There's no denying the M600i is a smartphone, with a jog-dial, stylus, touchscreen interface and a modified QWERTY keypad alerting users this is no ordinary handset. Available in a black or white case, it has a stark and blockish build that is relatively small for a PDA-phone. It slips comfortably into your pocket, with its slimline dimensions of 105mm by 54mm by 15mm, and is surprisingly lightweight at only 112 grams.
Its shell is essentially identical to Sony Ericsson's upcoming, with the only obvious difference being the M600i's business-oriented keypad and features. Each key on the M600i's QWERTY layout has two characters located on the lower half, which are accessed by pressing on either the left or right side. Most keys also share their real estate with special characters or numbers, which can be accessed by pressing the ALT key to swap from text entry to symbol or numerical mode. It's tricky to get the a hang of it at first, but we found it faster to type messages on the M600i's keypad compared to using dictionary mode on a regular mobile phone, where you constantly have to spell out new words.
A Blackberry-esque jog-dial and back button on the left side of the M600i provide easy access through menus and messages. On the right side is a hot-swappable Memory Stick Micro (M2) slot -- a 64MB card is bundled in the box -- and a Web browser shortcut. It took us a while to find the power button on the M600i, which is concealed by the infrared port at the top of the phone, opposite the holder for the stylus on the edge. A proprietary connectivity port is located on a the bottom of the handset. Sony Ericsson supplies a charger, USB cable and stereo headset in the kit.
The M600i is a 3G-capable phone with Bluetooth 2.0, GPRS, infrared and USB 2.0 for connectivity. With the relatively rare Symbian OS v9.1 UIQ 3 powering the M600i, there is a slight learning curve for those unaccustomed to the interface, however Sony Ericsson P910i users should feel right at home. 80MB of internal memory provides ample storage for applications and user data, supplemented by the M2 expansion port. Messaging options include e-mail, SMS and MMS, and aside from the dual function keypad, text entry options also include an onscreen virtual keyboard and handwriting recognition.