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Whip out the undersized 8008 (a.k.a. CL50 in Europe) and you can almost orchestrate the shrieks of delight. "So cute!" seems to be the shared mantra of female colleagues not normally given to girly squeals whenever Siemens's smallest and debut clamshell offering is taken out. A pity then that the German phone maker has gotten it only half right.
To compete with the growing number of compact, relatively featherweight mobiles, Siemens has weighed in with a high-end model suitable for women who prefer their phones cute and wearable. The 8008 is extremely portable, weighing just 73g and with a footprint about the size of a SMINT pastille dispenser.
As can be expected of the Germans, construction is faultless. The dualband 8008 is sufficiently delicate for a woman's hand to wrap around comfortably, yet feels well balanced and robust enough to withstand a few hard knocks. Our review unit came encased in a pearly finish which seemed resistant to scratches and wear-and-tear patches. The back battery cover is well-anchored but slips off easily enough to insert the SIM card. The active flip, one of the best we've seen so far, is free of creaks and well aligned with the base of the phone.
With a bivalve design and dual display, Siemens has taken a rather unusual route. Make no mistake, there's nothing groundbreaking here. Since its stunning MP3-enabled SL45 handset, the European phone maker appears to have lost some of its innovative wind. The 8008 seems to draw inspiration from Samsung's clamshell offerings, and is similar enough in designation to Motorola's v8088 flip phone to confuse.
Inside the box, you won't find any supplied handsfree headset or even a neck strap--a rather surprising omission for a phone designed to be worn. And at a launch price of S$498 for a handset that does not even display in color or offer MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), it's little wonder the street value has dropped to S$398 since its November launch here.
When OK Isn't OK
For a wee phone, the 8008 comes well-endowed. The features are comprehensive, and the only things that might be missed are an infrared port and voice dial/memo.
Some quick-access shortcut keys for call handling are offered, such as the volume scroller on the left side which doubles as a reject button for incoming calls when the flip is closed. The phone also has some fast-access keys for activating frequently used commands.
Unfortunately, the 8008 has inherited the same user interface as the older Siemens models; i.e. not very simple and intuitive and at times just a tad too much of German pragmatism. For instance, the handset requires you to confirm certain actions by pressing the OK soft key on a different button