Getting around the applications on the handset is easy. Orange has its own Home screen with an icon bar in a vertical strip down the left edge. As you highlight each icon using the mini joystick it provides access to important software like contacts, SMS and email tools, your diary and Internet Explorer. There is also an icon that provides access to any four applications you choose.
When added to the softkeys, this system should provide quick firing up of most of what you need. The rest is available across a series of screens that offer a three-by-three grid of icons. No function is more than a couple of button presses away.
The SPV C600 functions perfectly well on its own as a phone and as a store for your diary, contacts and tasks. But it doesn't fulfil its role as a smartphone by working solo. It was made for sharing data, and specifically, to provide you with a duplicate of the important diary, contact and other information you have access to on your desk.
To help all this work you get a copy of Outlook in case you don't have it already. ActiveSync, Microsoft's synchronisation software, is also included. We'd suggest that if you are presented, as we were with our review unit, with ActiveSync version 4.0, you pop along to Microsoft's Web site and download the 4.1 version, as it irons out a few problems.
You use the ActiveSync software to share contacts, calendar, tasks and email. If you have Windows Media Player 10 on your PC you can synchronise music, playlists pictures and videos through this.
With so much synchronisation on offer you are going to want plenty of memory on your device. This is where things come unstuck, as there isn't a great deal available to begin with. Not all of the 64MB internal memory is accessible, and while Orange provides a top-up in the shape of a miniSD card, this only adds 32MB more.
If you want to get serious about using the SPV C600 as a music phone, for example, you'll need to invest in a considerably bigger card. Don't even think about using several smaller cards and swapping them in and out because the card slot is under the battery, so you need to power down to do a swap. This is irritating in itself, but doubly so because Windows Mobile smartphones are notoriously slow at starting up from cold.
In general use as a handset, the SPV C600 functioned very well. Calls were audible, the speakerphone is loud, and we didn't get any dropped calls. The side rocker makes it very easy to adjust volume during a call.
Because the SPV C600 can function as a mobile music player and will synchronise tunes with Windows Media Player 10 we decided to run a test of its ability to play music non-stop. We set the screen to stay always on for this. In real life you'll probably not mind having the screen turn off automatically, so this way means we thrashed the battery more than you will. We got just over 8 hours of battery life, and music playback right to the bitter end. We were pleased that the phone lasted more than an hour after it first told us the battery was low, too.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Nick Hide