Orange SPV E650 Review

Orange SPV E650 Review          
 


So, the Orange SPV E650. Just an Orange version of the
HTC S710 we reviewed
,
surely? Well, yes and no. Firstly, the keyboard is a different colour, we have
the obligatory Orange logo and there’s a distinct lack of Windows Live (no MSN
Messenger fun here kids). Whilst Windows Live may have vanished, something
rather painful has popped up instead, but we’ll get to this in a minute.

First, let’s have a look at this delicious device. There’s a vivid screen which
is clear, crisp and close to the casing. People may look at this phone as you
sit in a local restaurant and think, "Yeah, it’s ok." Rarely, though, will you
find these same people ignoring it when the QWERTY keyboard pops out.

Orange SPV E650 Review

A
spring-loaded QWERTY keyboard slides out gracefully and, as it does so, the
phone plays a little melody. I can guarantee that after around 10 minutes you’ll
be turning off this trill bell sound off as, not only does it become irritating,
but it also slows the phone down as the screen orientation switches from
portrait to landscape.

The addition of the hide-away keyboard turns the phone into a fantastic multi-purpose messaging handset. It’s a testament to the phones designers that no-one I gave this phone
to spotted the additional keyboard. "Hmm.. nice yeah, here you go", they’ll say.
"Yeah, but what about this ?", I reply as the keyboard pops out, "Woah. Now
that’s cool", they’ll say. This really
is a normal phone-sized device which expertly hides a killer feature.

Orange SPV E650 Review

When you first use the device you’ll no doubt notice the weight of it. It is
noticeably heavier than other devices. With the keyboard tucked away you may
notice that it’s a little loose in its moorings. It’s nothing major, however
there is the possibility for cards to slide into the gap on the left side of the
phone when closed. Whilst this is noticeable it’s by no means weak or floppy.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Specs

The Orange SPV E650 is one of the first Smartphones (or should I
say "Windows Mobile Standard Handsets") to get Windows
Mobile 6.0. This flavour of WM6 is named "Standard", which means "not touch screen" and current owners
of Pocket PC’s (Windows Mobile Pro) devices may find themselves tapping the
screen for a short while after buying this. Windows Mobile 6.0 does
bring some added benefits, such as the Office Mobile suite – something which is
suits the keyboard on this device well. The Office suite on board won’t let
you create documents, but it will let you edit them – yes, it’s
strange, but there’s an obvious way to get around this by simply keeping a blank
document on the device and using it as a template.

Powered by a Texus Instruments
OMAP 850 CPU running at a little over 200Mhz there’s 64Mb RAM and 128Mb FLASH
ROM. It has a QVGA 240×320 LCD screen there’s also a 2.0 megapixel camera and a
MicroSD card slot for storing the images on.

Connectivity is good, although there’s a lack of 3G in this handset
unfortunately. You do get GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band connectivity along with
WiFi and stereo Bluetooth.

In the box

Along with the CD’s and manuals needed to get your started
you’ll find a standard MiniUSB cable for hooking up your device, a charger,
headphone / handsfree kit, battery and the handset itself.

Around the device

Let’s have a look at the handset with our usual zoomy zoomy close-up camera.
At the front the numeric keypad is almost reminiscent of those on the

Lobster 700
we reviewed a while back in that the keys are tilted
backwards. This time though it works and the keys don’t jiggle around and they
work rather well.

Orange SPV E650 Review

The centre keys and navigation pad are black in colour which is
continued around the back and sides of the handset.

Orange SPV E650 Review

The outer keys are a polished silver colour with the call answer
/ release keys being on the bottom portion of the keypad. It doesn’t take too
long to get used to these frequently-used keys being here. The "home" and "back"
keys are just above and the polished silver is continued around the screen.

Orange SPV E650 Review

The central navigation pad is raised slightly and has the two
soft-keys either side for choosing menu items with Windows Mobile. You may also
see the small light sensor at the bottom of the keypad just below the "0" key.
This senses when to turn the backlight on for the keys – a cool blue colour is
used on both keyboards.

Orange SPV E650 Review

The QWERTY keyboard pops out with a small push and that damn sound is played at the
same time (turn it off by going into Settings->Sounds->Keyboard Sliding->Off).
You should be able to see the two status lights on the top
left. The first is the familiar "CAPS" light you’ll have seen on your normal PC
keyboard whilst the second indicates whether the FN key is in use. This gives
you access into extra functions shown below in blue.

Orange SPV E650 Review

The keyboard is easy enough to use, although I’ve had a few
comments about the fact that the screen is slightly to the right of the
keyboard. It’s not a massive issue, but I thought it best to mention. In addition to the QWERTY keyboard you’ve got two more soft-keys
at the top, plus if you need to you can still use the numeric keypad even while
the rear keyboard is extended. I found this useful for the all-important "Home"
key and for navigating webpages, answering calls etc. With the keyboard extended
you’ll probably start using the normal navigation pad to browse webpages without
even thinking about it.

Orange SPV E650 Review

As we look toward the top of the device there’s a rather sexy little earpiece
containing a couple of LED’s for Bluetooth / network / charging activity. These
will flash to let you know what’s happening with the device. Ooohh.. look at
that polished surface.

Orange SPV E650 Review

At the very top of the handset is the power button. You need this for nothing
more than turning the phone on and off. You can see in this shot
how rounded the device is too, it fits nicely in the hand and lacks any harsh
corners.

Orange SPV E650 Review

If we flip the device over you’ll see the 2 megapixel camera.
There’s no flash here, but it seems to work a lot better in low-light
than any other phone camera we’ve tested before. More on this later. You’ll also
notice the main loudspeaker behind the grill on the right. That gromit on the
left is for fitting an external aerial etc.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Orange SPV E650 Review

While we’re looking at this area I’ll show you how the back of
the phone looks with the keyboard extended. You can see the slot where the SIM
card goes – if you pull the SIM out you’ll find that the power goes off.

Orange SPV E650 Review

It’s certainly a lot easier to install a SIM card in here and
there’s no need to fiddle around with the battery and battery cover to access
it. With the phone upright and closed you’ll see the volume controls and the
voice-dial button. The volume control buttons are’nt as good as they could be. I couldn’t find them
easily enough during a call and ended up having to take the phone away from my
ear to adjust the volume. Again, this is probably just me being a tad picky but
they’re not quite prominent enough to find by touch alone.

Press the voice-dial button and you’ll go into the voice-dial
application (duurrrr). If you hold it down you’ll get the "Notes" application
that we’ll look at later – this will let you record some voice recordings for
typing up or as reminders etc.

Orange SPV E650 Review

One definite bonus I’ve noticed here is that all of these keys work even
when the device is in its "power saving" mode. This means I can just tap this or
the camera button without having to use the power button first.

I wasn’t going to use the shot below because the light balance was a bit off,
but it does show you the curvature of the handset, which again gives it a
comfortable feel in the hand.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Switch to the right-side of the handset we’ve got the camera
button on the top right. This will activate the camera application and will take
photos in a portrait style – this makes photos very "tall" instead of "wide"
with a resolution of up to 1200×1600. Thankfully it’s set it to be
1200×1600 (2 megapixel) as default – so many times I’ve picked up
handsets and they’ve been set to resolutions lower than the maximum as
the default "out of the box" setting.

More on the camera later.

Orange SPV E650 Review

At the bottom right we’ve got the MicroSD slot. This is tucked
behind a rubber flap and lets you increase your storage capacity easily. Check
out the prices at www.mobymemory.com
if you’re after a cheap card for this device.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Here it is with the rubber flap bent back – the mechanism clicks
in and then holds the card, with the rubber flap their for added protection and
peace of mind.

Orange SPV E650 Review

At the very bottom of the phone is your miniUSB connector. This
is where you’ll plug in the supplied headset / hands-free kit, your charger or
PC cable. This again is hidden behind a rubber door. I found it a little tricky
to open and close, however if it did fall off I don’t think I’d miss it much :)
This is the same as all the other miniUSB slots you’ll see on many other
Windows Mobile phones – don’t worry it it looks a little different to the one
you have. To the left is your microphone and then the loop for any wrist or neck
strap you may wish to use.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Inside


The colour scheme on the SPV E650 is a combination of grey and orange. The
homescreen is relatively uncluttered and, for some bizarre reason, Orange have
dropped their extremely useful Today / Homescreen that we’ve seen on other
Windows Mobile devices such as their
Orange SPV M700

and the Orange SPV
C600
.
Personally I quite liked the previous homescreen – it gave quick
and easy access into the popular areas of the phone, so I’m puzzled why it’s
gone. The new homescreen has a guy climbing a mountain and a very basic layout
which doesn’t show off the abilities of the phone.

Here you can see that the WiFi is turned connected to one of my home WiFi access
points (called 8MBFORFREE) and we can see messages, date, time, appointments and
profile.

Orange SPV E650 Review

The homescreen will also give you more information such as whether the alarm is turned on – a small bell will appear
next to the clock to indicate that you’ve set it. Thankfully there’s also a large amount of homescreens and themes out there for you to customize your
homescreen and the colour scheme. First, let’s
have a look at the WiFi and how I got it connected.

Selecting the top rows (showing "Orange … Wi-Fi: XXXXX) brings me into the Comm Manager application. I now press "4" or move to
the WiFi option and press select. It’ll
do a bit of searching and then hopefully spot my access point. I should probably
mention the power saving here – the WiFi is turned off after a period of
inactivity and then back on again when you start using the phone. This is all
configurable through the "Power Mode" setting as shown on the right here.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

OK, now I’ve turned on the WiFi  it’s spotted some access
points for me to choose from. Two of these are mine (I’m greedy). Pressing "2"
gets me into my access point and I then need to simply add in my WEP key to get
access. You can see at the top I’ve now got a "WiFi" symbol in my status bar so
I know I’m browsing via WiFi!

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

You can get more detailed information about your WiFi connection through the
"Settings" option shown above. This shows you the access point your connected
to, what channel you’re on, how strong the signal is and the speed you’ve got.
You can also do advanced stuff like refreshing your IP address and more.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

When you’re connected to a wireless access point you’ll get the
appropriate name in on your homescreen. This will vanish and it’ll say "Off" if you don’t do anything on
the internet for a bit. Again there’s lots of options to tweak here and you can
adjust pretty much everything.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

The next thing you’ll probably be wanting to do is open up
Internet Explorer. You can access this from the homescreen or through the
programs menu. It’s undergone some changes since Windows Mobile 5 and seems to
render pages quicker. You’ll also notice the lack of an address bar – you can
open up an address bar and add your own URL by clicking "Menu", however the
default homescreen (and one which can’t be changed – grrrrrr!) is this..

Orange SPV E650 Review

Whilst there are good points to this home screen (I like the Favourites and
History tabs), Windows Live has been integrated as a search engine into the
homescreen so all searches go through that instead of Google. This is highly
irritating, especially considering that you can’t change your home page Sorry
Microsoft, but lets’ face it – people want to use Google, not Microsoft Live.

Searches you do through Windows Live will be rendered into a mobile format which
may look different to what you’d expect, however you can still enter and view
websites manually by clicking the "Menu" option.

I’ll start things off by doing a search for the Orange SPV E650 in Windows
Live. I’ve pulled the keyboard out so, the screen has switched to its’
"widescreen" mode. You’ll noticed that the natty "xt9" system has
kicked into life which helps out when I’m using either keyboard. It’ll show words you’ve typed previously and
words from its’ own built-in
dictionary – good for quick data entry.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

Due to the WiFi connection pages appear really quickly and its’
nice not to worry about data charges from your regular phone network. Each page
shows up as "One Column", however you can change this plus the text size to suit
your preference. If you close your browser and then come back to it later you’ll
find that your browsing history is tucked under the relevant menu bar on the
home page – this lets’ you find the page you checked out earlier without any
difficulty.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

OK, so you’ve browsed the web. I’m guessing you may want to go
onto Messenger now… oh, wait. Sorry. You can’t. Orange have decided to remove
it from the E650 (you may remember it being fully available in the network-free
HTC S710
version we reviewed).
Why? Well it’s the same reason that Orange have continually given – there’s an
"Orange Messenger" on the cards that will let you talk to your mates instead.
However, despite several months of promises it’s failed to materialise.

So, if we’ve got no instant messaging we’ll instead have to use email, text
and MMS. Setting up an email
account has been made even easier in Windows Mobile 6.0 and most of the
work is done for you if the wizard finds your settings. You’ve also got the
keyboard of course, so there’s no excuse to get your normal POP3 email setup.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Once into "Messaging" you’ll see a screen like the one above.
It’s just a matter of choosing option "3" to add a new email account. Next I
slide out that keyboard and enter the necessary information to setup my email
account. First up it’s my email address and name – again, look how the "xt9"
system picks up words for me..

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

This process needs a few bits of information –
your name (easy enough I hope), your email address (simple), the incoming / outgoing
mail servers (if you’re unsure, copy this off your PC settings or let the wizard
have a go at it) and the username
and password. You can then set it to automatically receive at set intervals as
I’ve done above. Once complete you’ll have
a new account to use in your "Messaging" program. This will let me check to see
if I’ve got email from you guys, and reply to it, when I’m on the train, the
bus, or in the pub. Good
eh?

Orange SPV E650 Review

OK, so what next? We’ve got onto the WiFi, we can
browse the net and we’re all setup for email. I guess we better add some
contacts really hadn’t we? :) This part can be one really, really easily by
connecting your PC into the phone with the supplied cable. This will send across
all of your existing Outlook contacts onto the phone. All you need to do to add someone
is simply do it on your PC and then all of their details will magically get
transported over to the phone.

To add people in when you’re on the go it’s easily done through the Contacts
system on your handset. First up, enter "Contacts" and then choose "New". The
Orange SPV E650 will ask if you want an Outlook Contact or a SIM contact. I’d choose
Outlook here, but it’s useful to have the SIM contact option should you be
swapping SIM cards.

Orange SPV E650 Review

You start off by entering all the usual details. Again the xt9
system helps you along the way.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

As usual there’s bucket loads of fields to use up. You can, if you wish, add
just the name and number, however that’d be a bit of a waste when you’ve got
home numbers, work numbers, company numbers, email addresses, company names,
department, job title, office address, town, postcode, birthday, nickname and so
much more !

As you can see me and the Queen are quite close, so I’ve got her details and
picture added into the phone. These new details will get sync’d to the PC or
Exchange server too.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Once you’ve saved your contact it’s easy to edit or find it.
From the homescreen you simply need to start typing out the name. If I
wanted to call her Majesty I’d just need to start typing "783" and the
predictive dial will find it. It’ll look for names starting with "QUE"
and other appropriate variations in your contacts and call history along with any numbers starting "783".
This makes finding people and calling them quite simple.

 Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

All of the other contacts you can see above have been added in using Outlook – I
just plugged the phone in and it mirrored everything across. Now, this
doesn’t mean that I can’t still edit those contacts – this is easily done by
choosing "Edit" on the menu, plus any changes I make will be reflected back wth the PC after. I can also beam contact details and send them as a vCard
or add them to Windows Live. There’s bags more stuff to choose from
depending on what you’re part of the contact card you’re looking at. You can
even have an individual ringtone so you can tell who’s calling before you
even reach the phone.

Orange SPV E650 Review

I touched on the Call History before. This will not only
show you the contacts you’ve called but also those who’ve called you, plus
your missed calls, timers and more.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

Let’s have a little look around the Office Suite. It’s
slightly different to the PocketPC / Windows Mobile Pro version. You can’t
create files with the Microsoft Office applications here, however you can
edit them. It’s a slimmed-down version of the Window Mobile Pro editing
capabilities too, but there’s enough functionality to keep you and your
slide-out keyboard happy.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Yes, you heard me right – you can’t create documents.
You can, if you wish, copy a couple of blank documents (say, blank.doc and
blank.xls) to the phone and use these as "templates", then do a "Save As".
I’ve already done this and it works well – an excellent work around. Here’s
Excel. One thing I did notice is that – if you’ve got Office 2007 on your PC
– you CANNOT copy the new "xlsx" documents over to Office Excel on the
phone. Even though the "xlsx" format it now saved as standard on
Office 2007 you’ll have to manually go in and choose "Save As -> Office
97-2003 Workbook" and then copy it to the phone. Yes, yes – I know.

Here’s me viewing a document. You then have to switch to "Edit" mode to
tweak the document and then you can save it or send it on.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

Word has a lovely smooth scrolling system and when you’re
viewing documents it’s so nice to slide down the .doc file. Again you can
choose "Edit" mode and change bits about the file. You can also adjust the
zoom, adjust font style and perform searches.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

Powerpoint lets you view slides before you get to a
presentation or meeting and will let you prep for that all-important
briefing. Again there’s lots of viewing options and the ability to go to
certain slides, show links and orientation control.

Orange SPV E650 Review

An essential piece of software (at least in our book) is
Adobe PDF. It’s not in the "Office" folder, but instead lives all
alone in a folder called "Document Readers", which again I found a little
strange. Why have Orange put one program all on its’ own inside one folder?
That’s like me having one drawer for just one t-shirt, then another drawer
for another t-shirt.

There’s zoom control and a whole lot more packed in here so you
can open up PDF documents that you may have been sent on email. One thing
I’m disappointed about is the lack of "Zip". If you get any of these
documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Adobe PDF) zipped up you’re stuck. :(

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

I almost wasn’t going to load up the "Calculator"
application. In Windows Mobile 5.0 the calculator is a bit… meh. But look
what’s happened. It’s undergone a serious facelift, plus they (and I mean
the Microsoft "they") have made it easier to use by including the
mathematical functions on the navigation pad.

Let’s say we want to do 4 multiplied by 18 divided by 6. I’d just press "4",
"left", "18", "right", "6" then it’s just a matter of press the navigation
button in the centre and bingo – you’re done. What a fantastic idea, and so
damned simple. Lovely, just lovely.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

Let’s have a look at the messaging application again. We
touched on the email side earlier, but most people will want to know about
the text (SMS) messaging and MMS messaging. Writing a message is simply a
matter of clicking "New" (which is hidden away under "Menu") and then using
the predictive function we saw earlier (when dialing someone) to choose the
recipient. Below you can see the message listing screen. If you open one up
you’ll see the contact picture at the top of the message plus the whole
message.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

As you can see, I’m great mates with the Queen and she’s
been watching a TV show on Sky. I can forward her message on, reply to it,
delete and more. If you want to forward a message on you’ll find that option
under "Menu->Reply->Forward", which……again, is a little weird.

Orange SPV E650 Review 

When typing out a message you can use the "xt9" system to
help you out or – if you want to use the old way and type without assistance
if you wish. Either way, you can use the slide-out keyboard to type stuff
out fairly rapidly by using your thumbs.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Picture messaging / MMS is easily done and follows a similar
pattern. You choose the MMS account, select a contact and insert objects or
pictures. It’ll tell you if any attachment is too big and will offer up
resize options on the fly.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

You can keep your life in check too by using the Calendar.
This will synchronize with your PC or Exchange and keep you on-time for
those all important meetings and appointments.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

You’re also able to change appointments or suggest new times
as well as replying to meeting requests. The calendar view has an added bit
of "zing" now with a fluid gliding motion through the dates.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

Now let’s have a look at some of the programs available in this
handset. We’ve covered a few of them already, however it’s good for you to see
what’s available. Don’t forget that you can navigate this menu system with
your navigation pad or press the relevant numeric keys – i.e. 1 for
"Call History", 2 for "Address Book" etc.

Notice the Orange icons – these have obviously been generated purely for the
Orange network as I’ve not seen these in other handsets. The "Organiser"
option on the left is actually a folder and will take you into the screen on
the right – this is where the "Voice" and "Quick" Notes applications live –
these are accessible from the hot key on the left of your E650 too, so let’s
have a look at them.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

Here’s the Voice Notes. It’s relatively simply really. You
just record any memo, audio note or whatever you like into the phone – you
can then play it back later or set it as your own strange ringtone.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

Here’s the Quick Notes application. It’s a little like
Notepad on your PC with a hint of Post-It note organisation.

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

Messaging, Call History, Internet Explorer, Contacts,
Calendar we’ve already covered. We’ll have a look at the camera in a moment
but first up let’s use the "Pictures and Videos" application. This does
pretty much what it states – you can watch a slideshow of your pictures, change folders, copy and paste. If
you select a picture you can perform some cropping, auto-correction or
rotation, beam or bluetooth the picture, set it as your home screen, zoom or save it
under a different name. I like the cropping option – it’s good for quickly
tweaking shots on the go before you email or MMS them off to someone.

Orange SPV E650 Review

On the next page of applications we’ve got PV Player to show
your videos, a video recorder for capturing them and a "Games" folder which
of course contains b****y Bubble Breaker and Solitaire.

Orange SPV E650 Review

Let’s have a look at Windows Media Player. I love using this
to listen to streaming audio and TV – something which is done easily thanks
to the WiFi connectivity. Yes, it’s a shame that the handset doesn’t have 3G,
and you’re
restricted somewhat on the move. I love listening to
www.dance.fm
around
the house – just hook onto the wireless, open up the relevant web page and
then fire up the streaming URL. I can then bop away around the house (or
anywhere else with a wireless access point) with my headphones on or I can
place the phone on one side so that everyone can hear it.

Here I am browsing a few rather nice sites to get to my
favourite streaming link. I use
www.streamingpda.nl
,
which is linked from

mobile.coolsmartphone.com

Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

Above I’m listening to a streaming radio station, however I
can easily open up a TV stream and watch that instead..

 
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Orange SPV E650 Review

Windows Media Player also includes the usual library system
to easily categorise your music and video files by name, genre and album
plus you can update or switch the library from the internal storage to the
MicroSD card for more room.

File Explorer comes on board and lets you do most of the stuff you’re able
to do in Windows Explorer on your PC. Rename files, copy, sort, beam,
delete, make new folders or send the files as email attachments. There’s
alsoa Bluetooth explorer that’ll let you browse other handsets as if they
were a network share. This makes moving files a lot easier.

Orange SPV E650 Review

There’s a Java app for running games and utilities plus an
accessorites folder containing the extras on the right screen below. 

 Orange SPV E650 Review
Orange SPV E650 Review

The task manager helps to display what programs are currently
running in the background. This can help to speed up your phone if you find
that one application is sucking all of the phones’ resources or memory. I’ve
got all this stuff running and still have over 8Mb free.

Orange SPV E650 Review

In the settings you’ve got stacks of options to choose from
and change. Everything from the sounds, background image, power, security
and regional settings can be changed plus there’s now a Window Update
function to help keep your phone running smoothly.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

Remember years ago I mentioned how rubbish the Smartphone alarm system was?
Well, luckily enough I got the chance to go over to Seattle and tell the
Microsoft boys myself. End result? It’s now slighlty better. It’s still not as
configurable as the Pocket PC (Windows Mobile Pro) version, however it’ll now
let you sound the alarm every day, on weekdays or not at all. Huzzar!

Orange SPV E650 Review

Many of you will want to know about the sounds, ringtones and message alerts on
this handset. They’re better than the Windows Mobile 5 OS and you’ve got more
choice now too. You can always download more from our downloads section if you
want !

As you can see there’s sounds for everything – even that keyboard sliding sound
I mentioned earlier.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

There’s also several Profiles to choose from and you can edit each one to suit
your tastes. That "Automatic" one at the bottom will turn the phone onto
"Silent" mode when you’re in a meeting that you’ve scheduled. Clever huh?
There’s also home screen options and colour schemes, so you can change the green
areas to be a different colour etc.

Orange SPV E650 ReviewOrange SPV E650 Review

Let’s not forget that you can change the colour scheme and layout through the
"Home Screen" option. You can change the background image too, maybe even make
it one of yur own photos.

Orange SPV E650 Review

 

Camera

I’ve read a few reviews whilst preparing for my own and some
tend to mention the low camera quality. Now, whilst it’s not going to beat a 7-8
megapixel Canon camera it is rather good indeed. I noticed especially
that the shots in low-light were much improved over other HTC devices. Here you’ll also
notice how the E650 takes more "portrait" style photos. You can of course
change this by rotating the phone and then altering the picture rotation on your
PC later.

Click each image for the original "un-resized" shot. All of these photos were
taken on the standard setting – I’ve not messed with the brightness / exposure
settings at all.

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In daylight the camera is probably about as good as any other 2 megapixel
camera. However, it’s in low-light that this camera really works a lot better
than other devices I’ve tested. Sure, you have to make sure that both you and
your subject aren’t moving too much when you take a photo in low-light, however
the results are much better. I took the shots above whilst visiting my parents
house. A neighbour turned up in his helicopter, as you do, so I filmed it to
give you an idea of the video quality. I’ve stuck it on YouTube below…

I’m not the best camera man in the world, so here’s a bit where
the helicopter came a bit closer.

The camera application is the "new style" one we’ve grown used
to in more modern HTC-built handsets. There’s a few shortcut keys to help you
out too, for example "1" will rotate through the capture types,"2" will change
the resolution, "3" will change the exposure setting and so on. You can also use
up / down on your navigation pad to zoom and left / right to increase the
brightness. There’s also that "Metering Mode" setting that will detect either
the light at the centre of the shot or the entire shot. This helps when you’re
taking pictures with a combination of light and dark. You also get a few helful
prompts like this when you put a new storage card in

Orange SPV E650 Review

In the top
right you can see that I’m storing my images / video on the phones’ internal memory. You can
change this by pressing the left soft-key (the spanner symbol) and changing it
to the memory card if you want. There’s many more settings to play with
including the photograph effects (negative, grayscale etc), time stamp, shutter
sound, review duration and more. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that, after taking
a shot it’ll give you a review of the image for a couple of seconds and then
switch back to the camera preview window again. This is good for rapid-fire
shots and cuts down on the amount of buttons you need to keep pressing.

Orange SPV E650 Review


As I mentioned before the shots are taken in a "tall" picture like this, so
photos come out in a "portrait" style instead of widescreen. Just rotate the
phone and then you can rotate the snap later on your computer. Here’s some more
of the settings that are available – notice the metering mode and quality
settings, these are just some of the options available.

Orange SPV E650 Review

To zoom in you’ll need to drop the resolution a bit, so you can press "2" to
alter the resolution down to 1 megapixel and then used the "up" button on the
navigation pad to zoom in. Once you’ve taken a photo you’ll get a quick look at
how it came out so that you can try again if you wish.

 Orange SPV E650 Review

 

The Problem

You’ve probably heard about the fairly major bug with the Orange SPV E650 over at MoDaCo, but there’s still a large amount of people stating that they’ve never had any problems. Why? Well, to be honest it’s best if we explain it in pictures. It happens when you’re installing software, however it only happens in the Orange SPV E650 model and not in the SIM-free HTC S710 we borrowed from the guys at devicewire.com.
Luckily there is an easy work-around, or you can use the MoDaCo fix
to sort it more permanently.

Here’s a look at the problem.. 

Orange SPV E650 Review


Here I am adding a contact. The input method is currenly set to XT9 English, which is the default. Let’s go ahead and install something. In this case, it’s the excellent SplashBlog.


Orange SPV E650 Review


OK, it’s looking good so far. After a few seconds everything is done and it’s installed correctly.,,


Orange SPV E650 Review


Now, to illustrate the problem I’ve gone ahead and un-installed SplashBlog. I’ll also go back and change the entry method to “ABC”. A lot of people prefer the “ABC” input method, especially with the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, so it’s not surprising to see it enabled by end users.


Orange SPV E650 Review


Let’s do the install again…

Orange SPV E650 Review




Errrmm…. After about 2 minutes the wheel is still spinning and nothing seems to be happening… Oh dear – the bug has reared its’ ugly head. The only way out is to pull the battery, which is a bit pants to say the least. :(

To double-check I wasn’t going mad, I tried the same test on the SIM-free version from devicewire.com that we reviewed earlier. I went straight ahead and switched to “ABC” mode..



Orange SPV E650 Review


Now I’m doing an install (albeit a slightly different program) and….



Orange SPV E650 Review


Wehay! It works, but it’s highly annoying that this bug is present on the E650. I should point out also that this bug is the same whether you install over ActiveSync or locally. Not good. :(

Conclusion

This handset has some great features. The fact that it looks and
operates like a conventional mobile phone is fantastic, and I love the fact that
I am, at last, reviewing a Smartphone (Windows Mobile Standard) handset. Sure,
Pocket PC’s (Windows Mobile Pro handsets) are great too, but the minute you get
a stylus out and start tapping on the screen a lot of people tend to knock you
down the "cool" scale somewhat.

Let’s have a look at the downsides though. Firstly, there’s no instant messaging
application. Secondly, there’s no 3G, yes, no Zip application and one fairly
horrible bug. However, Windows Mobile allows you to get around these problems.
If you ensure "xT9" is selected when you install stuff then you’re fine, and you
can install an instant messaging application yourself. Let’s also remember that
this is a "normal looking" phone that packs not only WiFi, but a
terrific colour screen, good camera, large storage capacity, spring-loaded
keyboard, voice dial, Office Mobile, stereo Bluetooth
and MP3 / video capabilities plus a stack load more.

This is a device I like, a clever phone with a kick-ass bonus. There’s no touch
screen, no virtual numeric keypad – you’re given a proper keypad – the same
familiar keypad you’ve used a million times before but with the added flexibility of a QWERTY keyboard, WiFi
and a good camera all in one compact handset.





Link – Orange.co.uk