"The Siemens A56i works solidly for what it was made for, communicating. It holds an excellent signal"on by smd89
Pros Long talk time, durable, large phone book , simple interface, great emergency phone
Cons Small keys, lackluster feature set
Summary The Siemens A56i works solidly for what it was made for, communicating. It holds an excellent signal with clear, crisp sound in places that many cellphones cannot. While the a56i may not have the fanciest features that are currently available on the market, it does what it is made for well. It does have such features as text messaging, a light organizer, and a few games for downtime. The phone is fully customizable with downloadable backgrounds, games, and decent quality ringtones which are available through Cingular's download services. The phone holds 500 numbers which is enough for even the most social consumers. With a battery life of about 4 days it can last for weekend trips without the worry of having to take a charger along.
The Siemens a56i is a cleanly built phone with an orange backlit display, and a smooth blue cover with silver highlights. The cover is fully removable making it so that one can easily change the style of the phone to fit ones tastes without problems. Although the phone is extremly light and small, the phone has a sturdy feel, having a durable cover, which lasts drops that very few electronics can survive. I suggest if one wants to change their cover that they buy the cover directly from Siemens or Cingular as I found that mall bought covers were flimsy, with the plastic screen cover easily slipping out and sliding around. Another problem I found is that the keys are rather small, I suggest that you try them out before you buying the phone to make sure that you can easily dial numbers.
I highly recommend the a56i as a starter phone, with an easy to comprehend layout and feature set, it is an excellent choice. Although it is rarely found in stores, the phone can still be found on ebay for around then 20 dollars. With a prepaid sim card from cingular the phone can be made into an excellent solution for emergency and light use.
Pros decent battery life, compact design quick access features, other features
Cons black and white & small screen, monotone ringtones, headphone connection is same place where AC power is plugged in
Summary there's a quick access button to toggle sound modes (full, vibration only, or nothing), can set quick access buttons for utilities like calculator and alarm clock, set speed dial numbers, and has true vibration + audio mode simultaneously (as opposed phones these days, it's vibrate first half of the ring, THEN you hear the audio ringtone).
This phone came with a decent set of games and ringtones. For some, that's meager, but for me, it was enough, as all I wanted was a basic phone that can make clear calls, log IDs, etc. just fine. The games aren't that bad, but are few in number and you can't really add extras. No biggie. I didn't need any extra wallpapers, ringtones, games, and other features anyways. For games, PIMs, and other features, my PDA will suffice. The small B&W screen was good enough for my use, but keep in mind that i didn't do any text messaging nor web browsing at all with this phone.
I have used a Motorola V66 and V188 (T-mobil) since this Siemens a56. While the latter 2 phones are still basic phones with better feature set, I still miss many of the quick access features and such that I took for granted on the a56. If you you want a phone that just makes calls and has a bunch of convenient keystrokes... this will work well. If you also do alot of web browsing, text messaging, and games, then this phone probably isn't for you. If you want features like multimedia, digicam, fancy ringtones, voice dial, speakerphone, etc., then definately find another phone.
I have upgraded my phone features to between entry and mid level phone and gotten used to voice dialing, speakerphone, and external screen, but if i had to return to this phone, i can't say I would really mind. It was a great experience.Updated
One thing that did annoy me about this phone was the earbuds. Other than not being included (but this was back in late '03), the earbuds shared the same connector as the charger, so it was one or the other. The convenience of hands free conversations or steady stream of power to prolong your talk time if your battery got dangerously low? I had to make this choice a few times. Unfortunately, the lost productivity or need to wait till recharge wasn't life shattering, but still annoying none of the less.
Balloon Shooter and Stack Attack were nice for B&W games. Options like backlight always on and vibration are small but but nice choices to have. The games are basic old school arcade like games where you keep on playing for the high score until you die. Again, I have a seperate PDA with much better color games, but I have came back to these 2 titles from time to time just to see if I could beat my old high score. THAT killed off some time easily. It also did a number on my eyesight, as the small screen, despite being backlit, was did hurt my eyes for prolong playing periods. I'm sure the fact that these games have some good replay value will at least make it a serviceable supplemental gaming device, especially given you can't add any other games to it.
Pros Painfully simple, has that tiny cool factor, takes a beating and works fine
Cons No color screen, messaging can be limited, games were awful
Summary I had this phone for two years, and upgraded to a much fancier Nokia, and actually miss it a lot. It has everything you want if you just want to chat by phone or SMS -- had many an interesting messaging conversation. It's even Yahoo! IM capable.
It's so tiny, which could make it easy to lose, but it fit comfortably in my pocket and had great sound quality. I got so many great compliments over the phone's smallness. People didn't believe it worked great, but it did and for quite a long time. The buttons were tiny, but are easy to press.
I do enjoy having a mult-color phone with polyphonic ring tones and more difficult games, but that's just a bonus. I had both a Siemens A56 and a Kyocera KX414, a much more expensive phone, and I had a ton of problems with the Kyocera, including freezing a OS. I guess simpler can be better.
If you want a basic phone that works great, even when dropped by me many many times, it's the best choice you could possibly make.
Pros i <3 the orange light, it makes it unique
Cons you could charge it for a week straight, but then leave it on for 2 days and use it once and there wont be any battery left. Gets warm fast, but its ok in the winter.
Summary My little phone, i like this phone. It was free and the light is cool. Its very tough, this phone must have been dropped and thrown over 50 times, and it still works. It was even throw across the room and hit a radiator, and has a crack on the front, but it still works. It does get very warm fast if your talking on it for a while, but when it cold outside like in the winter its ok. I'v had it for alittle over a year and its been good. It is very small, so i'v lost it a few times, but i like it.
Pros I lked the brightness of the display and the key's are easy to find
Cons phone is a little too small
Summary over all I like this phone, it's easy to use for call's, text messeges and email, it is basic and doesn't have a lot of extra's and it is small, at times it can be hard to hold onto but over all it works good, I've droped mine atleast 50 times and everything still works, I was happy enough with it that when I switched service I stayed with a siemans phone and kept service on this one just in case