Siemens's latest offering aims to reach both business users and consumers who enjoy the fun side of cell phones. Like other Siemens mobiles, this Cingular Wireless handset is a stylish model with its fair share of strong features. This handset supports lots of entertaining extras, such as an optional camera attachment, but business users may be disappointed with its battery performance.
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Slim size, big features: Like other Siemens mobiles, the S56 is supercompact, but it doesn't skimp on features.
At 4 by 1.7 by 0.7 inches and weighing only 3 ounces, the S56 is a typically svelte offering from Siemens, with the blue, gray, and silver accents lending it a sleek look. We also like the white lighting of the keypad, which makes it easy to see in dim settings, as does the vibrant seven-line, 256-color display.
Though the navigation buttons are a bit small, they make it easy to wade through the graphical menus. The volume-control and voice-memo keys rest on either side of the unit. Because these buttons are identical, it's easy to get them confused at first; mastering the phone's interface will take some practice.
As noted earlier, you can also attach a mobile camera with a built-in flash ($79.99). While not as sleek an option as the phones with integrated cameras, it doesn't add much girth to the S56's slim form factor.
The contact list stores up to 250 entries and includes such details as company name, street address, and URL. You can also include a picture with the contact info, which will appear on the display when that person calls. Additionally, you can store another 250 names on the SIM card. The call-records feature is somewhat skimpy on details, displaying only the phone number, not the time or duration of your dialed calls. On the upside, the integrated speakerphone provides clear quality on both ends. Along with voice dialing and voice memos, you can record brief phone conversations without a cumbersome connection to an external tape recorder, but make sure you tell the other party that you're recording the conversation first.