Mini Review of the Sony-Ericsson T600


The Sony-Ericsson T600 is tiny phone thatís just a tad bigger and 1 gram heavier than the T66. It looks similar as well, and to tell you the truth, I couldnít really figure out what the big difference was (other than the numbers).

Last Updated: 13-Sep-2003

 

Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

General

I would like to thank Payam Mohammadian for spending the time with me to test his T600. We performed the tests over a 2-hour period at the Promenade Mall at Bathurst & Centre Street, primarily because it has so-so coverage by Rogers, thus providing numerous opportunities to test RF performance. Yes, do I prefer to do my testing at Square One in Mississauga, but I chose the Promenade to save Payam from having to drive so far to meet with me.

Like the T66, the T600 is a fairly boxy phone with little or no apparent styling, though Iím sure Ericsson fans will tell you otherwise. Despite it diminutive proportions, the phone is fairly easy to use, and the buttons can be pressed with reasonably certainty, even by those of us with large thumbs. The earpiece has a very small sweet spot however, which was the only real issue I had with the physical characteristics of the phone.

The ringer is incredibly loud, so long as you choose one of the standard Ericsson ringtones. The ringer should be audible even in loud environments when the phone is stuffed deep a pants pocket. For those who like polyphonic ringers however, this isnít the phone for you. The T600 supports only standard monophonic rings.

In terms of menus and functionality, the phone is pure Ericsson. The only thing missing from it was GPRS. It supports only circuit-switched data, which means that you will not be able to use the web browser on this phone when on either Rogers or Microcell Connexions. Neither network allows non-GPRS data connections.

While there was nothing really great about the phone (other than its amazingly small size and light weight), it did have surprisingly good games. All of the games made excellent use of the small screen. At least one of the games makes incredible use of the vibrator, and it generates simply amazing force feedback.

SMS functionality is about average for an Ericsson phone, though readability isnít what it could be. Text messages use a font that is only a single pixel in width, and that means that you need either excellent vision, or you must squint to look at it close up to read. Nonetheless, the font is fairly handsome, and easy on the eyes. In its favor, it does include a chat feature, which allows you to have an SMS conversion without leaving the same screen. Past messages and responses appear in the same window.

I couldnít test battery life during the short time I played with the phone, but according to Payam, 2 to 3 days of standby (with a bit of use) was about normal. Thatís certainly not bad for a 615 mAh battery.

RF Performance and Audio Quality

Incoming sound quality on the T600 is quite good, in much the same way that the T66 was good. It has a reasonable amount of low end to it, and the volume is decent (though it could do with being a bit louder). As noted earlier however, the sweet spot on the earpiece is very small, and you have to position the phone just right to hear full volume and clarity.

During one test call I heard a very loud hissing sound that made it almost impossible to hear the call. According to Payam, that happened about once every 10 calls or so. I couldnít say if this was a flaw in his specific phone, or a flaw in the design of the T600. Itís certainly something youíll have to look out for if you buy one.

Outgoing sound quality didnít quite match the incoming. The problem isnít the overall tonal balance, which is actually quite good, but rather the apparent noise cancellation feature built into the phone. I made two test recordings to my voicemail, one after the other, over at the Promenade Mall (where the testing was done). One recording was made with the T600 and the other with my Nokia 6310i (both on Rogers). The T600 tries to cancel the background din, and in doing so it damages the audio in a similarly annoying manner to the EVRC CODEC on CDMA phones.

RF performance was well below that of my Nokia 6310i. At the food court in the Promenade Mall we stood at a table at approximately the center of the court, and we were able to connect with the Rogers network only on about 1 in 5 attempts. When we did connect, the signal broke up quite badly. By comparison, the 6310i could connect to Rogers 100% of the time, and the audio was rock-solid for the most part. By the way, Payam also had a Samsung S105 with him, and it couldnít establish a connection to Rogers AT ALL.

We next headed over to the Chinese supermarket near the north end of the mall where we walked calls in from the mall. Both the T600 and the S105 held on to the calls to about the same point, but the 6310i was error-free in that same location. The 6310i could be walked almost 40 or 50 feet further into the store before problems even started to appear.

I couldnít really say if I liked the phone or disliked the phone. The sound quality was good, which I always rate as an important feature, but the RF performance was rather poor. Iím not personally a fan of TINY phones, but if you equate small with great, then the T600 is probably not a bad choice for you.

Note, for those of you who care, the phone carried the following firmware version:

Application Software: 39 R3A
Customization: 39-005
Language Pack: 39-17

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