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November 20, 2003|By Kevin E. Washington

SL56 cellular phone loads plenty into its small package

Siemen's SL56 cellular telephone ($199 with rebate and service from AT&T and Cingular) has style. As a cellular telephone, it is packed with features. But you can get such features on many of the company's telephones. It's the compact way it's built that gives it its verve.

When stored in your pocket, the dual band GSM SL56 is smaller than a deck of cards - about half the size. It weighs 2.8 ounces, measures 3.2 inches long by 1.8 inches wide and is less than an inch thick. An internal antenna makes the phone sleek as well.

To use it you simply slide its keypad out from under the screen half of the telephone. Despite the phone's diminutive size, the display has seven lines and is 101-by-80 pixels. The on and off buttons are on the screen half of the phone and easily accessible. The keypad buttons were a bit small for me, but the women who used my test unit had no problems.

The lithium ion battery, which takes about two hours to fully charge, holds enough juice for 180 minutes of talk time and 175 hours of standby time. It has a built-in data and fax modem. If you want to buy a camera attachment, you can send pictures to e-mail addresses. You can even place and receive calls with the telephone closed by using voice commands. Close the telephone and put on the hands-free speakerphone to really get this phone to rock.

As with many phones these days, you can download games, images and new ring tones into the telephone when you get tired of the standard stuff.

You can get the telephone with a calling plan through companies offering cellular service, such as Cingular Wireless (1-800-331-0500) and AT&T Wireless (1-800-868-8415).

Information: www.my- siemens.com.

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