a small price to pay to have a more spacious keypad – something that many users complained about with the SPV.  The joystick replaces the directional pad and is also spaced away from the soft keys on the left and right.  This is something I moaned about when I first got my SPV.  I kept pressing the soft keys or the directional keys when I only wanted to press one.  This was because they were designed too close together.  I’ve put the E100 through some rigorous testing, by myself, friends and family and all have said that the joystick takes some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll have cracked it!


The answer and end call buttons are both in a shiny chrome, which I have to admit, does give the E100 a bit of elegance and flair.  The number buttons have been flattened and enlarged and they really do make a difference when you’re texting someone.  My thumb used to strain to reach the 7, 8 and 9 buttons and beyond.  Now it’s simply tap and go.


For the ergonomics side of the E100, it appears to be the phone that the SPV should have been.  With further end user testing, this is probably what the final product would of come out like.  Users of this site will probably know all about that!  We told Orange anything and everything that was wrong with the SPV…and demanded that they fix it.  It seems like they’ve listened.


Does it work though?

Once again Orange, HTC and Microsoft have taken it a step further and turned the Smartphone market upside down.  The E100 has hassle-free functionality and stunning, well-considered design that places it far ahead of the design curve and the competition.  Building on the success of the SPV, the E100 has been re-engineered with a stunningly beautiful, bright and crystal-clear screen.  The joystick improves the speed at reduces the number of errors when making a selection.


The ROM version has been updated to 1.5 and the Microsoft Smartphone 2002 build number is at 13037, if any of that means anything to you.  The E100 is certification locked when out of its box, but this can easily be undone via the Orange web-site.  For those who don’t know what I mean, it means you can’t run any software on your E100 which hasn’t been given a stamp of approval by Orange.  The E100 is network locked, so it won’t accept any other SIM other than an Orange one.  There are ways around this, but the tried and proven way I would consider being a hassle and also requires you to have the boot loader from an old SPV.


The speed at which you are able to run the E100 is truly different to what the SPV was like when it first came out.  Texting is a lot easier with faster load up times and has an improved button design.  The operating system does appear to function a lot more smoothly and is more responsive than its predecessors.






The plug-in camera is exactly the same as the previous model and still has a poor refresh speed and like most mobile phone cameras, they offer no flash and low resolutions.  If you’re looking for a mobile that comes with a half-decent camera, the SPV is definitely not for you.  It seems like the camera was an after-thought for the SPV, bit of a gimmick if you will.  I’m guessing they were thinking, “Humm…all them other phones have got cameras, lets stick one in ours as well…doesn’t matter if it’s not that good”.  But to be honest, I don’t give two cahoots about it.  I think the whole idea behind integrating mobile phones with a camera is just pointless…something that Nokia thought would be a good idea.  They certainly didn’t win me over.


The headphones that are supplied with the E100 are the same as that of the original SPV.  They do seem awfully bulky but it also offers hands free, not that I’d ever want to use it.  I wish they’d use a standard headphone port, so I can stick my own headphones in.  That’s just one of the reasons why I don’t use the SPV as an mp3 player.   The other reason is battery life.  Once the battery reaches a threshold, Windows Media player will refuse to play any audio or video.  It’s clever but also very annoying.

By the way, did I mention that the old SPV cradle doesn’t work with the E100?  The new cradle is pretty much the same; it’s just able to accommodate the new design of the E100.   Apart from that, they’re identical.  The charging adapter which plugs directly in at the bottom of the E100 is the same as well.


There are loads to do on the SPV and the best way to find out these features is discovering them by yourself.  I’ve been using the Smartphone software for months now and I’ve yet to utilize the full potential of this Microsoft masterpiece.  Believe it, when I say, this is a glimpse of the future.  Microsoft is using its corporate engine to carefully shape the future of mobile phones by pioneering the idea of a Smartphone, a concept that will cater for everyone’s lifestyle.


The underlying operating system is the perfect foundation for the user to mould and shape in to something that they can use.  The intuitive O/S has been built from the ground up with technology based on rock solid reliability which only Microsoft have obtained through the many years of experience in the computing industry.  Whether you’re someone who likes to know where and when they are at a place or somebody who likes to sit back every now and again and listen to his music collection or a hardcore gamer, everything is read and there for you because Microsoft knows what the consumer wants and they know how to deliver.


MSN Instant Messaging, SMS, MMS, E-Mail, Hotmail, Pocket Outlook, Pocket Internet Explorer?  Nearly every conceivable method of communication has been made possible on the SPV and that’s why I love the E100, and if you give it a try you’ll love it too, with an intense passion that can’t be found for anything else.


Get an E100 now, you will find no substitutions or alternatives for the E100 in a world dominated by Nokia, Samsung and Motorola.


Editors Rating:

Design: 9

Battery: 6

Features: 8

Performance: 8

Overall: 8

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