My New Orange SPV C550 Smartphone

Last week was time for my mobile phone contract renewal. I’d been a Vodafone customer for the last 4 years, but they just couldn’t compete on price. I ended up switching to Orange (to save approx. £10 a month. The choice of handsets in the price plan I went for was less than inspiring, so I figured I’d keep my Vodafone Sony Ericsson S700i and flog the cheap Samsung handset I got on ebay.

Unfortunately, things don’t always work like you plan them. Vodafone had customised the s700i’s UI so much that using it with an Orange Sim, which – whilst workable for calls and the camera – was a complete pain in the ass. Simple things like picture messages and web surfing just refused to work, even with new settings.

So in frustration, I consulted the great phone marketplace called ebay (seriously, if you’re just after a handset, ebay is the place to go). Double checking features and price on a few models, I eventually bought the Orange SPV C550, a Windows Mobile 2003-powered Smartphone. As it was an Orange-brand phone, I could be assured it would work properly.

A Review, of Sorts.

Work it does. The pseudo-Windows interface is a little confusing to begin with (for someone who hasn’t used a Windows PDA before), but it’s soon easy to pick up. It’s no OS X, but it’s a damn sight better than most Mobil phone UIs (with the possible exception of Sony Ericsson’s).

Being Windows based, the C550 won’t natively sync with my iBook. However, there are apps out there to make it work, and I’ll be trying these out over the next few days.

Physically, the handset is a little lighter/slimmer than I expected. It’s not far off the Missus’ K700i. It feels well balanced in the hand, though sometimes the keypad feels a little awkward. If they were maybe slightly rubberised like on the k700i, they’d be fine. But it’s the price you pay for such a large screen, I guess.

The camera feature matches up to the s700i (which is one of the best camphones around) with its 1.3 megapixel resolution. On the C550’s screen, the images it produces are pin sharp. I was a little concerned about the camera when I first opened the box – the lens in tiny! But using it a little has allayed my fears.

The standard mobile phone functions (calling and SMS) both work well. Call quality has been great and selecting contacts is pretty quick and easy. At first I found the T9 predictive text didn’t seem to stay enabled – but this has been sorted and text input is working a treat now.

I’ve yet to fully try out all the phones features, like the media player, web surfing, etc. but so far this is one of the better phones I’ve owned/tried (which is a lot).


  • Good Camera
  • Great call quality
  • Powerful features
  • Large screen


  • Sloooow switch-on time
  • T9 text input sometimes a bit ropey
  • No native Mac sync
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