One of the best things about the M600i is the amazingly large and bright QVGA touch screen. Measuring 2.5 inches diagonally, the LCD boasts a 240x320-pixel resolution and 262,144 colors--markedly better than the Q's 65,536 colors. The screen is saturated with color; images and text are sharp and very easy on the eyes. The backlight timer is adjustable, as are the themes, wallpapers, colors, and menu style (grid or list views). Because of its touch-screen interface, you can easily navigate through the menus just by using the included stylus (it's housed in a skinny slot on the upper-left side). You can also choose to use handwriting recognition, a virtual keyboard, or the dual-function QWERTY keyboard for text input. The touch screen shows smudges after a while, especially if you end up using your finger to select menu options instead of the stylus.
A particularly clever design idea of the M600i is the inclusion of a jog dial located on the left spine right above the Back button. The jog dial proved invaluable for quickly scrolling through contacts, messages, and long Web pages, while the Back button provided an easy shortcut to the previous screen. It's worth noting that the Back button doesn't actually shut down the current application; it just minimizes it. You actually have to go to the Task Manager menu to terminate open applications. This is good if you like to run multiple tasks at once, but we think shutting down applications shouldn't be so tiresome. On the top of the device are the infrared port and a Power button, while the right spine is home to a programmable Hardware button, and a Memory Stick Micro (M2) card slot.
At first glance, it may seem like the M600i's dual-function rocker-style QWERTY keyboard would be difficult to maneuver. It does take some getting used to, as you have to press on the edge of the keys for the desired character, but it's a lot easier than it looks. There are two letters per key, and if you press it to the left, it inputs one letter; pressing it to the right enters the other letter. Thanks to a great key layout, tactile buttons, and predictive text, we found ourselves acclimating to the rocker-style keyboard pretty quickly.
On the bottom of the M600i is a charger port, with which you can either attach the included AC adapter or USB cable to charge. Since the M600i doesn't have a headset jack, the same port is also how you connect the included wired headset. We found this unfortunate because we would have liked to use our own pair of earbuds instead of the ones provided. The Sony Ericsson M600i has a wealth of features that are sure to please smart phone fanatics. Running Symbian OS 9.1 and UIQ 3.0, the M600i also boasts UMTS support and the usual cavalcade of business applications, such as QuickOffice, which lets you write, edit, and read Microsoft Word and Excel documents, and a PDF viewer. The M600i comes with 60MB of internal memory, and in a nice touch, Sony Ericsson includes a 64MB Memory Stick Micro (M2) card with the phone. However, if you plan on carrying more documents or multimedia files, you might consider getting a 1GB card.