Sony Ericsson’s upgraded version of the T66, the T600, does deserve the attention that it attracts - especially in the “looks” department! On initial glance, you may not have associated both models together - thanks to a major cosmetic overhaul and the improved usability of this great little phone. This is certainly one handset that should not be overlooked.
Apart from having a major facelift, the T600 doesn’t carry any new major features when compared to its predecessor. While the phone’s software has been revised slightly (slight additions and modifications) to provide for a better usage experience, the typical user will find that it has retained the level of responsiveness as well (from user inputs or keypresses). This is an important point to consider - as problems with lack of speed and responsiveness on other Ericsson/Sony Ericsson phone models hinder the overall usage experience.
The improved looks also came with a very important plus - and that’s the improved usability of the phone’s keypad. No one can deny that the T600 is nothing but small, which means everything else must come down in size as well. On the T66, the rubbery keypad design possessed issues for many that had larger-than-average-sized thumbs - where there was a large possibility that its user could accidentally press a neighbouring button instead.
But on the T600, the solid and rectangular button design seems to have solved this dilemma. With each button being similarly sized to those on the T66, the answer to the problem seemed to be the use of a flat surface for each of the 12 keys on the numeric keypad and the ‘option’ key (which has increased in size from the days of the T66), while having slightly angled faces for the remaining buttons. For the period I reviewed the T600, I did not realise the problems that I had with the T66 which included inaccurate keypresses.
One thing gone from the T600 is the service light - probably one of the very first Ericsson/Sony Ericsson phones to not have the blinking indicator. It has now been replaced with a much-needed strap hole where its user can attach a strap or lanyard so that the phone can be safely and conveniently carried with you at all times. The practicality of the strap hole is may have just become greater.
As for its looks, the metallic-face finish is what attracted all the attention when I was seen using the T600. This is complemented with the white and blue backlights used for the screen and keypad areas respectively. There are three different colour variants available for this phone - Moonlight Silver (the reviewed unit - with silver face/white housing), Marine Blue (silver face/blue housing), and Gold (gold face/white housing). There’s definitely one there that’ll suit your tastes for sure! :)
The back of the phone is very clean - simple with a minimum number of curves and lines. What I liked most about the back of the T600 was the little round, green and silver Sony Ericsson logo. Very nicely positioned on the battery cover and livening up the white landscape surrounding it (this would be blue for the “Marine Blue” T600 colour variant).
User Interface (UI)
Nothing too dramatic here - except for the addition of animated icons for menu screens and a much-needed cosmetic change to the way information is displayed. A similar Ericsson/Sony Ericsson menu system is used on the T600. And if you’ve noticed on some previous Ericsson/Sony Ericsson models where the icons animated, you will find that the ones on the T600 actually move slightly faster! :)
So what’s the much-needed cosmetic change? On the T66, the displaying of each line of text seemed to have required another for some reason - resulting in double spacing and wastage of space on the already small screen. Now, on the T600, you can have up to 5 lines of text shown (in all screens and functions) without any sacrifice in text sizing. The white backlight also improves screen visibility.
Making and receiving calls
Phone conversations were conducted with the least of complaints. Audio was received and transmitted with noticeable clarity - especially when you consider the small size of the T600. Volume adjustment can be done via sliding the volume key (located on the left side of the phone) either up or down, which can also be used for navigating the menus too!
The T600 comes with T9 predictive input support, and with the improved keypad SMS and EMS messages can be completed with less fuss and hassle whether you have guy or gal hands! But it’s still best to keep it to one-hand typing only, as your other hand may get in the way. This is the cost of using a small phone… wish you could just shrink your hands when you use the T600 eh? :)
Similar to the T66, the battery life on the T600 isn’t all that fantastic when compared with the average phone on the market. Average standby time for the T600 came to around 2-3 days, while talk time was around 2-3 hours. Always make sure that you have enough battery before you leave home the next day - as the battery meter depletes somewhat quicker than those found on other phones. Again, small phones mean that we have to put up with these limitations - which I find reasonably acceptable.