The outer skin of the Orange SPV M600 looks like rubber, however it feels like steel. The bold "M600" logo on the top left and the "SPV" in the centre suit the unit well and give it a understated yet space-age feel. The controls at the
bottom of the front panel are also pretty discreet, with the sparkly
call/release keys and the action button standing out like diamonds on black
The device is fairly small too and takes on the now familiar form-factor that
we’ve seen with devices like the Orange SPV M500 and T-Mobile MDA Compact etc.
The M600 is a minuture Pocket PC with all the functionality and still the
useability of a "regular sized" Pocket PC Phone.
The main control section at the bottom of the screen is minimalist and at first
glance you may think that there’s only three controls here. In reality
there’s also a full joystick, two softkeys, an "OK" and a "Windows (Start)"
button. The joystick itself operates in a paddle-like mode – you just need to
tilt it in the direction you require.
When I first grabbed hold of this I didn’t use the softkeys, mainly because I
didn’t realise they were there, however after a very short time you’re using
these to hop into things like the calendar, contacts etc. On the lower right you
can press the Windows key to get straight into the start menu, enabling
stylus-free access into menu options with a simple move of the joystick.
The 240×320 screen is the same resolution as some Smartphones, so if you’re
switching from a Smartphone with a hi-res screen you may think it looks a little
"stretched", however this is shortly forgotten and you begin to appreciate the
extra canvas. Near the top of the screen the earpiece houses the flashing LED
informing you of network and bluetooth activity.
At the base of the handset you’ve got the now very familiar miniUSB slot for
charging and syncronising with your PC. Next to it is the 2.5mm headset adaptor
for handsfree or headphones. You get a handsfree kit with the M600 which plugs
straight in. If you want to use your own then you’ll need an adapter.
The left side of the handset has a shortcut button to the camera app, which when
in use means that this button is on the top-right. Ideal for taking a snap.
Next to this is a slider for the volume control. Next to that is a shortcut
button that takes you into the Comm Manager application. This is ideal for
turning on / off WiFi, however it also includes bluetooth, phone, vibrate,
Activesync, push email and more.
There’s also a loop-hole for fitting a wrist-strap or similar.
Here we have the IR port for transferring and connecting to other devices, plus
the power and the stylus.
The top has the SD card slot. SD cards are becoming cheaper and cheaper by the
day so this format is ideal.
At the back is the 2 Megapixel camera. You can see around the edge of the lens
that there’s a ring – this can be rotated to choose two positions. The
standard setting lets you take regular shots, however if you select close-up,
which is indicated by a "flower", you can take some excellent close up photos
which I’ll show you later in this review.
The battery cover slides off however it doesn’t just slip off, which is good
when you’re on a call.
I took these after coming back from the pub (note the time). I’m quite surprised they’re focused actually. :) As you can see the device is as tall as the SPV C600 / C500 (Audiovox SMT 5600) and a tiny bit thinner..
The Orange M600 runs on Windows Mobile 5.0 and has the push-email facility
enabled so those of you wish Microsoft Exchange server can easily get your mail whilst out and about.
Booting up the M600 give you a swooshy Orange logo followed by a Windows Mobile
logo. You then end up on the home screen, or "Today" screen if you like.
Orange have put a rather pleasant backdrop which seems to be the view from the
back of a speed boat during a sun set. You can alter this through Settings->(Personal)->Today however the Orange theme works rather well and is
easy enough to pick up. Just move your joystick up or down to switch between
the various options. Each available menu pops up to the side as you scroll
You can show or hide each menu option by choosing left or right, or scroll up
and down each set of menus with up and down. For example, here I am getting
into the "new SMS" option without having to touch the stylus.
Or here, where I’m opening up the calculator. Again – look – no stylus at all,
this is all one handed with the joystick. You can of course use the stylus
just to click each option should you wish.
I’ve seen quite a few network "tweaked" home screens and Today screens in the
past. Some are better than others, but I must give this one the credit it
deserves. It not only looks nice, it’s also functional and nicely thought out.
Call quality on this fine, with volume being controlled by the slider on the
side or via the on-screen controls. The microphone picks up a great deal, so
don’t try cupping your hand over it mid-call and abuse the person you’re
speaking to! :)
Making a call is easy, just tap the green "answer" button and you’re presented
with a dialpad which is big enough to use with your fingers. The predictive
dial does a great job of "guessing" which number you’re going to dial, so you
may find that just one or two taps are sufficient. The call history and
contacts list is searched and suggested numbers appear on screen. You can see
here I’ve found the one I need, so I’ve just moved down and it’s dialed it.
Again, Microsoft have made sure that – for regular tasks – you shouldn’t really
need to get the stylus out at all. It makes the M600 feel more phone-like in
a way. It’s not just about the size.
The M600 comes kitted out with all the business-orientated software you may need
from a device like this. Familiar Microsoft Office applications like "Word",
"Excel" and "Powerpoint" are there, albeit with a slimmed-down set of features.
These animated screens should give you a flavour of the flexibility these tools
have. Imagine you’re on a train and someone has sent an urgent document that
needs your approval. You can receive it using Outlook through POP3 mail or
push-email, open it, edit it, then send it back again. No laptop required!
The same can be said for Excel Mobile, shown below..
PowerPoint is on board too, and whilst it won’t let you edit or create Powerpoint
shows or slides, it’ll let you view them. Ideal for prepping for a bit demo
You may have noticed above that the M600 automatically chose landscape mode when
viewing the Powerpoint slides. Although this is configurable via PowerPoint
you can also easily switch orientation of the screen with this small button,
which sits on the homescreen / Today page.
When you press this the screen will rotate around 90 degrees, enabling you to
view the screen in landscape or portrait modes…
Very useful if you’re using something like Terminal Services Client, which uses
RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to access machines remotely. In the example
below I’m sitting quite happily on my fat bum at home whilst accessing a machine
at work and fault-finding it with some DOS commands.. Handy huh ?
I start off with portrait, but getting such a high resolution screen on scaled
down is tricky, so I simply flip the screen around..
You can see the Terminal Services Client that I was using earlier, plus other
utilities including the SIM manager which is a great way of getting numbers off
your SIM and onto the internal storage of your M600.
There’s the always popular Bubble Breaker and Solitaire. I’m sure pretty much
everyone has played Solitaire at some point during a quiet lecture, lesson or
work day :)
Of course when you install or buy more games they’ll probably end up in this
Back in the main Programs line-up we have ActiveSync, which ensures connectivity
and syncronization between your PC and the M600. For new owners, this will
keep all your contacts linked automatically and it also means you can enter
contact details into Outlook on your PC, then they get quickly copied to the
device. If you’d rather add contacts on the device then this is pretty simple
too, plus – when you get back to the office – your new contact is syncronized
with your work PC so you can email them or interact easily. Here’s a quick
example of me just adding a contact with the M600…
You can see that I’ve only filled in some of the fields. I can add his Birthday,
Anniversary, who his children are, who his wife / partner is etc. Just
imagine how powerful this is when you’ve got a number of contacts. You can
instantly find that Bob is, for example, married to "Sue" and they have two
children called "Alan and Joe". You can then call him up and say..
"Hey Bob, it’s Mike from MikeCorp. Hey, it’s not long until you’re big birthday
is it? How’s Sue and the two boys? Are they keeping OK?"
You can keep masses and masses of information on here, and you can see above
I’ve put some notes down too, so you can remember how you got to know Bob. You
could even put in here, "Sold Bob a pallet of A4 paper, good customer, keep in
touch". Something like that does wonders for your productivity and makes your
boss think you’re an absolute god. Good huh ?
ActiveSync will also let you sync this stuff. In the example below I’ve only
syncronised the contacts, however there’s a lot more to choose from…
>>Messenger – Where is it?
You may notice that you’ve even got fields for entering IM (Instant Messenger)
addresses. Although things like MSN Messenger aren’t strictly business tools,
people will no doubt use them from time-to-time to contact customers or business
contacts. Ah – now, this is where we get to a down point. For some reason,
MSN Messenger and the whole "Pocket MSN" package has been ommited from the
Orange SPV M600. To be honest I’m not sure why, or who’s decision it was to do
this, however it’s just not there. All is not lost however, because we’ve found
a way around it. Just click here to install it as an add-on. Job done! :)
Calculator we’ve already mentioned, and allows you to do some quick sums.
ClearVue PDF is an excellent bit of software that lets you view Adobe PDF files
real bonus if you’ve been sent a PDF file and need to review it on the go.
Here’s a look at a PDF file for my DAB radio..
You can see that there’s a good deal of zoom available, plus you can obviously
move around the document and – with the screen orientation switcher we
mentioned before – get the best view of the document.
File Explorer is always a bonus, and those who are familiar with the PC version
will be right at home navigating around this and opening, renaming, deleting
or moving files.
Java, Tasks and the Notes applications are also included and are fairly
self-explanatory, as is Search. You’ve also go the PV Player available, which
play videos like those you create with the in-built video camera. Speed Dial is
also here, which will help you get to your favourite contacts quicker. I’ve
added Bob Jones in here, then I just click the green "answer" button to make a
call, then hold down "2"…
Simple huh? Only two button presses and we’re done.
You can also use Voice Dial, which lets you not only dial contacts but it’ll
also let you open up applications too, so if you want to quickly open ClearVue
PDF it’s just a matter of speaking into the device..
Pocket Internet Explorer is – as usual – included, so you can use the GPRS, WiFi or ActiveSync connection to browse the web. There’s many different ways of viewing pages, from full screen, column view and don’t forget you can change the screen orientation too!
Windows Media Player 10 is onboard, equipped with the Media Library which will
find the all the audio and video files on your device and put them in a nice
neat order for you. Here I am watching a video on the M600 – don’t forget that I
can also view it in full-screen by clicking the menu option.
Zip is a fantastic little addition and, if it was up to me, I’d include it in
every Windows Mobile device. Think of the amount of files you’ve been emailed
which have been squished-up with WinZip. If you’re out and about and someone
sends you a zipped-up document or file it’s good to know that you can easily
un-zip it without having to Google the internet to find WinZip for your M600.
You can also create Zip files too, which is excellent for making the most of
your data tariffs! No more big un-packed attachments. :)
The settings screens give you bags of extra options that’ll let you customize
your M600 to your tastes. For example, by default the M600 will arrive without
a quick shortcut to "Voice Dial". Personally I’d like to be able to push one
button and get my Voice Dial pop up, so all I need to do is go into, "Settings"
and then "Buttons". Here’s how it’s set as default…
See button 4, which is the "Comm Manager Button" on the left side? If I press
and hold it I get the Notes app, which lets me record little audio notes on the
go. Good though it is, I’d like that to be the Voice Dial app instead, so I just
change it like so..
..all done. Now, whenever I press and hold that key I’ll be prompted for my
voice. Nice and easy. Sure, you can’t generate new buttons (because there’s no
more buttons on the device!) but it’d be nice if I could set more "Press and
Hold" options up – I can’t do it on this, but at least I’ve managed to get what
I want without much of a problem. Also notice on the bottom of those
screen-shots you’ve got "Up/Down Control" and "Lock" – these will let you set
speed and choose whether all keys should be locked etc.
The input option lets you choose whether you want big on screen keys, input
method and notes recording quality etc. The Lock setting will let you lock down
your M600 after a certain time period. Menus will let you customize you menu
listings and how they’re ordered. Then you’ve got the owner information and
phone settings for altering your ringtone and much more – this is shown below..
You can also tweak the sounds, turning them on or changing them. There’s also
settings for the Today screen and setting up your Voice Dial recordings.
The second tab along concentrates on more system settings, and this is where
you’ll be looking for adding in an alarm to wake you up in the morning –
although you can also use appointments in your calendar if you wish. You can
also adjust the backlight – a great battery saving tip is to notch this down –
and clearing the storage. You’ll also find location-based settings, power and
screen settings. There’s also the very useful "Remove Programs" option for
clearing out unused apps and games – although this can be done via ActiveSync on
your PC too. The "Memory" option is particularly useful here if you find
that programs are having trouble loading or, say, the camera app won’t load.
It’ll let you shut down things that aren’t needed and free up space.
The final setting screen deals with connectivity, where you’ll find IR settings
for beaming files plus Bluetooth settings which allow the connection of
devices like headsets, handsfree kits, car kits and more. If I do a quick look
around for any Bluetooth devices it’ll list them and then it’s just a matter
of partnering them together..
The comm-manager, which is accessible easily by pressing what I call the "WiFi
button" on the side (it’s actually the "Comm-Manager button" of course), lets
you easily turn communication devices on or off…
The phone can be turned off or on (flight mode), bluetooth and WiFi – this will
also detach from your Access Point automatically when you’re not using the
M600 to stop power drain. You can also tweak ActiveSync, Sounds and more.
The Orange SPV M600 has a 2 megapixel camera. HTC-built devices have always had
a hard time with cameras. Even the 1 Megapixel cameras seem to be just short
of "great". This new 2 megapixel one is much improved, however it sadly lacks a
flash, which would’ve finished it off perfectly.
Whenever I do reviews like this I always like to include the full, original
shots which have been taken directly from the M600 itself. The shots below were
all taken very quickly when I walked to the shop one day. It’s worth mentioning
that I didn’t stop walking once – none of these have had to be "setup" and I
didn’t have to wait for the camera to act, it took the shot very quickly.
Let’s not forget that the M600 has a close-up or “macro” lens, which – when the rim of the lens is rotated slightly – means that you can take some excellent
close-up shots. Check these out..
The camera app is easily started by pressing the camera button on the left side of the M600. This
will put you into the main viewfinder (below) and you’ll find that you’re holding the M600 in
“landscape mode” the joystick under your left thumb. Depending on what resolution you’re using, the
joystick can then be moved up and down to increase the zoom. Left and right will let you scroll
through the various capture modes, like “Burst” and “Sport for action shots, contacts photos (remember how we chose a contact photo ealier when we were adding a new contact?) and
themes to name just a few. Here’s a quick run-through of the modes you have available..
The control of the camera application is excellent and it feels like a regular camera would. The
pictures further up this review show the quality of the images you can obtain from the camera and, to
give you an idea of the video quality I’ve uploaded this video, which is recorded in MP4 format by the M600. You can open this
file or right-click and choose “Save Target As”, then play with something like RealPlayer.
The video was recorded on a recent trip to Birmingham with the zoom on. It’s a steel band performing in the driving rain! :)
The zoom, which is available on certain resolutions, helps you get closer to the subject. It’s a digital zoom, which will mean a bit of “blocking” as you get closer to the object, however it’s a good tool nevertheless…
There’s a whole host of settings to play with, including Hue, Contrast and how fine the picture should be plus a whole lot more. It probably easier if you look at these screen shots..
The Orange SPV M500, which preceded this device, had a 416MHz Intel XScale PXA270 processor with 64MB of ROM and 64MB of RAM. This new Orange SPV M600 has …
So you’d think “Hmm.. why has the new M600 got a slower processor? Well, it’s not quite as cut and dry as that. Yes, the M600 has a 195Mhz processor, but it’s also running the newer Windows Mobile 5.0 Operating System. That said, sometimes I feel that the newer OS needs even more power throwing at it in order to operate at the same speed as the Windows Mobile 2003 OS. The SPV M600 has a Texas Instruments OMAP 850 processor, which is a very capable processor. Sure, the 416MHz Intel Xscale will out-do it in tests but just think – if you were to slightly overclock the OMAP 850 CPU that’s in the M600 to 240Mhz then you actually end up outperforming the SPV M500 processor.
The lack of Messenger on this device is surprising, and I’ve no idea why it was dropped from the specs. I also foundd the lack of a flash a tad painful, however at least on of these problems is instantly fixable by installing MSN Messenger seperately. The speaker-phone, which is activated by pressing and holding the green “answer” button during a call, is muffled when you leave the device on a desk or in your hand. The reason? The speaker is at the back, right next to the mirror. You end up rotating the M600 around so that you can hear people.
Overall the M600 has some excellently subtle yet striking looks and does it’s job well. However, like the T-Mobile MDA Vario I found myself wanting just a tad more juice in the CPU. Sure, it’s not slow by any stretch of the imagination but it could be a little quicker. The camera is much better and the 2 Megapixel quality shines through. The WiFi operates well and the power-saving functions do a great job in prolonging battery life. I found the extra one-handed functionality worked well, and it’s easy to fool people into thinking that this is a “fancy phone” rather than a Pocket PC.
For those who need a Pocket PC phone but don’t want people to know they’ve got one the M600 is great. It’s got good design, it’s got style, it’s got functionality and it has the capability too. The M600 is a deserved addition to the SPV line-up at Orange.
— Buy the Orange SPV M600 from …….