Kudos to Siemens for finally leaping into the 65K-colour screen bracket; the 256-colour screen of the Siemens S55 left a lot to be desired.
The sleek, metallic design of the ST55 is offset with an icy-blue strip bordering the 160 x 120-pixel screen. The screen takes up almost half the length of the phone and the high colour depth reproduces brightly on the TFT display with negligible ill-effects in sunlight. While the Siemens SL55 is currently the German mobile phone manufacturer's smallest fashion handset, the ST55 still keeps its features in a pretty tight and light package that fits comfortably in your pocket. It measures 99 x 48 x 22 millimetres and weighs only 87 grams.
The keypad has blue backlights, two softkeys and a 5-way joystick (taking into account the joystick's size and shape, it seems more like a navigational nipple than a joystick). The nipple's small size causes it to sometimes slip in the wrong direction, which can cause devastatingly fatal errors at critical times (i.e. while anxiously arranging bricks hoping for the long block in Tetris).
The keys on the ST55 are raised in a terraced manner similar to the keys on its predecessor, the S55. However, on the ST55 the keys are much smaller; down the middle column their height is just over 1 mm from top to bottom. As they are reasonably wide and there is adequate space between each row muddling up keys is rare.
Through the contacts menu on the Siemens ST55 you can store multiple phone numbers for each entry, full address details, an e-mail address, a URL, and a company. Contacts can be placed in groups and assigned specific ringtones. Photos taken with the ST55's camera can be assigned to individuals and thumbnails display on the screen for caller ID.
A 640 x 480 pixel camera is housed at the back of the ST55 near the top of the handset. Other supported picture resolutions are 160 x 120 and 320 x 240. Siemens affixes a tiny, circular mirror that attempts to assist in taking self portraits but it is far too small to be of much help. When the phone is placed on a flat surface the mirror and (sheilded) camera bears the load of the phone as it pokes out too much from the case. Photos are of decent standard and display well on the mobile's screen but like many camera phones when the pictures are viewed on a monitor they appear slightly blurry.
Nightshot mode and a couple of special effects (sepia, mono, bluish) can be set for photos along with adjustable brightness and quality levels. The zoom on the ST55's camera is only available on the lower-resolution settings; a 4x zoom for 160x120-pixel photos and a 2X zoom for 320x240-pixel shots.
Aside from Tetris, the ST55 comes with two other games. Wacko is a hit-the-creature-that-pops-up-from-the-hole game and Funny Toggle is a puzzle game which requires a bit more brain activity to toggle a random assortment of green and red cards in a grid to the same colour. A WAP browser that operates over a GPRS connection is found in the same surf and fun menu that houses the games.
Implementation of messaging is next to flawless on the ST55. The left softkey can be assigned to create a new SMS, MMS, e-mail or one of many commonly performed functions. After taking a photo you can immediately send it via MMS through the options menu or save it to an album. The T9 dictionary for text input is expandable but might be a tad too slow for those who type quickly. An e-mail client is also found through the messaging menu to send and receive messages up to 256KB.
Ten voice commands can be stored via the extras menu for dialling phone numbers or starting commonly accessed functions -- we had no trouble recording these or using them (by holding the nipple upwards). An organiser is also found here to set alarms and reminders. Other tools include a calculator and a currency converter.
Forty-tone polyphonic sounds are supported on the ST55 which ring out more robustly compared to Siemens mobiles supporting only 16-tone polyphony. Twenty-two ringtones came pre-installed on our ST55 with space for five extra tones that can be created through the onboard composer. Those with a knack for music will be impressed with the flexibility of the composer and the range of instruments available (we were suprised to see the woodwind-sounding "Glarinet" make it through Siemen's testing phase and into the ST55's musical emsemble).
A standby time of up to 140 hours and a talk time of 4.5 hours is quoted by Siemens. During our testing the phone lasted about three days before needing a recharge.
While the ST55 doesn't tout any connectivity features like Bluetooth or an IrDA port, generally everything it can do is done well. Siemens users will have no problem adjusting to this phone; it uses an icon-based menu similar to most of the company's handsets.
Distributor: Selected resellers
Phone: 1300 665 366
|Phone Navigation Buttons||joystick|
|Integrated Components||rear-facing camera, voice recorder|
|Band||EGSM 900 / GSM 1800 (Dual Band)|
|Phone Form Factor||bar|
|Service Provider||not specified|
|Voice Tag Qty||10|
|Speech Codec||AMR, EFR, FR, HR|
|Phone Functions||Voice control, call timer, conference call, voice dialing, vibrating alert|
|Additional Features||Intelligent typing (T9)|
|Integrated Components||Rear-facing camera, voice recorder|
|Messaging & Internet|
|Cellular Messaging Services||EMS, MMS, SMS|
|WAP Protocol Supported||WAP 2.0|
|Messaging Services||EMS, MMS, SMS|
|Supported Email Protocols||MIME, POP3, SMTP|
|Communication Features||Internet browser, mobile Email client|
|Display Illumination Color||white|
|Display Resolution||120 x 160 pixels|
|Color Depth||16-bit (65000 colors)|
|Personal Information Management||alarm clock, calculator, calendar, countdown timer, currency conversion, reminder, stopwatch, synchronization with PC|
|Optical Sensor Type||CMOS|
|SIM Card Lock||Yes|
|Restrict Access to Phone Book||Yes|
|Run Time Details||
Talk: up to 270 min
Standby: up to 140 hrs
|Optical Sensor Type||CMOS|
|Min Illumination||20 lux|
|Phone Functions||call timer, conference call, vibrating alert, voice control, voice dialing|
|Additional Features||intelligent typing (T9)|