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At A Glance:
The 639 is a small and slim clamshell phone. The front surface of the phone is designed to reflect images, and is called a ,Magic Mirror,. However, the back cover of the phone looks rather flimsy and liable to lose one of the legs that anchor it to the phone.
Upon flipping the 639 open, one thing that you notice is the tiny screws that are set into the corners of the screen,s half of the phone. There is also a wierd protrusion just below the screen that presses into a groove at the bottom of the screen and turns of the internal screen when you fold up the phone.
The orange backlight for the keypad didn,t agree with me, and I felt that it was a little too dim for my liking. The finish off the phone, especially on both inside and outside screens, retained fingerprints too easily. However, the build is rather solid, except for the back cover which popped off much too easily. Furthermore, the battery is really difficult to remove, so do read the manual before you begin to pry the said battery out of the phone lest you damage something.
Using the phone The Philips 639 uses a rotating circle of icons as menu. This is sometimes confusing because the phone does not respond fast enough when you press the left or right navigation buttons and then your menu starts scrolling out of control. The orange backlight makes it difficult to read the buttons in the dark, and it seemed that the top half of the phone was elegant, while the bottom half was made from plastic.
When pressed against the face, the internal screen acts an kind of facial-oil indicator because it stains easily. Ditto for the external screen, which would probably pick up your fingerprints when you hold the phone up to your face. But if you can overlook this, I felt that it was comfortable enough to use for an extended conversation.
The SIM card slot was a little loose, and I had to shut down the phone a couple of times to prise out the battery and fix this. It happened again just as I am trying to test the messaging. Philips left out the messaging from its main menu, and the function can only be found inside the hotkeys submenu inside the first-tier settings menu.
Other than that...
Surprisingly, the Philips 639 posesses GPRS class 10 technology. There is only 2 MB of memory space in the phone. When I checked the available memory inside before trying to download something, a screen popped up and declared 1596/1978 Kb available. So there, I have proved my point about this phone not having enough memory, which might be one of the reasons why it is a little slow at times.
The voice command menu function was a nice touch, but it was a little difficult to get the phone to recognise what was being said. I would say that one thing Philips would do well to include in this phone would be a help function, as this was lacking in the Brick game, and most of the other applications as well.
The camera uses a rotating jack and plugs into the very same plug that you plug the earphones in to. As such, the camera is capable of rotating around on its axis freely, which is something that isn,t common at all in camera handphones.
Executives from Philips Malaysia recently hinted that the company intended to participate in the ongoing mobile wars, and this first batch of three phones is the first step in that direction. The Philips 639 is one of the three phones mentioned, and it does have some new ideas in the world of handphones.
For a starter phone, the 639 has enough of modern phone technology for the new user. In the future, one would expect to see faster phones and better graphics from Philips. Memory is always an issue in modern handphones, and the 2-4 MB phones from a year ago simply don,t cut it anymore. One way of addressing this matter is to allow for the use of memory cards inside the phone.
However, I must say that RM 999 is a bit too much to ask for this phone, unless it includes the camera and data cable. Although Internet capabilities and innovative ideas abound in this phone, it needs to get a lot easier to use. I suggest that owners of this product spend some time reading the product manual, especially the part that teaches you how to program hotkeys for your favourite applications inside the phone.