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Siemens ST55

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Siemens ST55
Finally, Siemens has released a mid-range mobile phone with a 65K-colour screen and an integrated camera. Read our Australian review.

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.

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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.

Siemens ST55
Company: Siemens
Price: AU$819
Distributor: Selected resellers
Phone: 1300 665 366

Specifications

Phone Features
Voice Tag Qty 10
Speech Codec AMR, EFR, FR, HR
Polyphonic Ringer Yes
Voice Dialing Yes
Phone Functions Voice control, call timer, conference call, voice dialing, vibrating alert
Additional Features Intelligent typing (T9)
Details
Form Factor Bar
Antenna internal
Integrated Components Rear-facing camera, voice recorder
Cellular
Technology GSM
Phone Navigation Buttons joystick
Type cellular phone
Integrated Components rear-facing camera, voice recorder
Band EGSM 900 / GSM 1800 (Dual Band)
Phone Form Factor bar
Service Provider not specified
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
Communications
Communication Features Internet browser, mobile Email client
Data Transmission GPRS
Display
Line Qty 7
Multi-language Menu Yes
Technology TFT
Display Illumination Color white
Display Resolution 120 x 160 pixels
Color Depth 16-bit (65000 colors)
Color Support color
Features screensaver
Organizer
Personal Information Management alarm clock, calculator, calendar, countdown timer, currency conversion, reminder, stopwatch, synchronization with PC
Alarm Clock Yes
Camera
Optical Sensor Type CMOS
Digital Zoom 4
Battery
Run Time Details Talk: up to 270 min
Standby: up to 140 hrs
Security Features
Phone Lock Yes
Keypad Lock Yes
SIM Card Lock Yes
Restrict Access to Phone Book Yes
Digital Camera
Optical Sensor Type CMOS
Min Illumination 20 lux
Digital Zoom 4
Header
Brand Siemens
Product Line Siemens
Model ST55
Packaged Quantity 1
Features
Phone Functions call timer, conference call, vibrating alert, voice control, voice dialing
Additional Features intelligent typing (T9)
Power Adapter
Type power adapter

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