Siemens won our praise last year for its attractive slider handset, so we eagerly awaited the company's first flip phone, the CF62T. Sporting a cool blue hue and a wraparound antenna, the CF62T will undoubtedly catch attention. Alas, other than solid battery life and decent sound quality, there isn't much to distinguish it from other entry-level mobiles. Still, if you can get over a few design quirks, the CF62T for T-Mobile delivers good, clean voice calls. Though it's quite fairly priced at $199.99, T-Mobile might offer it at a discount with service.
Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more. Easily distinguishable from Siemens's long line of candy bar-style handsets, the CF62T is a light and relatively compact phone. Weighing only 3.2 ounces and measuring 3.2 by 1.7 by 0.9 inches, it won't add much bulge to a pocket, and its construction seems relatively solid. The distinctive looped antenna adds another half-inch or so to the total length, but it's handy for clipping to a belt or a strap. The mobile gets additional points for its stylish silver and blue coloring and the blue-backlit external display that shows the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). We also liked the plastic strip around the outer shell of the phone that flashes for incoming calls.
Once we opened the handset though, we weren't so approving. The 1.5-inch-diagonal internal display shows 65,000 colors, but it isn't very bright or vibrant and is hard to read outdoors. Though it's fine for showing numbers or text, the screen isn't great for images or games. The navigation controls--consisting of two soft keys and a four-way toggle--are better but not by much. Though they're well spaced, the buttons are a bit slick and not very tactile. The four-way toggle gives three shortcuts to your messages, the call log, and the voice recorder, but none those functions are labeled on the key itself. Likewise, the animated menus are attractive, but navigation takes some acclimation, due to the lack of a dedicated OK button or Back key. Instead, one of the soft keys serves this purpose while the other gives one-touch access to T-mobile's T-zones service.
The keypad buttons also are subpar. Since they're set flush with the face of the phone, dialing by feel is difficult, and the dim backlighting barely illuminated the numbers. We also would prefer volume controls on the side of phone--we had to remove the handset from our ear during a conversation to adjust the sound.The Siemens CF62T is designed primarily to make voice calls, so its feature set doesn't stray far from the basics. The phone book stores up to 500 contacts with room for two numbers in each entry; an additional 250 names can be saved to the SIM card. Since the phone's 1.5MB memory is dynamic, the size of the phone book will decrease if you save games and applications.
You also get a speakerphone, two-way conference calling, text and multimedia messaging, a memo pad, a calendar, a currency converter, a calculator, an alarm clock, and a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. Alert options include a vibrating ring, a differential ring, and eight 16-chord polyphonic ring tones. Unfortunately, ring tones can't be assigned to individual callers.
For gamers, the CF62T comes with a choice of three Java (J2ME)-enabled games: Dynamic Light Composer, Mobiloko, and Wappo. You can customize the handset with a selection of wallpaper, and you can download more ring tones, wallpaper, games, and productivity apps from T-Zones.We tested the triband (GSM 800/1800/1900; GPRS) Siemens CF62T world phone in New York City using T-Mobile's network. The signal was consistently strong, and the call quality was excellent. Even using the supplied microphone and earpiece, we were able to get good call quality with little static or background noise. Our only issue was with the speakerphone: its sound was distorted, and the volume was too low for most environments.
The CF62T delivered 5.5 hours of talk time, beating the rated talk time by an extra half hour. We managed 7.5 days of standby time, more than a day shorter than the promised 9 days but still respectable. According to the FCC, the CF62T has a digital SAR rating of 1.32 watts per kilogram.