The M700 will undoubtably be the eventual successor to the Orange SPV M600 we reviewed
previously. This time there’s a Samsung 2442 CPU installed – that’s the CPU powering the Orange SPV M3100 – running at a brisk 400Mhz.
You also get 3G connectivity, a face-pointing camera and the added “cool factor” with the pearlescent white casing.
The rather large M700 box contains three neat boxes – in one there’s the handset itself plus manuals, in the next you’ll find an AC adaptor, headphone /
handsfree kit and mini USB connectivity cable whilst the final box contains a car charger, case, extra stylus and battery.
The outer shell of the M700 is a watery white colour – the LED’s situated next to the speaker reflect and glow the LED colours as they flash. It’s such a
smooth, polished, pearlescent colour. I’ve already had several people looking over at it in shops – not something I’ve ever had with the “normal” Pocket PC
The finish on the handset is pretty amazing – as it the design. There’s hardly a straight edge on this and even little touches like the slight buldge in the
earpiece plastic is beautifully done. The back of the handset is one formed piece of plastic with no joins – no seperate battery cover, no splits or joins.
The main control area is a brushed silver colour with a simple, clean design. Each button is easy to locate and has a white backlight on each key, with red
and green on the respective call / release buttons. It’s a understated yet clean design and I’m trying as hard as possible not to say the word “iPod” through
this review. 🙂
The control keys carry a design theme we saw on the HTC P4350 but have a more rounded and
tactile feel. The call / release keys have a shiny finish whilst the rest of the control buttons are a more matted silver.
The bottom of the M700 is thankfully a fairly standard layout and has the usual miniUSB port which we’ve now come to expect from HTC devices. Thank chuff
this is kept the same – it means that power, headsets and other peripherals are easily interchangeable. There’s also an IR port (surely someone must still
use infra red?), microphone and a small reset button for those moments when everything goes a bit wrong.
On the right you should also see the stylus. This is a tad lighter than previous ones and has a white tip at either end to keep the colour scheme flowing.
On the right side the silver band contains the camera button, which is ideally placed for taking shots, a miniSD card slot and protecting flap plus a button
for initiating the Voice Speed Dial feature. Holding this down takes you into the Notes application, where you can record quick messages or “to do” reminders
for yourself. You can even dictate a letter if you’re all posh and have your own secretary, then email it to her across the nippy 3G connection. 😉 These
buttons (camera and voice dial / notes) are changeable through the “Buttons” option within settings.
At the top is the power button. Press and hold this to completely power down, or tap it to send the device into wake / sleep mode.
You have a wheel for fast navigation and scrolling here – pushing this in selects links, prompt boxes or programs. Below this is an OK button.
At the top of the device you’ve got a headpiece with green / amber / blue LED’s either side. To the right is the video camera which you can use to make video
calls on the 3G network – waving hello to the wife etc.
The camera at the rear has no flash and, for once, no vanity mirror either. This marks an end to all those self portraits I guess, but then again.. who ever
used that mirror? 🙂 There’s no flash but you will find a curved slot for the loudspeaker. Plus, and I’ll be honest here, the camera is much better than I’ve
ever seen on any other HTC device (HTC are resposible for building this M700) and it produces better quality images in low light.
Adding or editing a contact on Windows Mobile is easy – plus there’s
stacks of details you can add in. We’ll just go through adding a new contact and
you can see the sheer detail and granularity that you can go into. The extra
detail for each contact that the M700 lets you add means that you can remember
people easier – adding notes, birthdays, company name and position information
Above you can see that I’ve got no contacts. Obviously I could
plug this into my computer and pull all the contact information from Outlook
(which is a nice quick way to add contacts onto the M700), however if you want
to do it directly on the device just click "New" and you’ll get a myriad of
Above I’ve added lots of detail for Jon Brown, plus I’ve
selected a picture for him too – I could even use the camera to take a snap if I
wanted. Sure, you might think that there’s lots of options already, however
there’s even more.
I’ve allocated Jon his own special ringtone, so I know when he’s
calling, but wait …. there’s even more!
Now I’m done – my contact is listed in the contact list. This will be picked up
if I start typing "0247…" on the dialpad, or "Jon", or "Brow.." etc..
…and here’s the resulting contact card…
Don’t forget that all this contact information will now link in
with your PC or Exchange, so it’ll instantly update.
The M700 will do “normal” calling plus 3G video calling, as shown below..
The video calling worked well, with your image displayed on the lower left box and the remote caller shown on the larger preview window. This can be altered during the call should you not want to look at yourself! 😉
Powered by Windows Mobile 5.0 (Pocket PC) you’re met by the familiar Orange homescreen. This has undergone some slight changes, however it’s still one of the
best operator home screens I’ve seen and you’ll be navigating in no time using the scroll-wheel on the side. Many people have emailed me to ask “where that
homescreen went” when they change to a different Windows Mobile phone on a new network – this is an Orange addition and it works well. For everyday tasks
this homescreen will let you find and select useful items without ever having to get your stylus out, and with that “OK” button just below the scroll wheel
you can easily browse around your M700 using one thumb.
Your program listing consists of all those regular useful applications – Adobe PDF reader (made by Adobe themselves, so you know it’ll work every time), a
calculator (because, in reality, nobody can really work out the correct change), Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, Powerpoint and Outlook), Windows Media
(for listening to some cool tunes or watching video on your iPod-esque device…. damn, I swore I wouldn’t mention “iPod”!)
Let’s have a quick nip through some of the programs on the M700. Within the “Accessories”. Here you’ve got an in-phone help function, an internet sharing
setting, SIM manager and Terminal Services, which is shown below. The M700 has in-built WiFi and 3G, so you can use either of these speedy connections to
remotely access PC’s and servers across the internet. I use this app quite a bit to do quick tasks on my PC whilst sat on the sofa watching TV. Nice 🙂
Next up you’ve got a couple of games. Yes, it’s Solitaire and ruddy Bubble Breaker. ActiveSync is up next and that, of course, is the magic application which
keeps your PC and M700 in sync. Contacts, email, tasks and appointments are kept harmonized. You can connect via the supplied USB cable which will charge and
allow data transfers to your PC (just download the matching free PC ActiveSync application from Microsoft) or – if you set up Microsoft Exchange – you can
get instant “always on” email from your server. Using the “push email” method will let ActiveSync pull contact and calendar information directly from your
company Exchange server and vice-versa, or you can setup a standard POP3 box too.
Adobe Reader is an invaluable addition. PDF documents are extremely popular amongst businesses and are a great way to show off reports. They’re emailed
easily and people assume that Abobe is installed on your machine, so it’s great to see it here.
A Bluetooth Explorer is included, which is a fairly new addition to Windows Mobile devices and makes moving, copying and deleting files easy. You can easily
find devices and then transfer files and the best bit is that this is an integral part of “File Manager”, so you’ll be familiar with it’s usage.
Next up you have a calculator – always good for those quick mathematical issues. Then you’ve got Excel – a mobile version of the PC app which will let you
not only view but also edit those very same Excel files. You can’t do absolutely everything that you can on the desktop version, however it’s
fantastic to be able to grab a file from an email, edit it, then send it back with your amendments – all whilst on a packed train.
Earlier I mentioned the Bluetooth Explorer. The File Explorer – shown below, is pretty much the same thing, except this will give you access into your own
M700. Just like “My Computer” on your PC, this will allow file name changes, editing, deleting, beaming and much more. It’s also the place to be when you
want to find files or run applications that you’ve copied across to the M700.
Java fans will no doubt love the fact that a Java MIDlet Manager is included. You also get a Notes application for recording audio messages or… maybe just
capturing the moment at a concert. Also, with the new driving laws coming into force, it’s a great way to reply to emails – record a quick WAV file and email
it back … job done.
PowerPoint Mobile is up next, again this is a slightly cut-down version of the desktop application and will prove invaluable to business-people on the way to
meetings or presentations. Just one last run-through on that PowerPoint Slideshow can’t hurt, can it ? This is a great way to perfect your presentation
technique, plus you can Bluetooth or IR beam it to another PC to stick it on a projector.
PV Player will no doubt pop up quite a bit when you watch the videos you’ve recorded on the phone camera.
The Voice Speed Dial application which, along with the Notes app we mentioned earlier, can be started by clicking the relevant shorcut key on the side of the
M700. You can set the Speed Dial settings in the “Settings” option – it’s not just dialling contacts, but also starting applications automatically too.
Windows Media Player will be your entertainment portal – with MP3’s and videos stored and indexed in a library so that you can locate your music by artist,
album, genre or just plain anything. There’s also the ability to open streaming video or radio stations on the internet. You can even switch the screen
around and get videos in full widescreen glory.
Word Mobile is, yet again, invaluable for editing and viewing documents where-ever you are. Let’s not forget that you can also create new documents, and this
is where I usually type out news and blog items. The lack of keyboard on the M700 does show a bit here, so you have to be a dab-hand with one of the
on-screen data entry methods – block Recognizer, keyboard, letter recognizer or the transcriber.
Zip is, yet again, one of those things you just can’t do without. Like Adobe PDF, people expect others to have essential applications on their device
– like Zip, Adobe PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc
The M700 can, as always, be customized to suite your needs. The input method, sounds, menus, buttons and connectivity can all be controlled and altered.
Here’s the “Personal” screen. In here you can alter what those buttons on the side of the device do, plus you can configure how quickly the up / down control
repeats. The keyboard setting lets you adjust the keyboard completion and the voice recording format whilst the “Menus” screen will let you choose what
programs appear in the Start menu for easy access.
Owner information can be set, which includes your name, address, number etc and what you’d like to display when the device is turned on. You can show the
identification information here or the notes screen. The phone setting will let you alter ringtones, check your network information and control the
“Automatic Pickup” option if you’d like your calls answered automatically. You can adjust other sounds in the “Sounds and Notifications” setting – everything
from the MMS sound, text message sound or the e-mail notification noise, plus much more. The “Today” option will let you change or modify that Orange home
screen should you wish to. You can also beam the theme, change the background or add additional plugins.
It’s in the “Personal” screen that you can set what the Voice Speed Dial does. Record yourself saying, “Email” and it’ll open up the Messaging application,
record yourself saying a name, choose the appropriate contact and it’ll instantly call them when you tap the “Voice Speed Dial” button on the right side of
the device and say the name again.
In the next tab you’ve got the “System” options. This will show you more information about the processor and memory in the “About” option, with backlight
adjustment on battery or external power chaned in the “Backlight” setting.
If you’re using push email then you’ll probably need to install a new certificate to talk to the Exchange Server. This can be managed in the “Certificates”
The rather dangerous “Clear Storage” option can also be accessed, which will wipe your device and return it to the “factory fresh” state if things go wrong.
You have to confirm this before going ahead by entering a numeric combination, so don’t worry about hitting it by accident. Next to this is the “Clocks and
Alarms” function where you can alter the current time and set alarms or add the clock to the title bar on every program. Here’s a quick look at it – I love
the fact that you can set several alarm times on different days.
“Settings” will show you some more detailed information about the M700 including display size, RAM and Flash information, call duration, version details and
You can also control what buttons are locked when you tap the power button, check the memory or stop running programs that might be sapping up your storage
memory, check power consumption and adjust the “auto power off” feature, align the screen, change regional settings and remove programs.
The connectivity on the M700 is pretty decent. The Bluetooth, IR, WiFi, phone / 3G connectivity / push email and more can all be controlled by the “Comm
Manager” which doesn’t unfortunately have a quick-access key. It’ll let you turn flght mode on (good for important meetings) and enable or disable the
in-built WiFi, Bluetooth, ActiveSync, Notification sounds and more.
There’s a setting for IR control plus a whole host of options for Bluetooth communications. In here I can turn auto-discovery on, add new Bluetooth devices,
turn FTP (File Transfer Protocol) on, add file sharing, add comm ports (for GPS Bluetoth units etc) and add a passkey. This hooks into that “Bluetooth
Explorer” setting we saw earlier.
There’s also a couple of screens for WiFi – one to search and connect to WiFi Access Points and another for altering the power mode, checking IP address etc.
As regular readers will no doubt be aware, the camera on HTC-built handsets like this one can be a little “alright”. Even with a 2 megapixel camera you’ll find that you have to wait for the right lighting conditions, and the shooter must be absolutely still when taking a shot. Although things aren’t completely fixed in this model, they are noticeably better. Low-light shots in particular appear better, and there’s less blurring when you take those “action” shots.
To show this I grabbed my trusty Orange SPV M3100 – another HTC-built device which also has a 2 megapixel camera. We then went shopping and I started snapping away, taking exactly the same photo with the M3100 and the M700. The results are below. Click on each image to see the actual “unresized” image directly from the device itself.
I’ve also snapped some more random shots with the M700 which you can see below.
Click the picture to get the full "straight from the phone" shot..
Various shooting options are availble on the camera, including video. I shot this example video below – you can see the actual MP4 file from the phone by clicking here. The video resolutions available are small (128×96), medium (176×144), large (320×240) and also a new resolution – CIF (352×288). I haven’t used this mode before, and as far as I’m aware it’s the first time I’ve seen it on an SPV handset so I used this mode to record the video below.
Hold on a minute!
So that’s it. The review is done.
Wait a moment though….
There’s a hidden trick up the sleeve of the M700, and it’s something that’s hardly mentioned anywhere. You may not have seen it details on the box, or on the website, or in the shop but yes – sure enough, it’s got built-in GPS.
We’re not entirely sure why this extra capability has been swept under the carpet, however – if you choose COM9 in your favourite navigation software (TomTom, CoPilot etc) it’ll fire up and locate you. No extra GPS dongle, no bluetooth messing about – it’s all in one device. To test this out we downloaded Google Maps and GPS Utilities. You can add your own sat-nav software should you wish, just point it to COM9 (to COM port of the internal GPS unit) and you’re away..
Why hide this away? The GPS in this device should get mentioned more. We’ll have to make a point of testing devices in future for GPS, even if they’re not shown in the specs list. The GPS on this device works extremely well and adds an extra dimension to the M700 – you’ve got great connectivity and sat-nav t’boot.
It’s not just the colour of the device that sets it apart. I mean sure, it adds a different dimension, but it’s no longer “just another geeky PDA” – this is
a well designed handset which looks and feels cool. There’s a soft silky feel about the device and you’ll never tire of holding it. There’s no keyboard,
which may put some off, but the handset is probably going to appeal to the younger “connected” generation who want video calling, cool features and that
The device is quick and the camera quality is noticeably better than other Orange SPV devices I’ve used. There’s little tweaks with the camera too – like the
fact that it automatically hops back into the camera “shooting mode” once you’ve taken a snap.
The Orange SPV M700 is a change to the devices we normally see here at
Coolsmartphone. Here we have a slightly geeky device that’s just turned cool. There’s a few things I would’ve liked to have seen – especially in a device
which is obviously targetting a slightly “cooler” market. Where’s the IM ? No Windows Messenger, no Orange Messenger. With all this brisk connectivity you’d
at least expect to see MSN Messenger or something similar, especially with the networks eager to sell all those lovely data minutes.
That said, for those who need to be connected – through video calls,
internet, fast access and instant email. For those who want to add a data card
and load up their MP3’s and Podcasts. For those who want a well designed handset
that will raise eyebrows. This is the device for you.
Links – www.orange.co.uk