Orange SPV E650 smartphone

Orange's SPV range has taken another leap forward with its latest QWERTY keyboard Windows Mobile 6 sporting device, but has the new model got what it takes to impress?

Its first Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0-powered smartphone, Orange has turned once again to smartphone maker HTC to deliver the goods.

The result is a solid phone that is well built and offers good performance. For your cash (its free on virtually every Orange contract) you get built in Wi-Fi, use of Orange's EDGE and GPRS networks although no 3G or HSDPA for video calling or decent websurfing on the go.

Whilst looking like a standard phone at first glance - ie large screen, dial pad, shortcut keys, the Orange SPV E650 also conceals a slide-out QWERTY keyboard underneath and a screen which switches automatically between portrait and landscape when you pop the keyboard out.

The keyboard is easy to use as long as you don't opt to have the blue backlight shining through although the two menu buttons are very close to the casing above.

Back on the top of the phone the screen (not touch) takes main stage and the main dial-pad has a rubbery feel to it, which is comfortable to use although we found ourselves constantly pressing the 2 button when using the dpad.

Inside and the interface, which has been surprising for Orange has been left unfussed with, apart from not including Microsoft's instant messaging tool, now reworked for Windows Mobile 6 as Windows Live, which will annoy fans of IM. Otherwise it is easy to use and brings new menus, a more graphical interface as well as a host of other features over Windows Mobile 5.

Mobile 6 includes better synchronisation between users’ email accounts and mobile devices, as well as, hyperlinks within directly from emails for example. Users will also be able to update spreadsheets or documents on the move, using mobile versions of Microsoft Excel and Word.

Verdict

The Orange SPV 650 is a well polished handset that whilst not going out of its way to perform wonders does offer a good solid offering nonetheless.

The inclusion of Windows Mobile 6 will certainly appeal to those who want to futureproof themselves and although twice the thickness of the BlackBerry Curve its really only slightly bigger than Sony Ericsson's W810 Walkman handset.

One of the better the better SPVs of recent times.