Reviewed: Orange snow-mobile

We ask you: what exactly is a snow-mobile? To those of you who wryly answered ‘a small powered vehicle for traversing snow’, we salute you, but you’re

We ask you: what exactly is a snow-mobile? To those of you who wryly answered ‘a small powered vehicle for traversing snow’, we salute you, but you’re wrong. In Stuff land, it’s a Samsung X660 sold with a snow sport mag (Slide) and discount vouchers for gear shops (Ellis Brigham).

The exciting snow stuff, however, comes on Orange World, which anyone on Orange can revel in. We’ll come to that in a minute. First, to the phone itself, which we took all the way to Tignes in the French alps to test.

If you read our launch story, you’ll know this clamshell’s a rudimentary creature: the camera’s a 0.3MP job, there’s no Bluetooth and no MP3 player. It is tri-band, though, and very small, with a battery that handled the cold surprisingly well. Sure, it spent most of the time in our pocket when out on the slopes, but only used a third of its battery in seven hours of boarding – far better than our Panasonic digicam managed.

There’s also walkie talkie-style Push To Talk, though it’s pretty crippled by outrageously high data costs – 1MB of chat will cost you £10, more than three times the UK price. The other downer is the camera, which truly sucks.

What we did like is the Orange World masterclass from Brit boarding queen, Jenny Jones. Tricks such as the strictly-not-for-beginners pipeside frontair (below) are well-described with photos and text. The only shame is that WAP’s still a bugger to navigate and the masterclass is delivered as still photos rather than the videos that were originally planned.

Last but by no means least: the snow-themed games, which are okay. Snow Jam is the best one, encompassing a slightly samey mix of grabs, flips, jumps and rail-riding down a 3D slope. As mobile games go, it’s not bad – we’re just being harsh because we were spoiled by Amped 3 on the Xbox 360 last month.

The phone’s on sale now for £90 from Orange’s site. Anyone on Orange can check out the masterclasses and resort news on Orange World via Sport/A-Z Sports/Snow Sports.

16/02/06 update: Video versions of Jenny Jones' boarding masterclass are now online. Orange also, rightly, points out that Talk Now calls are mighty cheap in the UK - a 30 minute chat using Talk Now only costs a measly 20p and can include up to nine fellow