In a largely Nokia dominated market, the
SX1 is unique because it's the first phone not manufactured by
Nokia to run the Symbian Series 60 OS in the Asian scene. It
is also unique because it's the first phone to have an eccentric
side keypad with the only function buttons located on the phone's
front face. The Siemens SX1 has a candy bar design and is a GSM
triband device that works on 900/1800/1900 bands. Thus it should
work in any country that supports GSM, though it won't take advantage
of AT&T Wireless'
added 850MHz band in the US (the phone will work on their 1900MHz
As a PDA, the handset is equipped
with basic PIM functions such as contacts, to-do list, calendar,
notes application, and built in voice recorder. Internet browsing
through GPRS supports WAP 2.0/xHTML. The email client supports
POP3, IMAP and SMTP.
As a multimedia device, the SX1 delivers much with a 640 x 480
integrated VGA camera. Video recording at 15 fps is also supported
at 176 x 144 pixels (QCIF). The handset is also capable of sending
multimedia messages (MMS) in pictures and video or through the
image editor which comes bundled with the handset.
The SX1's direct competitors are other
Symbian Series 60 phones such as the Nokia 7650, 6600 and the 3650,
the latter sporting an eccentric circular keypad layout which
is also found in Panasonic fashion phones. The SX1 is roughly
the size and weight of the 6600 and they share a similar wide
form factor. The power of the Series 60 platform is further enhanced
by the SX1, bundling several proprietary multimedia and PIM apps
which usually have to be purchased from third party developers.
Above: the SX1 and the Nokia 6600
What does it look like?
Consumers will definitely look twice at the SX1
due to its novel design. The seven function keys (menu, two soft
keys, two dedicated call buttons, shift and cancel) are located
on the front face of the phone together with the 5-way d-pad. The
twelve number keys are spread out evenly on the left and right
sides of the phone. The prominent loudspeaker grill is located
above the 176 x 220 pixel screen.
Flipping the phone to its right side, you'll
find two dedicated buttons for taking snapshots with the 0.3 megapixel
digital camera and for activating the voice recorder. The voice
recorder button also doubles as the hands free activation when
in a call. The MMC slot is located on the left side. SD cards are
not supported, but you can hot-swap MMC cards.
The 0.3 megapixel camera lens is located on the back, on the upper
left side. The IR port is located opposite the camera on the top
side of the phone.
Inside the Box
Upon opening the box, I was greeted by the
SX1 handset, a Lithium Polymer battery, standard wall charger,
user guide, marketing photos, and the CD with product demo, interactive
help guide and additional applications.
It is important to note that all Symbian Series 60
phones have the standard set of applications bundled with the OS. The
calendar, to-do list, contacts, video recorder, and BT, IrDA and connectivity
functions are all found in the Nokia 3650/7650 and 6600. The same applications
are found in the Siemens SX1, with slight modifications and additions:
Today - A summary of the list of tasks, messages and
appointments is given on screen. It is very similar to the Today screen
on Windows Mobile devices. You can customize the main function buttons
to display the Today screen. From there you can view the day's summary
of appointments and tasks as well as compose messages.
World Clock - Very similar to the 'world time' of the
popular World Mate application for Palm, Pocket PC and Symbian which
displays four different time zones apart from home time.
File Manager - A file directory browser which usually
has to be bought separately for the Symbian OS. This proprietary version
allows users to move files, create directories and transfer specific
items via Bluetooth, IrDA or through E-mail via GPRS.
MP3 Jukebox - The MP3 jukebox searches for MP3 files stored in internal
memory and in the removable MMC card. Playing MP3 files using the
phone's natural loudspeaker delivers a powerful audio experience.
Bitrates of 64kbps play satisfactory especially with the headset.
Siemens has their own proprietary connector for the headset which
is sold separately. This means you can't use universal headsets sold
Radio - The FM radio can be configured manually or
for frequency auto search. The frequency range is from 87.5 - 108 MHz
with six customizable station keys. The radio will only work with the
handsfree provided by Siemens which also doubles as an antenna. This
accessory is sold separately.
Snap Shot - This is the camera application which
allows for standard shots, small portrait shots and landscape view.
Images can be saved to an MMC card or to the phone's internal
memory, and can be edited using the Image Fun application. The quality
of images is a lot better than early Nokia counterparts since the
bluish haze has been fixed. These Images aren't very crisp but
are colorful. The built-in camera can take shots at resolutions from
160x120 to 640x480 in standard mode. The camera has a light sensitivity
of > 30 lux and focuses from 30
cm to infinity. It has a 24 bit color depth.
Image Fun - After taking photos with the built in camera,
you can use the Image Fun application to edit photos to add distortion,
haze as well as borders and text which can be sent wirelessly through
Bluetooth, MMS and IrDA. Edited images are saved as separate files
so users can always go back to the original pictures if they wish to
edit them again.
Other Applications - The SX1 comes with several games
and the ability to run J2ME applications. The most innovative game
bundled with the SX1 makes use of the camera function: it uses the camera
viewfinder window as the gaming screen, and animated mosquitoes fly around.
The objective is to move the camera about and shoot the insects when
you position them on the target reticule.
Wireless Voice, Data and Connectivity
The SX1 is a tri-band world phone, supporting
900/1800/1900MHz bands. It is compatible with the US, Europe and
Asia (except Japan). The natural loudspeaker delivers a powerful
and clear audio which can be adjusted to fit the desired hearing
For data connectivity, the SX1 has an internal modem capable
of speeds up to 53.6 kbps. It sports GPRS class 10 and class
2 fax services.
The SX1 has both Bluetooth and IrDA, and
sending files is a breeze thanks to the simplicity of the Symbian
Series 60 platform. In addition you can use Bluetooth headsets
with the Siemens.
Power and Expansion
The SX1 is powered by an OMAP processor at 130MHz. This is
the fastest Series 60 smartphone with a 0.3MP VGA camera.
It is good to note that the Nokia smartphones on the other
side of the fence are powered by ARM processors, albeit with
109MHz of processing power. The volatile 4MB of internal
memory can be increased through MMC expansion and be used
to save images, video, contacts, multimedia messages and
With a Lithium Polymer 1000mAh user replaceable
battery, charging time from empty to full takes less than three
hours. Talk time with the standard battery is less than four
hours and standby time less than 200 hours. I found that with
moderate usage, the battery lasts a day and a half. Heavy usage
however drains the battery in eight to twelve hours.
The SX1 is the first Symbian phone to support hot swapping of
memory cards (a standard feature for Palm OS and Pocket PC devices).
The slot is only compatible with MMC cards, and SD cards won't
work (the same can be said for Nokia Series 60 phones). The OS
gives a warning message when you swap cards saying that to prevent
data loss, you must first stop running applications that are
accessing the card. The phone stops running apps for you when
you choose this option from the settings menu.
Below, sample photos shot at 640 x 480.
Click on an image to see the full
After connecting the SX1 to my desktop computer
and installing PC Suite, I noticed that synchronization of contacts
and appointments was rather slow despite the USB connection. An
alternative is to try to synchronize using Bluetooth which I did
via the Billionton BT USB Adapter.
What's great about the sync software is that it allows you to
easily organize multimedia files, which was a pain to do in the
older versions of the desktop software.
What's good about the SX1
Bundled software is always a plus for me. For the record, all
Nokia Series 60 phone models do not come with a file explorer,
mp3 jukebox, radio application and an enhanced organizer with
Today screen. The front speaker is also very audible and the
camera set at 640x480 still delivers colorful images, unlike
the 3650 whose photos have a bluish haze. The hot-swap MMC
slot also adds a tinge of convenience since you don't need
to open the unit and remove the battery to get to the expansion
card, as with Series 60 Nokias (other than the N-Gage QD).
What needs to be improved
Obviously the overall design turns me off. Having the keypads
on both sides of the phone doesn't allow you to make use of it
with one hand. Battery life need some work. Even though it has
a 1000mAh battery, it doesn't compare well with the Nokias. The
camera has no night mode. It is also a bit overpriced, and is more
expensive than the Nokia 6600. It is only available in one color, "Ice
If you are looking for a phone that runs on the Series 60 platform
that is packed with features and don't care much about the
design, then this is the phone for you. Though battery life
is on the weak side, Siemens compensates with a rich multimedia
experience, booming audio and a good camera that rivals other
smartphones on the market.
Res 16 Bit 64k Colors at 176 x 220 pixels.
rechargeable user replaceable at 1000 mAh.
310 at 130MHz with 4MB of volatile memory (RAM).
Size:109 x 56 x 19
mm, 116 grams.
Audio:Built in speaker
with digital voice recorder. Music player supports
MP3 format. FM Radio built in with frequency range
from 20Hz - 20 kHz. Power output at 2 x 7.5 mW.
resolution at VGA 0.3 megapixels at 640 x 480 and
160 x 120 resolution with 24bit color depth. Video:
Real Player bundled with phone. Formats supported
are MPEG4, H.263, Real Audio, Real Video and AMR.
Video capture resolution at 176 x 144 at 15 fps
Series 60 OS. Java support. WAP browsers, Messaging
application for email, Organizer functions with Today
screen, Synchronization with MS Outlook 97, 98, 2000.
Synchronization with PC via Bluetooth, IrDA and SyncML
MMC (MultiMedia Card) slot (doesn't support SD cards).
Mobile Phone Network:GSM triband world phone (900/1800/1900MHz).
GPRS class 10 for data.