Ericsson T39m

Ericsson was once the Volvo of the mobile phone world. Its products, while competent and sturdy, weren't exactly stylish. Recently, though, it seems to be paying more attention to design and, if its latest release is anything to go by, it's certainly on to a good thing.

The first aspect that strikes you about the T39m is its size. At 50x96x18mm (WxDxH) it's not so small as to be unusable, but can easily disappear into the smallest of pockets. Its sleek looks aren't everything, for the T39m packs an amazingly comprehensive feature set for such a diminutive device. It's tri-band, so you can use it in the US, plus it incorporates HSCSD (high-speed circuit-switched data) and GPRS (general packet radio service), setting you up until 3G (third-generation) services finally take off. You can talk wirelessly either via Bluetooth or IrDA (infrared data port) and you can even "send and receive e-mail directly from the handset. The phone is also available in a variety of colours.

The T39's menu system is easy to use, which is impressive given that the display only stretches to 34x18mm (WxH). Despite its impressive capabilities, there are a couple of niggles. First, the external aerial adds to the bulk, but it does at least ensure good reception. We also found that our review model didn't link received SMS messages to names in the phonebook, presenting only the number, which is slightly annoying.

The Ericsson T39m isn't perfect, but you'd be hard pushed to find a similar level of functionality in such a small package. The icing on the cake, however, comes with the price. Expected to cost between $750 and $800 as a stand-alone, when sold as part of a mobile plan it should be considerably cheaper than others with some of its advanced capabilities. If you want the latest technology without having to pay through the nose, the T39 is an ideal handset.

Ericsson T39m

4 stars; Price: Around $750 to $800 without contract; Phone: 1300 650 050; URL: www.ericsson.com.au

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