I find this phone to be small but not too small. It easy to use, the screen is easily visible outdoors, and the signal is great(Cingular St. Louis, MO). I did not get to buy a camera for the phone. I used the bluetooth and got it to sync with my headset in minutes.
Ease of use
Built in camera would have been nice
Keypad is slightly too small
If anyone is needing a phone that just needs to be a phone, get this. It is perfect for any carrier.
Good options / bad speaker
my wife has been using this phone for about 4 months now.
She practically never uses the speaker phone because it is not loud enough. she can hardly hear me while driving. The mic is also very poor quality, I have a hard time hearing her.
I swapped phones with her, and immediatly noticed the difference in voice & reception quality vs. my Nokia 3200.
The voice dialing option is also very bad, it is much easier to use the 1-touch speed dial.
overall, this phone has nice options, but if speaker phone is a must for you, look somewhere else.
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Lots of Pluses with a Few Minuses
I bought this phone after reading the reviews, and found that everyone was right on. The S56 has a lot of bells and whistles (specifically voice dialing, speaker phone, voice memo, etc.) I found that the bells and whistles I bought it for became a burden. The voice memo has an annoying way of constantly being activated. The voice dialing takes up to 10 tries to get the call to go through. The Speaker phone worked well, but at times my friends complained of having trouble hearing me.
As far as coverage was concerned, I never had a problem. I traveled from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C, Chicago, NY, etc without a glitch.
Good phone not great. OK for the money.
i've had this phone for over 4 months now with attws and i really like it. the rf is great, i seem to get great reception even when others with attws don't. i love the bluetooth and use it all the time with my ibook to log into the internet when i'm away and to fire off pics for the phonebook. java is great too. my only complaints about the phone are the relatively low screen resolution and the small internal memory for storing pictures, ringtones and java apps. also, i seem to have trouble turning the vibrate feature off. it shows that it's off but will still vibrate. that said, it's size and shape are very attractive and i haven't had any problems with ringer or earpiece volume. i really like siemens products and i hope they come out with a quadband phone soon.
Siemens S56 best Bluetooth
I recently switched to Cingular GSM and got the Siemens S56. I wanted a bluetooth phone to work with my Tungsten T3 and Jabra 250 as well as sync with my Mac. It does so with flying colors. The only critique of the S56's bluetooth networking is that I wish it could negotiate more than one device, so I could have my T3 dial or send a vCard, and then immediately thereafter use the Jabra to place a call. Currently, there's no headset profile or other way of getting both to work at once.
Otherwise, its a great phone. I wish the bottom buttons were slightly larger, but its fine. Its amazingly small/light for what it does. The speakerphone can be set quite loud. Ringer can also be very loud when set for "noisy environments". Its almost odd when somehting so small can be made to ring so loud.
And I'm glad not to have a camera - I'd rather put more weight and space towards more usable features such as battery, screen, internal hardware, radio, etc.
Nonetheless, I'll never use all the features and menus this little phone packs (menu system is very intuitive, by the way). But its by far the best phone I've had. Previous phones were all Nokia's and my last was a great, simple, robust model: 3360 with AT&T.
Good RF but poor sound
I picked up this phone because of its good RF and 800 MHz capability. I picked up this unlocked AT&T branded phone on e-Bay.
Currently using phone on T-Mobile in southern NH. Have used on AT&T. Will probably use on Cingular at some point.
Phone lives up to its RF reviews - I could hold calls where others could not. Also use for field test mode - one of a small handful that have that capability at 800 MHz.
Very small, compact. Nice size.
Buttons kind of crammed, but not unexpected for size.
Has data, BT, IR, don't care, don't use.
Disappointment is the earpiece/speaker. The phone is poor in the car. You can barely hear the speaker-phone when you hold it, forget about placing it in a bracket. Earpiece is also very weak. In addition callers told me they could hear all sorts of car noise. Phone works fine/sounds good in a quiet room, but many phones do. Speaker-phone also very tinny sounding. Would not know the difference, except my Kyocera SE47 speaker-phone is fantastic compared to this one.
Would have given 4+ stars if not for earpiece/speaker.
I LOVE this phone. I purchased it not too long ago from Cingular for 199 because I didn't want a 2-year contract. (1year instead).
Small (great to fit in pocket)
Bluetooth (awesome wirless technology)
Easy to use menus (for the simple-minded)
Polyphonic ringtones (to impress)
Sleek design (again)
Long battery life
Speakerphone is GREAT
Color screen is very attractive
Very CLEAR reception
Loud, but not loud ENOUGH.
Color screen could use more colors (only 256 compared to others that have 4,096 or 65,000)
Being so small could be bad if you are prone to loosing things
Keys need to give better feedback when you press them
VOICE DIALING- you have to say it EXACTLY as you recorded it, or you will end up saying it 40 times
Unless you get a bluetooth headset, you won't be able to use any brand to connect to the phone, you have to use Siemens brand headset.
Camera is not a STANDARD feature on phone.
Personally, I love this phone, they couldn't have done much of a better job. I would like to see more standard ringtones on the phone, so it would be a little more professional sounding. I also would like to see better games. I used to have a Nokia 3360 before this... I definietly miss the ease of use, and the explanitory messages after EVERY feature you go to. On the Siemens, you definitely have to read the manual if you are the average joe. I even found my self checking it out a few times how to figure things out. I had about 200 phone numbers in my Nokia when I bought this phone. Thankfully they both have infra red, so I was able to transfer the numbers without even breaking a sweat. (find the number in the nokia and send it as a business card). I don't like how you can't pick a certian ringtone for a certian person. my MAJOR peeve with this phone is that is NOT LOUD ENOUGH! My Nokia was super loud and this just doesn't cut it, but for what it has, I'm willing to sacrifice.
BUY THIS PHONE!!!!
You may have heard Michael Powell, FCC Chairman, remark recently that TiVo is "God's machine."
Well, the Siemens S56 is "God's phone."
This workhorse is amazing. It has everything, and I mean everything -- bluetooth, IR, pictures, etc -- the SonyEricsson T68i had, PLUS
* speakerphone -- amazingly useful
* FAST menus -- no more waiting
* polyphonic ringtones
* an addressbook which actually contains _addresses_ not just phone numbers
* better AT&T Wireless GSM reception
I just bought it last night and have fallen completely in love. For *anyone* who had a T68i, buy this phone immediately. You won't miss the SonyEricsson for even one second.
I synced with Outlook on my PC via IR, then with my Mac via Bluetooth, and now I have two complete replicas of my addressbook. (The SE68i copied only phone + email, not actual street addresses.)
I have no complaints. None. I love it. Now if only AT&T can get GSM service to the next level...
Great little Phone
Just got mine from ATT Wireless. There are a lot of features here for such a small phone. mMode works great with this phone and the reception is wonderful. You coud spend a lot more for the same features but you don't have to. Siemens did a great job with this phone.
Move Over T68i
I've been using a T68i for 7+ months, and it is a great phone. The S56 is better - reception is 5x better than the T68i and it is just as small! AT&T Wireless Services really is heading in the right direction with GSM, taking advantage of their 800 MHz cellular network (this frequency propagates better than 1900 MHz).
A few things that need work:
*more spacious buttons
*world-roaming at this price
*minijack connection for Plantronics headsets
*separate jacks for charging and headset
The S56 is great! One major negative: priced too high for the amount of features it lacks.