Reviewed Dec. 2, 2005 by Lisa Gade, Editor
Check out the newest models, the E-TEN Glofiish X500 and M700.
If you've read our review of the E-TEN
M500 which preceded the
M600, you'll know it was one of my favorite Pocket PC phones. The
M500 was small, light, had great performance, a very bright display
and a nice bundle of custom applications. The M600 builds on all
that goodness, adding the Windows
Mobile 5.0 operating system, WiFi and improved 1900 MHz reception
to an already strong device. In fact, the M600 looks
identical to the M500 since it uses the same casing and industrial
design. Only the color has changed to matte black, as did the color
of the matching cradle which is otherwise the same as the M500's.The
hardware and software are so similar between the two models, that
you'll notice many similarities in our reviews of the two devices.
For those of you who are new to the E-TEN, it's
a Pocket PC phone that's about the size of the popular Palm
Treo 650. The device
is sold under the E-TEN brand and also as the TORQ P120 by
Sound Solutions who purchased US distribution rights. It has a
quad band GSM radio that will work anywhere GSM service is available
with GPRS for data, Bluetooth and WiFi 802.11b. The E-TEN won't
be offered by US carriers but rather by importers in the US such
as Mad Monkey
Boy's Gadgets and Expansys who
sell the phone unlocked for use with any GSM carrier. While unlocked
smartphones are generally very expensive, the E-TEN will likely
sell for around $550 or perhaps a bit higher. The US version, with the final release ROM is the version we're reviewing here.
In the Box
The E-TEN M600 comes with a rechargeable Lithium
Ion battery, stylus, world charger, sync cradle with a slot to
charge a second battery, USB cable, a stereo headset with integrated
mic, manual and software CD.
Design and Ergonomics
The E-TEN M600 is one of the growing number of compact
Pocket PC Phones. Yes, it still looks like a PDA but compared to full
sized unit such as the JASJAR and even the i-imate
K-JAM and Sprint PPC-6700 which
are quite thick due to their slide-out keyboards, it's very small. It's
close in size to the Samsung i730 on Verizon,
but again the Samsung is thicker thanks to its keyboard. Close in size
and shape to the Palm Treo 650, which seems to have hit the sweet spot
for size and form factor, the M600 is large by flip phone standards yet
is much smaller than the mid-size Dell
Axim X30 Pocket PC. Like the Treo and the i-mate
JAM, the E-TEN is
relatively narrow which makes it feel good in the hand and look less
brick-like than large Pocket PC phones. It's slightly thicker than the
JAM and about the same thickness as the Treo, and it feels just right:
easy to grip and hold.
The M600 is finished in matte
black, and looks hip, though reaction varies from "nice!' to "looks
like undercoating". We leave the final decision up to you... these
days shiny is in, so the matte finish takes some getting used to but
does give the unit a more expensive look than the M500's bright silver
finish. The casing is made of plastic, which is true of many PDAs and
phones, and like the M500 it comes with a large, comfy telescoping
stylus that's flat out excellent. The 2.8" display
dominates the front face, with a small circular 5-way directional pad
flanked by two application buttons and call send and end buttons below.
The front application buttons launch contacts (cycles between two speed
dial methods and the built-in contacts application with each press
of the button) and Home which cycles between the Pocket PC Today Screen
and E-TEN's M-Desk launcher. You can of course re-assign these buttons
as you see fit.
The sides are made of lightly
pebbled black plastic which helps keep the device in hand, and you'll
find the camera button, volume up/down slider, voice command button
and reset button on the left side. There are no controls on the right
side. The SD slot and IR port live up top under a shiny black plastic
cap, and the phone's internal antenna resides under the cap. Despite
the IR window and usual Windows Mobile beaming support, E-TEN has
not included IR in the M600. The upper back area houses the camera
lens, flash and self portrait mirror while the lower section slides
off with a press of the latch to reveal the user replaceable Lithium
Ion rechargeable battery. The combination sync and charger port is
on the bottom of the unit and the stylus silo is located on the bottom
right side of the device. The earpiece speaker which is used for voice
calls, is located above the display and the mic is on the bottom of
the M600. The phone has a rear firing speaker which is used for system
sounds and speaker phone. Two LEDs flank the display and indicate Bluetooth
status, mobile phone radio status (blinking green means the phone is
turned on and has reception), notifications (blinking red) and charging
status (red while charging).
You can sync and charge the M600 by placing it in the
included cradle or by plugging the cables directly into the PDA. The
charger plugs into a connector on the USB cable which then plugs into
the E-TEN's sync port or cradle connector. This means you'll need to
bring both the sync cable and charger when traveling. The M600 supports
USB charging as well. Though the cradle has a spare USB port, it
does not offer USB host functionality. The cradle is finished in matching
black and has a slot to charge a second battery.
Phone Features and Reception
The E-TEN M600 is a quad band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
GSM phone that will work anywhere in the world where GSM service is available.
It's unlocked which means you can use it with any carrier's SIM. The
M600 has GPRS class 10 for data but alas no EDGE or 3G. GPRS
is getting old and tired, with average speeds of 30k, so we'd really
hoped to see the faster EDGE standard which offers closer to 100k speeds.
The Phone Settings applet allows you to switch between
900/1800 MHz (Europe and Asia) and 850/1900 (US), though the phone seems
to work when left on the wrong setting and likely auto detects the available
bands. The E-TEN offers two forms of speed dial, one of which is basically
the traditional kind that can hold up to 99 numbers (unassigned slots
are filled with most recently called numbers, ordered by how frequently
you've called them) and another called Index Dial which shows you each
letter of the alphabet. Tap on a letter to quickly see all the contacts
whose first names start with that letter. This is much faster than scrolling
through your Contacts list, though you have that option as well.
Phone Settings allow you to set the ring tone (WAV,
MIDI, MP3 formats are supported). The
device provides settings for call barring, caller ID, call forwarding,
call waiting, voice mail and SMS settings, as do all Pocket PC phones.
E-TEN includes a call filtering app which you can use to selectively
receive or reject calls from specified numbers. The device supports manual
network selection (if allowed by your carrier), and has an auto-answer
option (select how many seconds to wait before the phone automatically
answers calls if desired). Photo caller
ID is standard on Windows Mobile 5.0 devices, so the E-TEN offers that
In addition, the M600 comes with Voice Commander, a
voice recognition system made by Cyberon that's
largely unchanged from the M500. Voice Commander works for voice dialing
(by name or digits) and issuing voice commands to the PDA (i.e.: "start
appointments" or "what
can I say?")
to bring up help and a list of possible commands. Voice Commander works
reasonably well, and it even works
with Bluetooth headsets! That is a rarity among Windows Mobile devices,
though it was also included on the E-TEN M500. While the M500
enhanced the standard Pocket PC Buttons control panel applet so you could
assign the Bluetooth headset's multifunction button to start Voice Commander,
our M600 didn't have this feature. E-TEN tells us that it will re-appear
before the phone is released though. However, if you activate Voice Command
on the Pocket PC, it will play and listen through a connected Bluetooth
How about call quality and reception? Call quality,
both incoming and outgoing is excellent. Calls are clear with
very good voice reproduction. The M500 impressed us with its loud earpiece
volume which was louder than many other GSM smartphones but the M600
offers only average call volume. Call volume and clarity through the
wired headset and Bluetooth headsets we tested was quite good. The
speakerphone is good but not as loud as the M500 we had. We tested the
phone in the US on both the 850 MHz (AT&T
SIM) and 1900 MHz (T-Mobile SIM). On the 850 MHz band used by AT&T
and Cingular in many areas reception is good, with a strong signal,
no noise and no dropped calls. The 1900 MHz band reception (used by T-Mobile
USA and somewhat by Cingular) was a weak point for the M500 but we're
happy to say that it's excellent on the M600. Using our T-Mobile SIM
we got good reception even in weak signal areas with excellent call quality
and no dropped conversations.
Performance and Benchmarks
Windows Mobile 5.0 devices don't benchmark
as fast as their older Windows Mobile 2003 companions because
flash ROM is slower than RAM, so "disk" access is slower. All Windows
Mobile 5.0 Pocket PCs and phones use flash ROM, otherwise called
persistent memory for program and file storage: it may be slower
but it won't get wiped out when the battery runs completely dry,
unlike RAM. That said, just as the M500 was a very quick Pocket
PC, the M600 is leading the pack in most tests among Windows Mobile
5 devices. Not only that, it feels faster with less of the delays
opening the Start Menu and launching core apps when compared to
fast Pocket PCs like the HP iPAQ hx2790 and Dell
Axim X51v. Good going, E-TEN!
The M600 runs on a 400 MHz Samsung S3C 2440
processor that's ARM/XScale compatible and E-TEN gets excellent
performance out of it. The phone is responsive and both games and
videos run well on it.
Display, Gaming and Multimedia
The M600 has an impressive 2.8" LTPS TFT
color display that's crisp, color saturated and much brighter than
most other Pocket PCs.The device supports both
portrait and landscape modes and has a shortcut icon on the bottom
of the Today Screen to quickly change screen orientations.
Like all Pocket PCs, the E-TEN can play MP3s
using the included Windows Media Player 10. For best sound you'll
want to use the included good quality 2.5mm stereo headset rather
than the integrated mono speaker.
You can control system and ring volume separately
by tapping the speaker icon at the top of the Today Screen and
you can adjust call volume using the slider on the side of the
phone when in a call. In addition, the M600 has a mic gain settings
applet with separate settings for phone, voice recorder and Bluetooth.
The E-TEN supports MIDI, WAV and MP3 ringtones (put ringtones in
the Windows/rings folder). Like all Pocket PCs, it can record voice
We use TCPMP,
a fast open source free video player that supports MPEG1, DivX,
AVI, ASF and WMV files to benchmark video playback. TCPMP played
Chosen", (a neat BMW flick with Clive Owen) which is a 4:26
minute long, 10 meg MPEG1 file recorded at 320 x 240, 308 kb/s,
with benchmarks of:
Average speed: 274.30%
Bench Frame Rate: 65.83
Bench. Data Rate: 849 kbit/s
Orig. Frame Rate: 24fps
Original Sample Rate: 44100
Orig. Data Rate: 310 kbit/s
That's not as fast as the E-TEN M500 and pre-Windows
Mobile 5.0 devices, but it's pretty good and the device handles
files up to 600 kbps well.
Benchmark Results, comparing Windows
Mobile 5 PPC Phones
Directory list of 2000 files (thousands
Internal database read (records/sec)
Graphics test: DDB BitBlt (frames/sec)
Graphics test: DIB BitBlt (frames/sec)
Graphics test: GAPI BitBlt (frames/sec)
Pocket Word document open (KB/sec)
Pocket Internet Explorer HTML load (KB/sec)
Pocket Internet Explorer JPEG load (KB/sec)
File Explorer large folder list (files/sec)
Compress 1 MB file using ZIP (KB/sec)
Decompress 1024x768 JPEG file (KB/sec)
Arkaball frames per second (frames/sec)
CPU test: Whetstones MFLOPS (Mop/sec)
CPU test: Whetstones MOPS (Mop/sec)
CPU test: Whetstones MWIPS (Mop/sec)
test: copy 1 MB using memcpy (MB/sec)
Bluetooth and WiFi
The M600's Wireless Manager is where you'll
turn on and off the three wireless radios: GSM, WiFi and Bluetooth.
You can launch the manager by tapping its icon on the bottom
of the today screen, or by launching it from M-Desk or the
programs group. An x appears next to a radio that's turned
off, and amusingly you can tap the hammer to turn all radios
on or off.
E-TEN uses their own Bluetooth Manager which
features a wizard interface to get you connected to Bluetooth
headsets, your ActiveSync partner, or to transfer files over
FTP/OBEX. The device supports headset, serial port and vCard
exchange and you can control its discoverability.
The WiFi manager, called WLAN Utility, gives
you comprehensive information on your current connection and
offers power saving settings. It's a nice addition over the
basic Windows Mobile 5 networking control panel which provides
very little connection information.
The Wireless Manager
WLAN (WiFi) Utility
Bluetooth behaved well, offering good range and
sound quality with a variety of headsets including the Plantronics
Discovery 640 and the Motorola HS500. I tested the HS500 with
Voice Commander and it recognized my voice commands accurately
in all but very noisy environments, which is an improvement over
the M500. WiFi connections were reliable and range was good. Since
the M600 lacks EDGE or 3G, WiFi is an invaluable addition.
Like all Pocket PCs running Windows Mobile 5.0,
mobile versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint viewer, Internet Explorer
and Outlook are pre-installed in ROM. Other pre-installed Microsoft
apps include Picture & Videos, Voice Recorder, Terminal Services,
Pocket MSN (MSN Messenger, Hotmail and MSN Mobile rolled into
one app), Solitaire, Jawbreaker, ActiveSync and Calculator. Windows
Media Player 10 Mobile is included and you'll use that for MP3
and movie playback, though you can use your favorite 3rd party
application for those tasks as well. ActiveSync 4.0 and Outlook
2002 for Windows PCs is included on a CD, as is a PDF
E-TEN includes an impressive selection
of their own value-added software with the phone. Not only
that, you'll use the Extra Applications program on the Pocket
PC to install only the ones that you want— very cool.
User installable apps include Add Ringtone, Voice Commander,
Phone Dialer, Image Maker, Image Wizard, M-Desk, Multimedia
Manager and Speed Dial.
M-Desk is a Today Screen
replacement with tabs for Phone, PDA and Fun. Each tabbed
screen has icons for appropriate apps and you can customize
these with your preferred apps as well. The forth tab, System,
gives you fairly comprehensive view of system status: battery
charge, available RAM, and SD card memory, backlight
setting and it has shortcuts to File
Explorer, Bluetooth Manager, WiFi Manager, Wireless Manager
and Sounds. In addition, there are screen rotation icons
at the bottom which allow you to quickly switch between left
and right-handed landscape modes and portrait mode.
Unlike the M500, the M600 doesn't come
with a backup application. The likely reasons are that you
don't need it as much since Windows Mobile 5.0 features persistent
memory which means your data won't be lost if the battery
drains down; and many backup apps don't yet work with WM5
so E-TEN probably couldn't get it working in time for release.
The M600 should ship with Skype (VoIP),
however it wasn't ready in time for our pre-production model.
For multimedia, you get an image editor called
Image Maker; Image Wizard, an app that puts frames around photos;
the camera application and Multimedia Manager which plays back
videos taken with the smartphone and functions as an image viewer.
It works with JPEG, BMP, GIF and PNG still images and has a slide
show feature with transitions and audio. All integrate with the
included MMS client. Phone apps include an MMS composer that worked
well with our US carrier settings for T-Mobile and AT&T Wireless,
a call filter, SIM Manager, SIM Tool Kit, the speed dial app described
earlier and wireless modem for using the phone as a modem for a
PC over Bluetooth. And for voice dialing you get Voice Commander
which works directly with the handset, over wired headsets and
The E-TEN has a 1440 mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable,
user replaceable battery. That's a good capacity battery by Pocket
PC phone standards. Though the device has a smaller display and
persistent memory, both of which use less power; WiFi likes
lots of juice, so we're glad for the ample battery. The unit can
be charged in the cradle, which also has a slot for a second battery,
or you can plug the cables directly into the M600. However, the
power cable must first be plugged into a pigtail on the USB sync
cable which terminates in a proprietary connector on the M600.
This means you must bring both the USB cable and charger with you
when traveling. The M600 also supports USB charging. The battery
should last you two to three days if you're a light phone and PDA
user. If you talk an hour a day and use WiFi for an hour or two,
plan on charging nightly.
The E-TEN M600 has a 1.3 megapixel camera with
LED flash capable of shooting still shots and videos. The maximum
photo resolution is 1280 x 960, with options for 640 x 480, 320
x 240 and 176 x 144. The camera can save files in JPEG and BMP
formats and has 2x digital zoom (use the volume slider on the side
of the phone to zoom). You can record 3GP video with audio at 320
x 240, 176 x 144 or 128 x 96 resolution. On the desktop, Quicktime
couldn't play the videos properly but RealPlayer had no problems.
The camera app offers a wealth of settings, including white balance,
special effects, timer and continuous shooting of photos. The camera
viewfinder takes up the entire screen and you can change between
portrait and landscape orientation with the tap of a button. If
you tap on the wrench icon, large, mostly intuitive settings icons
appear circling the screen's perimeter— an
interesting and friendly user interface. The camera offers a wizard
option which allows you to immediately do a variety of things with
an image you've just taken: send it via MMS, edit it using the
included Image Maker application, trash it, view it in Multimedia
Manager or Frame it using Image Wizard.
Image quality is average by camera phone standards.
it's better than the Motorola MPx220 certainly but not nearly as
good as the Nokia 6682 or LG
VX9800. The camera doesn't do well
in low light, with plenty of noise in shots, though the flash does
help when shooting subjects that are in close range. The flash
can be manually disabled. The E-TEN is slow saving files to an
SD card (we used a very fast SD cards as our save destination)
at highest resolution , and there is a bit of
shutter lag. There is no shutter lag when saving photos to RAM,
and files are saved faster. Video quality is quite good by mobile
standards and the accompanying audio is decent.
outdoors on a cloudy day
indoors with incandescent lighting
An excellent Pocket PC phone that's compact,
well-built and stable. If you have an E-TEN M500 or a TORQ P100
you may see little reason to upgrade beyond persistent memory and
WiFi, but for others, it's well worth a look. The device should
be reasonably priced and will work with any GSM carrier around
the world. The triple wireless will keep you connected to the
Net and your favorite Bluetooth devices and battery life is good
Pro: Compact form
factor, extremely bright color display, has WiFi and Bluetooth
1.2 and battery life is good by Pocket PC phone standards. Reasonable
price compared to some other Pocket PC phones, especially pricey
HTC models. Unlocked for use with any GSM carrier.
Con: No EDGE for
faster data transfer over GSM networks.
LTPS TFT color LCD. 65,536 colors, screen size diag:
Resolution: 240 x 320. Supports portrait and landscape
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 1440
mAh. Claimed Talk time: 3.5~4 hours, stand by: 150~200
MHz Samsung S3C 2440 processor (100% ARM and XScale
compatible). 64 MB built-in RAM.
128 MB Flash ROM with 81.56 megs available for your
x 60.7 x 22 mm, 4.4" x 2.39" x 0.86".
Weight: 165 grams, 5.8 ounces.
in speaker, mic and 2.5mm stereo headphone jack.
Voice Recorder and Windows Pocket Media Player 10
included for your MP3 and video pleasure.
band GSM phone: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz. GPRS class
10 for data.
Bluetooth 1.2 and WiFi 802.11b.
MP CMOS camera with flash capable of taking still
photos and video with audio. Max. resolution: 960
x 1280 still shots and 320 x 240 video. Camera lens:
f 1:2.8 aperture.
Mobile 5.0 operating system.
Microsoft Mobile Office suite including Word,
Excel, PowerPoint (view presentations only), Internet
Explorer and Outlook. Also, Terminal Services, Pocket
MSN (MSN Messenger, Hotmail), Windows Media Player
10 Mobile, Photos and Videos, and Voice Recorder,
Solitaire, Jawbreaker as well as handwriting recognition.
3rd party and E-TEN software: M-Desk launcher and
system monitor, Image Maker, Image Wizard, Multimedia
Manager, Camera, Voice Commander,
E-TEN Bluetooth Manager, WiFi Manager, Wireless Modem,
MMS Composer (some regions only, otherwise use Outlook
on the device to send MMS), Call Filter, Speed Dial,
Battery Meter, SIM Toolkit, Scenarios (create profiles
for four different environments such as outdoor and
meeting). ActiveSync 4.0 and Outlook 2002 for PCs
SD (Secure Digital) slot supporting SDIO and SDIO Now!