Recently Siemens released a new generation of handsets, including the CX65. I've managed to get my hands on a trial CX65, as well as another of the new generation models (M65 for those wondering) which will be reviewed very soon! But back to the CX65…
Siemens have made a later entrance into the enhanced multimedia handset market than most other major mobile phone brands, so the CX65 is a mobile phone that everyone has been waiting for.
But what makes the CX65 different from every other model on the market? The CX65 has been praised as what Siemens fans have been waiting for.
Standard form factor phones (or the non-Smart Phone range of handsets) are usually confined to a small display (when compared to Smart Phones). Siemens have made the statement that this isn't true, and even a standard form factor phone can have a large display. The CX65 has a 65,536 colour TFT LCD, and to top it off a VGA camera with video and still image capture. 10.8mB of memory is offered so you can make full use of the features on the CX65. Java game/application support is also included on the CX65, and the GPRS wireless data protocol is as well.
Mobile phones like the Motorola E398 and Sony Ericsson K700i have continued the new trend of handsets with larger displays than most of a similar size. These two models and the Siemens CX65 too all have a 65,536 colour display, the CX65 at 132 x 176 pixels. This is smaller than 176 x 220 pixel displays but does keep the size down, and anything above 128 x 128 pixels is great! The CX65's display is a TFT LCD, a Thin Film Transistor display. These displays offer the best resolution and quality as the each pixel is controlled by transistors. They are also very thin, only a few microns thin. Hopefully more manufacturers will follow suit with the large displays (128 x 128 pixel 65,536 colour LCD's are bad!) in their standard form factor phones.
The VGA camera on the CX65 can be used to spice up your messaging experience. With MMS and e-mail messaging supported, video and images captured with the VGA camera can be sent instantly to almost anyone in the world! The maximum image resolution is 640 x 480 pixels and the video is less than this. Video can contain sound too! There is a 10.8mB user accessible memory to store images and videos. The large full colour display acts as the viewfinder for the camera application as always.
GPRS is the wireless data protocol available for use on this model from Siemens, and allows you to use the built in WAP browser and also send/receive MMS and e-mail messages, and a whole heap of other interactive functions. For connectivity to other devices Infrared can be used and a USB data-cable can also be purchased but does not come in the sales package. Bluetooth sadly isn't included in the CX65; if it was this would really top off the handset!
A fun feature which the CX65 has is the ability to remove the front cover and replace it with another! A small tool is in the sales pack to aid in getting the front cover off, and the keypad also comes off. The CX65 only comes in one colour in the sales package, Cool Silver; so you can really personalize your phone with changeable front face plates.
The CX65 is somewhat styled like its big sister the SX1, reviewed way back in April. The CX65 is less blue though, and has a more silver and white finish, a very sleek handset. This new Siemens handset is thinner than most of the similar handsets on the market but has a similar length and width. It only weighs 90 grams though, so it's definitely not bulky.
The front and back of the CX65 (the removable sections) have the same colour theme. Silver and grey are used together to give a stylish impression. A U shape set of keys are silver and the rest are grey – the keys are not super hard but aren't rubber, and aren't fully connected so pressing buttons is easy, with no extra force required. The directional stick is rounded off on the top and doesn't stab into your thumb when in use. I had no problems with the keypad on the CX65.
Above the keypad is the 65,536 colour TFT display. This takes up a bit more than half of the front of the handset, and above that are two clear "sections" on the left and right which are partly transparent. Behind these are the dynamic lights, or the LED's that can be turned on or off. They flash when the phone is idle, ringing, etc (there's more on this in the Major Features section)
Clip-It™ covers can be used on the front of the CX65 to give it a different look whenever you choose. None of these covers are in the sales package but what is included in a small tool which is pushed into the top of the handset and then rotated to click off the top section of the cover. The rest can be removed in a number of ways, and it is quite difficult. Check the Problems/Issues section for more on that!
The battery cover on the back is pushed in at the ridges and then slides downwards off. It is also grey, like most of the Clip-It™ cover. The rest of the handset (the irremovable sections) is white, except for the camera lens which has a grey outline around it. The left-hand side of the CX65 houses the infrared window, and at the bottom of the CX65 you will find the connection port.
User Interface & display
The CX65 doesn't use a Symbian or Series 60 user interface like some models from Siemens do, like the SX1. It uses a propriety interface, and also has the ability to run Java games and applications. The main menu of the handset is in 9 large icons which become active when selected. Icons and text lists are the two UI formats used in the CX65 and most other handset these days. Smack-bang in the middle and selected first when you open the main menu is the Messaging menu, for obvious reasons! To activate the menu the directional stick is pushed in.
The CX65 has a single display, a 65,536 colour 132 x 176 pixel TFT LCD. This is used for every function on the CX65; you can't do anything without it! Why would you want to anyway, it's bright and colourful in conjunction with the User Interface of the CX65.
There is a main menu and "My Menu" on the CX65. "My Menu" has a list of your most used features on the phone, but they aren't compiled automatically. You can reset them all to the defaults or change them to whatever you wish in a few button presses. To get into the "My Menu" list you simply need to open the main menu and press the left soft key.
For navigation around the CX65 several keys are used. Mostly used is the 5-way directional stick, and pushing it in usually is a "yes" or "accept" button. There are two soft keys to the left and right of the navigational stick and their functions are
labelled on a small dedicated space along the bottom of the UI. The left and right soft keys are used to jump to different functions when the handset is idle, like left: New SMS and right: Camera. Moving the directional stick up/down/left/right when the handset is idle will also open up different functions.
Themes can be downloaded to the CX65 and used to change the look of the handset. 5 are pre-installed on the handset to suit almost everyone. Wallpapers and screensavers can also be used to personalize the CX65 further.
The only thing disappointing about the User Interface of the CX65 is the small amount of lag, mostly noticeable when speeding through the menus. Other than this the UI is very user friendly and easy to use and get used to.
Making and receiving calls
Making and receiving calls on the CX65 is an easy task. There is an inbuilt speakerphone for group calls, or you can hold the phone to your ear or use a Handsfree kit. Whichever you choose the CX65 is loud and clear in both directions, no complaints in this department from me! A handy minute-beep function is good for those on pre-paid or minding how long they're in call for, a small beep will sound every minute you're in call.
There are no external volume adjustment buttons on the CX65, so in-call the directional stick is used to change the volume level. As always there are the pick up and hang up buttons on the CX65, on the right and left side of the directional stick respectively.
In-call the left soft key when pressed will activate the Handsfree speakerphone. The right soft key is the options menu, which contains in-call options like the conference call function (if supported by your network). You can also turn the microphone off while in call on the CX65 through this menu, and turn it back on the same way.
Siemens have made a late entrance into the enhanced multimedia mobile phone world, and the CX65 is a big leap from most of the other handsets. The CX65 has all the messaging formats you need, including e-mail messaging. SMS, EMS, and MMS messaging are all supported. The inbuilt camera ensures that MMS and e-mail messaging is as fun as it can be. There is some messaging lag which removes some of the fun though…
On opening of the main menu the Messaging icon is already selected, so pressing in the directional stick will open up the Messaging area. From here you can view inbox messages, drafts, unsent messages, sent messaging, MMS templates, and the SMS archive. The messaging setup function is also at the end of this menu list so you can get your MMS and e-mail messaging working ASAP. GPRS is used to send and receive your MMS and e-mail messages.
The top of the Messaging text list says "Create Message". When this is pressed, you are prompted to select a type of message you would like to start. SMS, MMS, and e-mail are the options. SMS and EMS are both basically the same thing, so to send an EMS message select SMS message. All of the messaging input windows have T9 predictive text – messaging is fast and easy. To change between input methods press down the hash key. The different selections will show at the bottom of screen, and they're straight forward and no explanation is necessary. To quickly jump to numerical input hold down the hash key.
At the top of the SMS messaging window you are shown how many characters are left in total, and also which SMS you are composing on. This means you can send a total of 760 characters in a long SMS (it's broken up then re compiled on the receivers' phone). When you move into SMS 2 or 3 the digit will change at top of screen. On my trial CX65 I could change the input language to a range of different ones, including Dutch, French, Vietnamese, and several others. If you press the options button you have the EMS features shown, like underline, font size, alignment etc.
Something small but what I found a very good idea is the ability to "mark" text. This is like selecting it with your cursor on a home computer. You can select entire sections of text and delete it without accidentally editing the rest of your message. All in all, messaging is a breeze with the Siemens CX65.
The Siemens CX65 can connect to a range of other devices in a number of ways. Sadly, the newest and easiest way to connect isn't included in the CX65 – namely Bluetooth Wireless Technology. There is Infrared and USB data-cable compatibility, and to connect to wireless services GPRS is at your disposal – maximum speeds of 48kbp/s can be reached in some areas.
There is no USB data-cable in the Siemens CX65 sales package, so if you wish to connect using this method you will need to go out and purchase one separately. If you own an infrared dongle the CX65 can be connected to it easily and you can transfer data to and from the handset with software downloadable from the Siemens website. From the options menu of a file on the CX65 you can select "Send" and then "Infrared" to send the file immediately. Send via e-mail or MMS are the other options.
Infrared can be activated through the settings menu, under "Connectivity". There you will also find a GPRS data counter and many other settings to fiddle around with! ;)
The CX65 is a slim and light handset, and I only had a little problem with the build quality, namely the Clip-It™ cover removal. The handset measures 108mm x 46mm x 18mm, and weighs only 90 grams. As you can see from these specs the handset is much thinner than many others on the market, but around the same length.
There are two main removable pieces on the CX65, the front Clip-It™ cover and the back battery cover, which simply slides off. A small tool is used to remove the Clip-It™ cover, and that comes in the sales package. It's helpful at starting off the removal process but doesn't quite complete it. When you do finally get the CX65's front cover off you can replace it with another, clean the screen cover or change the keypad mat which also comes off.
Although the keypad mat comes off, the directional stick is built into the handset. Behind the back cover is the battery and SIM card insert, which is easy to use and shouldn't cause too much trouble.
In regards to the CX65's battery life not much can be said complaints wise. I only ran out of battery unexpectedly once and that was due to my brother playing games all night and forgetting to put the handset on charge. Functions like games and the camera are always battery consuming so that's nothing to worry about.
The CX65 uses a lithium ion 750mAh battery, and the estimated talk time is 300 minutes, with standby time at around 250 hours.