Orange SPV review

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Having been using this phone since last December, I feel well placed to comment on the review (and phone) of the Orange SPV.

Yes this is the first and so far, only phone of its kind and yes, it does indeed run windows!

Yes, it does have all the features that are mentioned (as well as a few that are not mentioned, for example, the phone is capable of voice dialling but Orange decided against this despite it being mentioned in the manual).

The comment that to find a contact you have to spell out their name is not correct and while you can do it this way, it is slow. Rather, you can hit the key that corresponds to EITHER the persons name, OR their telephone number and the list of available choices will reduce according to the matches found. You are able at any point to scroll through those remaining until you have found the contact you require.

For example, I have a contact “Ian” whose number begins 01273. To dial him I can simply enter the letter “I” and all names with either “G, H or I” will display together with any numbers beginning with “4”. (Not many!), if I then enter “A” the list reduces to those contacts with the letter G,H or I followed by either A, B or C” and so on. However, the phone will also recognise numbers entered in this way and so to dial “Ian” on 01273 I can simply enter 012 and all contacts with this in the NUMBER will be displayed. As there are no letter assignments for the number 0, it will only search numbers!

The comment that the device cannot support MMS Picture messaging without additional software is TOTALLY INCORRECT, the phone can and does support it fully. The camera can also double as a video camera with additional software downloaded from Handango, Oranges Partner for Software and such video clips can be viewed on the phone or sent via email. Normal MMS messages are available “out of the Box”

There is a version of “Explorer” that ships with the phone and is, in reality pretty essential to access the files on the device. This is only a 30 day trial and you will have to purchase the full version to get the most from your new toy!

Other software is scarce at present due to the restrictions by Orange of the software allowed to run on it (Application signing). Although there was a pretty fast “Hack” to remove this, software is still not readily available (Although someone did manage to get Doom to run…..). If you want maps of the London, New York, Tokyo and other tube systems you will be alright as these are readily available. (!!!)

Warnings if you are considering this phone –


The general view is that Orange rushed this phone onto the market without sufficient beta testing. As a result there are numerous problems and bugs. A quick look on the Ms Newsgroup site will show just how prolific these bugs are and we are all waiting for a rather large (11Mb) software update to fix half of them. However, the Danish update resulted in more problems that to overcome meant you had ensure you did not use the key lock on the phone in case you received a text message!

Upto April 30th, GPRS is available on an “Unlimited” basis for £6.00 per month and you must take this option with the phone. (You can cancel it later) However, as some have found such “Unlimited” usage is in reality 10 Mb per month or orange may withdraw the service from you!

Battery –
Lasts less than a day with minimal use. The backlight for the colour screen is so bright it really can be used as a torch!

Outlook –
Has a tendency to send text messages straight to the Sim card and you wont even know they are there unless you “Import from Sim”.

“Tasks” are not as on Outlook but only a list of them – you cannot show progress etc.

Watch the Synchronisation as it will happily allow you to download email to the phone, which when you have read you may delete – this will also delete from your PC Outlook unless you are very careful with the settings!

Manual –

Ignore it. It does not cover half the functions of the phone and forget about trying to use it to set up email and GPRS settings! It lacks any real information but does cover functions that Orange have decided not to implement!

So, MY recommendation? Bearing in mind it is available free on the better known internet mobile retailers with Talk200 and above (and Orange wants £129.99) its worth a shot if you don’t mind the bugs. If you want total confidence, I would wait for either other phones or the bugs in this to be sorted properly first.

All of the above is my opinion as a user. Checking the websites and newsgroups really is essential to making your mind up over this promising but far from perfect device!!

  powerless 15:59 06 Feb 03

"Use a phone box"

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