The Siemens M50 offers plenty for the youth market: EMS, Java (and ability to easily download Java-enabled games from the wireless web) and high-speed connections (through GPRS).
Ease of use: 4/6 stars
As with most compact phones, the M50 can be somewhat awkward to use for typing messages. We also found the back cover challenging when trying to open. For voice - after all the key function of mobile phones - the M50 works fine. It also works OK in terms of games and messaging. And the manual was clear and easy to use.
Design/style: 5/6 stars
The M50 continues Siemens' recent trend towards attractive designs. The phone comes with chromium blue or chromium orange screen lights and the orange alternative also comes with orange on all the middle-row buttons on the keypad, making the phone look even cooler. The compact size is also a big plus. It's barely longer than Ericsson's R600, although a bit heavier.
Vital statistics: 5/6 stars
Network: Dual Band GSM 900/GSM 1800. GPRS
Weight: 97 g (3.4 ounces)
Dimensions: 109 x 46 x 23 mm (4.3 x 1.8 x 0.9 inches)
Talk time: Up to 6 hours
Standby time: Up to 260 hours
Game functions (link to wireless web-games and capability of downloading more)
Alarm, calendar, clock
Up to 50 phone entries (plus up to 250 SIM-card entries)
Mobile Internet browsing: 4/6 stars
This is not a good alternative if you want to read documents from the wireless web. It only comes with about three lines of text. The relatively small up-and-down navigator is a bit challenging for extensive use. While we like the backlit light (blue or orange) when we get a message, it becomes somewhat tiresome for reading articles on the wireless web.
The good news is that it comes with a good menu system, making it easy to navigate back and forth in the same web site or on to other sites. More importantly: The screen works for games, which we suspect is one of the key elements for the phone's target group of younger consumers.
Mobile Internet-related features: 4/6 stars
The M50 comes with Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS), so you can send text messages with pictures and sounds. You can either use the standard picture and sound or add your own. The messaging system also lets you use nine pre-set messages (for example "How are you?" or "Call me when you can") - and you can add your own preset messages. You can also send the same text message to a group (Group SMS), which can come in handy. On the downside: the keypad is not ideal for typing messages.
Overall: 4/6 stars
This is a good basic phone for voice, messaging and games. Its Java-capability gives it an extra edge. Big plus is the size and design of the phone; minus is the wireless web options.