Only two months ago we got our hands on the Siemens C65 and sang it praises for being a great phone at a great price. However, having just got our hands on its rugged big-brother we can't help but feel that this new model is so much better - especially for anyone with an outdoor sporty lifestyle. In fact this phone is simply perfect for anyone who enjoys playing outside.
The Siemens M65 has a half-metal case protecting the screen from damage when it gets dropped. It is locked securely at the back to prevent the casing from coming off. Now, we dropped this phone from three metres and it landed without a scratch on it and worked fine - there aren't many phones that you can do that with!
The keys are rugged and feel like you could bash at them all day without any fear of breaking them. The camera and re-charge socket have rubber coverings to help make the phone splash and dust proof.
The M65 comes in a grey and orange design which looks incredibly cool, especially if you leave on the additional coverings. The joystick in the centre of the phone is simple and easy to use; you will find yourself wondering how other phones use buttons rather than joysticks to navigate.
The incredibly sharp 65K-colour screen is a delight to view, and will have you using the camera and video modes frequently to capture those 'awesome' moments when you are out mountain biking, hiking or partying with friends. The interface is identical to the C65 - it has nine folders which you select using the joystick. Messages are the first option on screen and probably the most used function on anyone's mobile these days.
You can also map out two shortcuts for the two soft keys, as well as mapping shortcut buttons simply by pressing keys 3 to 9.
The phone comes with a standard CIF camera, which takes sharp images albeit they are a tad on the small side. With the next generation of phones hitting the market with 1.3-megapixel cameras tagged on you would really only want to be using it for fun snaps rather than serious shots while out in the wild - that isn't to say that it doesn't take good pics, just that they too small for printing. The camera has 4x digital zoom, but we wouldn't suggest using it as all you get is a blurry photo.
The organiser is a simplified version of the more expensive Siemens phones but works quite well. It has a daily, weekly and a monthly planning option, as well as variety of alerts to remind you of those important dates.
There is one aspect of this phone which I think is the best gadget I have seen in a long while. Being a very keen cyclist I always usually carry my phone in the back-pouch of my cycling jersey in case I need it but the M65 has an additional robust mobile holder which you can buy as an optional extra (AU$100) and the phone itself has an advanced cyclometer with additional tour-management functions and navigational elements. It simply mounts in direct view on the bike's handlebar, and displays not only information on standard cyclometer functions but it gives you the option to record new tours on the move or to follow predefined trips that are indicated on the phone's display. It is without a doubt one of the phone's greatest selling points and anyone who cycles should get their hands on one of these phones.
Another useful little feature which puts it ahead of many other phones on the market is the M65's red lights at the top left and right of the phone that you can set to blink in different patterns. Obviously a rapid pulse will diminish battery life but it's great at night when you can't find the phone and then you notice the red lights flashing at you.
Similar to the C65, the M65 has a battery life of around 300 hours on standby and a talk time of 330 minutes. The sound is clearer than that of the C65 and overall no problems.
Anyone with a bike who puts in over 10km a week should own one of these phones because it really is a wonderful mobile for the price and functions.