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(Pocket-lint) - The swivel action screen enables the SF65 to work like an actual digital camera. Turning the screen activates camera mode. Holding the phone in landscape, exactly as if it were a digital camera makes it easy to take pictures at any angle. The colour display for framing pictures could be bigger, although Siemens deserves praise for keeping this combination handset beautifully small. Zoom keys are at the top and bottom of the screen with the shutter button on the top side, where you'd expect to find them if this were a straight digital camera. It comes with a 1.3 megapixel camera, 4x continuous digital zoom, picture editing for framing and colouring photos and 18MB memory; not massive but enough to store the digital equivalent of a couple of rolls of film. In our tests, we preferred the SF65 form factor for using the phone as a camera to other clamshell camera phone designs. In fact, you forget the SF65 is a phone once the swivel screen is turned into camera mode, and so will the subjects in your snaps.

As a phone, the SF65 is small and easy to use with one hand. When open, the clamshell fits well for chatting and the quality of voice calls was very good. The minimalist looks and polar white exterior make you think of iPods and the Apple influence carries on inside with simple, monochrome icons. The SF65 does not go as far as working like a music player: the phone does not handle MP3 files. The kepypad is well laid out with firm buttons and plenty of space left for the D-pad. If you are considering trading down from a 3G gas guzzler, the battery life on the SF65 is a dream. With heavy use, expect to recharge it at most every other day. Excellent battery life means no second display on the cover. Siemens has gone for style over functionality with a tiny red and green traffic light on the cover to alert you to incoming calls. There is no Bluetooth which could be a major drawback unless you are happy with old fashioned IrDA for wireless data transfer. Nor is there video recording (not much of a drawback in our view) and forget using the SF65 in N.America; dual band GSM 900/1800 rules this phone out if you spend half your life leaving Heathrow for some distant location.


We've said it before and we'll say it again: before you buy, decide what you want your phone for. If you want a high end mobile phone, the SF65 will disappoint. If you want a really cool phone to put all those bricks in the shade, that doubles up as a digital camera, the SF65 is perfect.

Writing by Debbie Davies. Originally published on 12 May 2005.