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(Pocket-lint) - Some phones are just phones; others have cameras built into them. The Siemens S55 is one of the select few that want to be both. How can it be both though I hear you cry? Simple, by day it’s a phone and by night you bolt on the camera supplied in the box and you have a camera phone.

On the surface the S55 seems like any other phone. It’s small enough to fit into your pocket with ease, has a largish colour screen and the number-pad is in the usual place. But on further inspection, there are things that don’t quite match up.

Yet on closer inspection you’ll notice is the screens quality is actually quite poor compared to other phones with colour screens on the market. While you might be able to get away with this on a day-to-day basis, as soon as you start to use the camera with the phone you’ll realise how bad it actually gets. Images are distorted to the point of not really being able to recognising the people in them.

The second interesting thing about this phone is the attachable camera. While someone in the Siemens office has had the foresight to include a flash on the camera - so many MMS messages are taken at night when you are out at the pub - the fact that you can only rely on the optical viewfinder rather than the camera display is an interesting approach but one that is not really that welcomed.

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What is more annoying is that although you have to hold the phone with camera in the same style you would a traditional camera, the button that you have to use to take the shot is actually on the front of the camera facing your cheek, and not on top where you would expect a shutter button to be (see right).


Okay so the phone does features all the usual elements such as MMS, Bluetooth, GPRS, Tri-band making this an ideal partner for those with a Bluetooth enabled Ipaq’s or Bluethooth hands free headsets. But something is missing here. As a phone, yes it does have some merit, as a camera phone is loses all its street cred. Unfortunately what this phone does have going for it - its sleek shape and relatively easy to use menu system is soon lost when you look at the bigger picture.

Writing by Stuart Miles.