Siemens has always distinguished in strong positions in a low-end segment, the cheaper the model was the more successful it was in the market and the more customers it attracted. The company has never tried to place the emphasis on its low-end solutions promoting middle and high price ones. Cheap devices have always been copies of previous season models with cut possibilities. This approach is always right because it prolongs the hardware lifetime, uses the same componentry and in one word economical in any way. But sometimes the design of the represented models makes feel sick and tired and then a cosmetic renewal of the device is necessary. Siements A57 is this very renewal.
The design is similar to the one of the other low-end models by the company and even the dimensions haven’t changed any greatly (103×46x21.5 mm, 84 grams). The phone is easy to put into a pocket and projects not much. The appearance will suit any age group and mostly it’s intended for youth. The presence of interchangeable panels allows changing the appearance of the phone quickly. There are a lot of such panels by independent manufacturers in retail. The quality of assembling is average but the phone doesn’t creak, only a number keypad sometimes makes faults. A cheap plastic is used here and it may creak.
The screen has an amber backlighting and the resolution of 101×64 pixels showing up to 4 text and one service line.In the standby mode a screen saver may be displayed on the screen. It looks like big digital clock or a melting tulip.
The keypad is average in size and the keys are distanced well. In general no any problems appear when working with keys. There is a vertical scroll button and a backlighting matching the colour of the display. In localized versions the characters are seen not well in all the conditions, small font-size tells upon.
There is a standard interface connector on the bottom end of the device and a 700 mAh Li-Ion battery is hidden under the back cover. According to the manufacturer it’s capable of working for up to 250 hours in the standby mode and up to 6 hours in the talk mode. In Moscow the real values happened to be less, the device worked for about 3 days in case of 1 hour of talking a day and about 40 minutes of using other functions. And about 30 minutes of that were spent on playing games. If using the phone only for calls and not very often (only 20-30 minutes) it may work for 5-6 days and in some cases even for a week. The manufacturers really managed to decrease energy consumption, thanks them for that.Full recharging takes about 2 hours.
If a headband is not installed the name of the network, time and date, signal level and battery charge are displayedon the screen. Any person dealing with phones by Siemens will easily understand menu organization and even ones who haven’t used such devices will certainly have no troubles. Entering the main menu is possible by pressing a right soft-key. The main menu is represented as a list and may be changed to the view when the only icon takes the whole menu that’s not comfortable. All the submenus are lists; number series are available for moving along the menu. In difference to C55 number keys may be assigned only fast call of a number in the standby mode but not moving to the selected menu items.
The phone supports predictive text input and for Russian also. Fast change of languages while typing is possible and that is certainly comfortable. Let’s consider functions of the phone in order.
Phone book. Only up to 50 names may be stored in the internal memory. That’s little and even if to consider that only one number is possible to save for a name. Any number may be assigned an animation or a graphical image to.
The fact that SIM-card entries are displayed with the ones from the internal memory in the same list makes it all better. Fast search by the first letter is available in the list, it works for any languageand Russian also. But it’s necessary to remember that if having entries only in English and Russian is set as an input language you’ll have to scroll all the Russian letters first. That’s easier to set English as an input language and thus you’ll get the necessary entry at once.
There are 4 users’ groups in the model (Family, Friends, VIP, Others). All the names may be changed and that’s easy to pick names assigned to a group. A personal call signal and its volume are set for a group. SIM-card entries may also be referred to a group and that’s a great advantage. If to remember that the phone has an integrated filtering of incoming calls according to groups the necessity of filling them in gets clear.
A possibility to send mass message appeared for groups and a group call also. The last means that you may choose users before calling (the function must be provided by the operator).
Messages. Up to 25 messages may be saved into the internal memory and there are 9 preset templates, stored separately. Concatenated messages up to 760 characters in length are supported as well as EMS. Standard pictures known from the previous models are provided for EMS.
Call lists. 10 last incoming, outgoing and missed calls are stored traditionally. Time and date are kept for an entry. Call duration for the last, all outgoing and all incoming calls may be seen here. The total duration is not shown.
Alarm clock. It may be set for any day of the week choosing from the list.
Surf&Fun. A wap-browser is hidden here, it is expensive enough due to the absence of GPRS.
You may choose small animations or funny static pictures in the picture menu. There are lost of them for any taste, all are erasable like melodies (not indicated with a note sign), that will increase memory size. The total memory capacity available to a user is 120 KB.
There are four games in the phone. They are Stack Attack (a stevedore distributing boxes falling down),Balloon Shooter (shooting flying balloons), Move the Box (game for logics), Wacko (game for speed, that’s necessary to catch a mouse looking out from the hole).
That’s possible to access a calculator (everything is standard) and a currency converter from this menu.
Profiles. There are several user profiles in the phone and a set of parameters may be adjusted for each, they include call settings, vibra settings and so on.
Settings. Nothing special. There is contrast setting, a possibility to choose a picture as a screen saver, two animated screen savers and two ways of menu design (a flower or a bird).
The quality of connection rouses no cavils the device is reliable. There is a 16-tones polyphonic call alert that sounds pleasantly but heard not in all the conditions. The power of vibrating alert is average. The presence of a speakerphone function is useless due to the fact the volume is too low and nothing is heard.
Today price of the phone is 75 USD and that’s an acceptable price for a low-end device. There is no any functional difference between the model and its rivals by Motorola and Alactel. That’s why one should choose the model which design he likes the best.
We are grateful to Alt Telecom for the provided phone