After taking over of Siemens's mobile division, BenQ created a new line of mobile phones. Some of them were announced not long ago and some were shown at the 3GSM Congress in Barcelona. Siemens and BenQ phones were also showcased at the booth along with the new BenQ-Siemens models.
The major model is the EF91. One of the strong points of this model is the HSDPA support, the other is the 3.2 megapixel camera. The EF91 has QVGA internal display with 262K colors and an external OLED with 65K colors. The phone is also equipped with 32 MB built-in memory and a microSD slot for additional storage. With the A2DP Bluetooth profile the EF91 has wireless headset support. BenQ-Siemens EF91 feels quite big, but most of the 3G clamshells are big too. What we didn't like is that the design of the phone looks a bit dated. The menu graphics however look really impressive. The phone lacks EDGE support (GPRS class 10 only), it depends entirely on HSDPA for the fast data transfers. The Samsung Z560 is the main competitor of EF91 and although it has only a 2 megapixel camera currently it looks like a better offer. We are yet to see which one of these will be on the market first.
The 3G S81 bar is tri-band GPRS Class 10 and also has two cameras, the one on the front panel is for video calls. The new 3G phone will fight for its place in the class of thin 3G bars. EDGE support is missing again. S81 has 30 MB internal memory, assisted by the microSD slot and supports many audio codecs thus can be considered as a music phone. The phone looks and feels very good and although with a lower resolution display, it has the same colorful graphics as the EF91 model. The BenQ-Siemens S81 is expected to hit the market in Q2 2006 and the expected price is around 300 euro.
The EF51 is the BenQ-Siemens solution for music lovers. It's more a MP3 player, which can make calls than a phone, which can play music. The sound in the headphones is good. The built-in speaker is quite loud for such a small device. Regrettably, the device looks and feels cheap, because of the materials used. Music playback control buttons are located on the flip. Volume control and camera switch buttons are on the left side of the phone. The device has 20 MB internal memory and miniSD card slot. The camera is 1.3 megapixel. The display is low resolution and the main menu looks ugly compared to EF91 for example. BenQ-Siemens EF51 music phone will be available in Q2 2006 and the expected price is 220 euro.
The other three BenQ-Siemens models announced a month ago were also presented on 3GSM. The EF81 3G clamshell seems to be a Siemens design. The phone even claimed to be Siemens SFG75 during the start up process. The EF81 unit presented had a Star Wars theme installed and demonstrated the quality of the main QVGA display, too bad the menu was too plain. The S88 in white with dark theme looked very good and if it hits the market soon it might be a competition for Sony Ericsson K750. The aluminum S68 is good looking too, but the lower class display leaves bad impression.