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Siemens S45

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Pros

  • Sleek, antenna-free design
  • large 7-line screen
  • 500-entry address book
  • EMS support
  • space for 50 stored SMS messages.

Cons

  • Feedback on GPRS versus circuit-switched operation when browsing WAP sites could be improved.

Siemens has released some stunning mobile phones in the last year, following the launch of its SL45 MP3 phone. Now the upmarket S45, Siemens' first GPRS-enabled phone, is set to turn more heads. The S45 not only features GPRS, but also drops the external aerial. This adds to an already sleek design with no apparent degradation in signal quality.

This dual-band GSM phone is aimed at business users, which explains the inclusion of a hefty 500-name address book offering 14 fields per contact. This is managed separately from the 'phonebook', the name given to the entries in the SIM card, which can get confusing if you need to move the SIM card between phones. The S45 also includes an organiser that can be synchronised with Outlook on a desktop PC using the included serial cable.

You can store 50 text messages, which is far more than most phones. The S45 also supports EMS, an enhanced version of SMS that allows you to send pictures and sounds with a text message. Entering data is straightforward thanks to T9 predictive text and an interface that makes it easy to switch between the many options.

The S45 uses Openwave's WAP 1.2 browser, which features improved security and a slightly enhanced interface compared to the 1.1 browsers seen on most WAP phones. Settings are easily entered, although our sample unit crashed when we tried to use One2One's T-Mobile portal, and only recovered after the battery had been removed and replaced.

The screen gives you plenty of information to view at any time and the hash key allows you to toggle between small and large fonts. However, it would be useful to have an icon telling you whether you are using GPRS or circuit-switched data, as this could make a huge difference to your phone bills if you left the browser connected. Pressing any of the numeric keys acts as a shortcut to the relevant WAP page bookmark, saving you the hassle of bringing up the main menu, which is achieved using the 'start call' key.

The large seven-line screen and its soothing orange backlight are excellent, and navigation is simple using the four-way navigation key. When in standby mode, each of the four directions is a short cut. The two soft keys bring up new windows with further options in most cases. However, they are very fiddly to use due to their shape and location up against the bottom edge of the screen and it's easy to accidentally press them when using the 'start call' and 'end call' keys. The headings of some options are slightly odd, but it doesn't take much practice before you can move through the menus quickly and easily.

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The excellent speakerphone is a thoughtful inclusion that allows several people to gather around the S45 and have a conversation. The unique 'babysitter' feature allows you to lock the phone so that only one number can be called when pressing the relevant soft key. This is great if you want to lend the phone to somebody so they can call you in an emergency, but without racking up huge bills by calling their friends abroad!

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