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My smartphone: SPV C500

It is fate that drove me to this smartphone. I would have hesitated in getting a Windows CE smartphone. Well, I own one now. You can have a look at the Wikipedia article as this phone is known by different names in different countries.

What is there to say? I got the phone a month ago, and am ready to express my first comments. I must concede that they are mostly criticism. I must also concede that I haven't own a cellular phone in 4 years before this episode.

First of all, the first thing you do with your telephone: Turning it on. Or shoud I say booting it up? Believe it or not, from the point you press the power button to the prompt for your PIN, 55 seconds have elapsed. It is just unacceptable, especially compared to my last phone.

The OS in itself is just non responsive. Clicking on a key will trigger the proper action anywhere between half a second and two seconds. Talk about being unacceptable! I believe the proper word is 'sluggish'.

Another very significant thing: Ringtones. Of course, I wanted to put my own ringtones! Very simple: Just drop any MP3/WAV/MIDI file in 'My Documents' and select it in the menu. So far, so good. Then I tried to customize the other ringtones: Alert, SMS received, etc... For these, strangely, my already uploaded ringtones didn't show up in the list. After a small investigation, it turns out that it must be a WAV file, and nothing else. Not a big deal, these being rather short tones anyways. But strange.

Then I tried to add custom rings to my contacts. Here, again, none of the already existing tones used did show up in the list. Reminds me of something... After numerous retries, no way. I try every conceivable format, every location to copy the file to in vain. I decide that these must be customized with the build-in tones... It's only after a few days that I realize that one of my tests did indeed work: It was in the list!!!! After a complete investigation, it appears that to show up in this list, the files must be in WMA, located in 'Application Data\Sounds' and that you must turn off and on the phone before anything copied there would show up. Wow!

On the bright side, Windows media player does a fine job at pretty much anything you throw at it. Videos are fine, music as well. One regret: The sound level on the headphones is too low to allow the phone to be used as an MP3 player (with the mini-sd slot). That's even more unfortunate as it would play DRMed WMA files...

IE is a nice add-on as well, working surprisingly fine with JavaScript and all enabled. Not blazingly fast, but I had no problems navigating websites totally not designed for it!! I actually had no issues with anything I did browse so far.

Oh well... It is a phone after all. It does a fine job on this count.

Ah, before I'm done, I wanted to relate my first crash! I was browsing weather.com and the screen went blank for 5+ minutes. I had to remove the battery. Rebooted, gave me an error message and re-rebooted once more. All my presets (background, custom ringtones, etc...) were reset to factory defaults. Ouch!

On the hardware side, the phone is really small, the screen is gorgeous, the camera is able to take half decent shots under not-too-contrasted lighting conditions (640x480).

Let's say I am pretty happy overall. It had the capacity to be a gorgeous phone, but for the software...