“Small” is the word on Ericsson’s miniaturised T66 GSM handset. Weighing in at only 59 grams and its size being a notch smaller than a typical Nokia 8210/8850, the T66 is for the individual who just doesn’t want anything else weighing them down. But once you get your hands on this phone, you’ll start wondering whether you had actually
brought it out with you or not! :)
If you’re looking for a phone that comes with all the bells and whistles of a typical Nokia handset, then this may be a reason for you to cross off the T66 from your list of handset choices. After being exposed to other Ericsson handsets - like the T39m, T68m/i and R600, the only two good reasons for getting this phone would be for its small size and tri-band compatibility. Of course, WAP and other basic phone features are jam-packed into this great little unit!
For a slightly-larger-than-average-sized hand like mine, I was able to wrap my fingers around the T66 comfortably. As previously mentioned, the T66 is significantly light - which makes phone conversations seem like talking to another person next to you but with your hand next to your ear!
A small phone also means “small everything” too. This means a relatively smaller display, keypad and battery design - all contributing to a lightweight design. But there are downsides - including tighter spaces between keys and reduced battery life when compared to a typical phone on the market today.
There are two colour combinations available for the T66 - Purple Passion and Silver Supreme, with the latter being the unit reviewed. I don’t know about you - but the dark brown on silver colour schema isn’t all that attractive (although unique).
User Interface (UI)
First thing’s first! One of the most noticeable things on the T66 is the speed of its menus - they are lightning fast when compared with current Ericsson and Sony Ericsson handset models. I was able to experience immediate effect by simply browsing the phone and opening menu after menu. Typing messages with T9 enabled provided prompt responses to keypresses as well (more on this under the “Messaging” section below).
The T66 practically shares the same menu layouts as other B&W/greyscale Ericsson phones currently available. Although the display on this phone can fit more lines than the one found on a T28/T39, the phone’s software doesn’t make full use of all the available space. You can see (from the picture on the right) that each line of text displayed physically required two lines on the LCD - something like double line spacing in a Word document. This problem is evident in both menu items and phone functions as well (for example, when writing messages).
Conveniently, the “options” key (located between the YES and NO buttons) provides quick one-push access to commonly-used and special commands required for the current screen display. For example, when the standby screen is displayed, pressing this will bring up the “My Shortcuts” menu - and while typing a message, this will bring up functions allowing the user to insert pictures and melodies (for EMS message) and adjust the current input method used.
Making and receiving calls
Although small, call quality was not compromised and phone conversations with the T66 were anything but bad! It did take me a bit of time to get used to keeping the phone in place next to my ear - especially when I had no hands and had to hold it in between my ear and shoulder (so scared that I would drop it!)
And the ringer volume is pretty loud for its size! :)
The reviewed T66 did come with both T9 predictive text and Simplified Chinese characters input (as most may know, the T66 was never marketed in Australia; the unit originally came from Hong Kong), which made sending SMS message easier than on previous Ericsson handsets (for its time!) which just supported endless tapping.
Typing messages on Ericsson phones was always the biggest nightmare for me (as the lag time between keypresses was always there!) On the T66, this doesn’t seem to exist anymore. With very fast responses to individual keypresses while having T9 enabled, this gave me the opportunity to speed up my SMS typing speeds - similar to those when I am using a Nokia T9-enabled phone.
Again, the issue is again with the T66’s small keypad size. If you have big hands, you may find it hard to actually type a bit quicker on this little phone. As for most ladies out there, “just right” would be in order here :)
Don’t expect this phone to have battery performance as good as today’s average mobile phone. The T66 was only able to churn out a maximum of 2-3 days standby - while talk time was limited to around 2-3 hours tops. On heavy usage, you may need to give the phone a charge each night before you go to bed - just to make sure you have enough battery to last you throughout the next day.