This cute little phone could very well be one of the last phones to bear just the “Ericsson” brand name and insignia on the outside (the stickers inside says “Sony Ericsson” already). But whether the R600, considered as a market-entry GPRS handset, will make any sort of noise is another question in itself.
Ericsson phones are always one step ahead of the rest - and in this instance, GPRS has become a market-entry level requirement. The R600 sports the new always-on, high-speed Internet feature and marrying it with its on-board WAP browser. A new predictive text input system, called eZiText, is used instead of T9 - which is supposed to make typing messages easier than before.
If you’ve previously used the A3618s, don’t expect any surprises- as the R600 shares similar software features to its predecessor.
The R600’s cover (no, it’s not interchangeable) comes with a similar paintwork to the one offered on the Nokia 6110 - a metallic-like material that shows off different colours when looking at it from different angles. Its size is something that I’m quite happy with also - as being able to hold the phone comfortably is always a big plus.
User Interface (UI)
Ericsson has maintained its user interface with the R600, being similar to those found on the A3618s and T39 phones. With the addition of the 4-way navigational key, a user can simply enter and exit to and from the main menu without having to press either YES or NO buttons. The greyscale screen also helps with the menu displays by providing a greater level of detail (for example, menu items that cannot be used are displayed, but are greyed out instead).
Making and receiving calls
The phone sits comfortably on your ear and face when a user decides to take the call from the phone itself. Of course, a headset or car kit can be used with the R600 as well.
A call screening feature called “Colour Signals” is available on the R600 (similar to that available on the A3618s). Where the R600 supports three different colours for its display (amber, green, red), these same colours can be used to identify different callers which have phone book entries.
I have never gotten used to messaging with an Ericsson phone. It took the company long enough to realise that predictive text was a mandatory requirement on today’s mobile phones, with the first phones to feature T9 were the A3618s and T39m. With the R600, Ericsson has decided that they would rather go with something else - called eZiText.
There are pros and cons with eZiText. First of all, one of the advantages that this system has over T9 predictive text input is that it allows for a word to be “guessed” without having to complete the entire word. For example, if you want to type “yugoslav”, a user would only need to type the sequence ‘y’ and ‘u’, where eZiText will bring up the entire word. Choose the word by simply pressing YES. If your sequence of words brings up more choices, simply press the left or right arrow to scroll through the choices.
But if you may have spelt something incorrectly or have missed a word, eZiText doesn’t display the raw characters entered. Therefore, you will have to continuously press the C button to clear your input until eZiText displays a sequence of words that you can recognise.
For those new to predictive text input, this system may be preferable over T9. For existing T9 users, it may take some getting use to.
The lifetime of the phone on a single charge will depend on the features that you enable on the phone - as it may affect overall performance of the battery (for example, wallpaper, screen saver, display sleep). For the review, the R600 had none of these features enabled - which yielded an approximate battery life of around 4-5 days’ worth of standby and 2 hours’ talk time on average use.