Hands on with the Sony Ericsson M600

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Just back from Sony Ericsson’s HQ in Hammersmith where I got to play with the company’s latest take on the smartphone market the M600. In many ways the handset shouldn’t concern consumers too much, this is aimed squarely at the corporate market – it hasn’t even got a camera.

Basically Sony Ericsson is debuting what is in many ways a BlackBerry 7100 killer. It has two key things in common with that particular model. Firstly it has BlackBerry email. Or rather it can, the push email system is down to the network. T-Mobile will probably offer the phone with Blackberry, while Vodafone will offer Visto etc. The other key thing they share is the rather odd QWERTY – with two letters per key – keyboard. I found this a nightmare, but I do know some people who love it.

After those two similarities the differences between the two are fairly huge. While the Blackberry 7100 is large and bulky the Sony Ericsson is slinky and shiny. It comes in black and white too. It runs Symbian’s 9.1 operating system and can be customised to include all manner of features. Also unlike the BlackBerrys it comes with removable and obvioiusly upgradeable storage, via Sony’s just launched, and very tiny M2 card.

The phone is also a dream to use. The interface is obvious and not too cluttered and just like its sibling the Sony Ericsson P990 it can be used either via a scroll wheel or a small stylus.

The other key facility we like is an RSS reader. These are going to be big news on mobiles this year, though I must admit I didn’t see it working. The phone also has the excellent Opera web browser, a media player (MP3, AAC, and ACC+, E-AAC + m4a) and of course essentials like Bluetooth. Overall this is a quality handset from Sony Ericsson. The QVGA 2.6-inch 262k color touch screen display is pretty impressive too. I am still not convinced by the keyboard, but for corporates looking for a light smartphone that’s stylish has a decent screen and yet includes push email the M600 is a very good bet.

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