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BenQ-Siemens M81

 BenQ-Siemens M81 Available now
13th June 2006

The BenQ-Siemens M81 is the latests in the M-series of ruggedised handsets from this manufactuter, following on from the ME75, M75 and going all the way back the Siemens M30 Active of 2000 (and even the Siemens S10 Active from a couple of years before that). These handsets have slogged it out with the rival Nokia 5000 series for several years now.

So, it's a little coincidental that the BenQ-Siemens M81 should be announced so soon after the Nokia 5500 Sport, but here it is. But while the Nokia 5500 is a pretty exciting handset in its own right, it turns out that the BenQ-Siemens M81 is basically just a slight upgrade to last year's M75 model.. or put another way, it's the BenQ-Siemens C81 in a rubbery case.

Like the M75, the M81 has a 132x176 pixel display, 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, an MP3/AAC player and expandable memory using RSMMC cards, although the M81 does now boast stereo Bluetooth and a torch. It's quite a bit lighter than the M75 too - the BenQ-Siemens E81 weighs 96 grams which is 14 grams less than the older handset.

 BenQ-Siemens M81 back The M81 also has an email client, web browser, enhanced 3D gaming, USB 2.0 support and EDGE high speed data, and the M81 has around 6 hours talktime. It's a fairly well specified phone - not as good as the Nokia 5500, but certainly better than the Nokia 5140i.

It's a good deal less chunky looking than the older handset, but then the M75 came with a strengthened metal chassis that the M81 doesn't appear to have. Still, the M81 is dust and water resistant, and also comes with a lens cover for the camera - so it should probably survive most things that you can throw at it.

There's also an optional GPS accessory which BenQ-Siemens say can turn the M81 into a navigation system although details are sketchy. Still, it would make a interesting rival to the Benefon Twig Discovery, although we feel that the 132x176 pixel display is going to hamper the M81's abilities.

BenQ-Siemens say that the M81 will be available in "Graphite Black" and "Steel Blue" colours schemes for delivery from Q3 2006 onwards.


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BenQ-Siemens M81 at a glance


Q3 2006


GSM 900/1800/1900




132x176 pixels, 262k colours


1.3 megapixels


Medium candy bar
105x48x18mm / 96 grams



Memory card:








Battery life:

6 hours talk / 12 days standby


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