Our guest reviewer Charlotte Ricca-Smith has been busily pulling part the four fashion phones launched recently by Siemens under its Xelebri banner – here’s her verdict.
The 8 is undoubtedly Xelebri’s greatest examples of form over function. It looks very cool, attracts just the right kind of attention and feels fantastic to hold, thanks to its curves and smooth edges. It even comes with a necklace.
It gets tricky when you try making calls though. There is no keyboard, so you have to scroll through each number via its navikey, pressing the centre button when you get to the right one, before moving onto the next. It is actually quicker that it sounds, but a phaff none-the-less.
What you are supposed to do is use its voice-dialing facility, which enables you to speak the number to the phone.
There is no similar solution when texting, which is a seriously frustrating experience. Once again, each letter has to be found by scrolling through the alphabet.
What is cool is its FM radio, MMS messaging, voice memo and the polyphonic ring tones.
The 8 is strictly for those believe everything in their life should make some kind of style statement. And I while I love its innovative user interface and sleek design, after a couple of days I was gagging to get back to the familiarity of the keyboard.
The Xelibri 6 not only looks like a powder compact. Open it up and there are two mirrors (one with magnification) so you can slap on some lippy while catching up with friends. It even has a pink cleaning cloth. And to allow space for the smaller mirror the buttons are positioned vertically around the outside of the handset. This of course is a nightmare especially when sending texts.
Other than this, thanks to Siemens’ familiar technology, the 6 is very easy to use. It doesn’t however have the same build quality, and is made of a lightweight plastic, which feels like it could be easily broken. It is also quite uncomfortable to hold to the ear, and unless you hold the phone in exactly the right place you won’t hear your caller.
Battery life, however, is impressive and the 6 has the usual polyphonic ring tones (twenty-three if you’re counting), which I discovered make great, gentle alarm calls, as well as a 4,000 colour screen – well, its pink and it displays a cocktail glass when not in use. What more could a girl want from a phone?
As Xelibriphones go, the 7 appears run-of-the-mill, until you turn it sideways. Seemingly inspired by David Beckham’s habit of clipping his clamshell phone over the top of his pocket, the 7 doesn’t just have a clip, it IS a clip. So you can wear your phone with pride, without having to worry about it dropping down the toilet.
It’s familiar fascia is a relief after the gimmicks and trickery of the other phones in the range, and again Siemens operating system makes the 7 very easy to navigate. However, on a downside the buttons have a slightly shiny, slippery feel, which is another less welcome feature found on many Siemens phone. You also have to prise open a small, hinged flap to connect the charger, and on the test model this had already come loose. Indeed the general build quality is less than average, and the phones feels somewhat plasticky, but this could be necessary due to the integral flexibility needed for the clip design to work.
Battery life was impressive however, and as with other models you get voice dialing, polyphonic ring tones and a 4,000-colour display, which can handle basic picture messaging. My personal favourite is the ‘wow’ face, which sums up the general reaction to the whole Xelibrirange.
The 7 is essentially a great, basic phone, but one that you can wear as part of your outfit, without the risk of it flying off when your busting moves on the dancefloor. So if you like your technology with a twist, it is definitely worth checking out.
The 5 is another in the range that can be worn on clothing or attached to a bag via its ‘Click-On adapter’. And while this style statement won’t be popular with everyone it is a great way of making sure you’re phone is on you at all times. Slide it off and you’ll find a somewhat unconventional keypad, which has three rows with four keys. This doesn’t take much getting used to, although the zero seems to be in the wrong place – but then this is what I have come to expect from the brand that likes to push all the boundaries, even if it means we end up pushing the wrong buttons.
Other than this one design quirk the phone is really nice to use – the buttons are responsive and large enough for the male market to enjoy and backlit in electric blue. The handset is also very slim line and despite its square edges, comfy to use and very pocket friendly (although, of course I didn’t put it in my pocket, I clipped it on to my Evisu jeans.
Once again battery life is faultless – and the 5 has the longest talk time in the group with 340 minutes. It also feels fairly robust and doesn’t seem to have sacrificed function for form. You get all the usual basic features such as polyphonic ring tones, alarm clock, MMS texting and voice dialling – all of which are easily navigated via the familiar navikey.
The 5 is a great phone that combines good looks, with usability and practicality. And while its retro style won’t be to everyone’s liking this is one of the best Xelibri handsets to date.