Slimmed-down smartphone

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2006, 12:00am

Many companies have tried to put an alphabetic keyboard onto their phones. SonyEricsson's P900 smartphone, Blackberry's emailer phones, and Nokia's Communicator line

are just a few.

But these models are typically closer to the size of personal digital assistants, rather than mobile phones.

SonyEricsson aims to change that by incorporating an easy-to-use keypad into a handset that's packed with all the features you'd expect in a high-end communication tool.

The highlight of the company's M600i is its generous 6.6cm QVGA (quarter-VGA)

touchscreen display.

Another key feature is a keypad which has an entire qwerty keyboard squeezed into it. It's just over 5cm wide.

The letters are assigned to both the left and right sides of each key. Alternatively, you can use the onscreen keyboard or handwriting recognition software.

To take advantage of the keyboard, the M600i comes equipped with an extensive range of data applications, including POP e-mail. It also supports a variety of 'push e-mail' platforms - which automatically forward copies of incoming

e-mails to the phone - such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and Blackberry Connect.

There is also an integrated Web browser and editing software for popular Microsoft Office documents, such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel.

Scrolling up and down pages is convenient as SonyEricsson has put its jog dial onto one side of the M600i.

The M600i is also equipped to entertain - it can display graphics and photos and also play back videos.

Portability is another big plus. It's just 1.5cm thick - a bit more than the super-thin Motorola RAZR - so the M600i won't stretch your pocket.

Its productivity features go well with high-speed 3G networks. You should be able to use the browser to surf the Web and also send e-mails efficiently.

As with most of the latest phones, the M600i has Bluetooth, Java, and a standard array of features. But unlike most new phones, it has no camera.

The M600i is expected to reach stores within the next two months. The price has not yet been announced.

PROS: Slim design; big screen; qwerty keyboard; e-mail client software; Office document support; jog dial

CONS: No camera