Yes, this review was a long time in coming, but here it finally is:
First off, the two most important things to any phone: call quality and battery life. On the first, the 'vox doesn't do that well...unless the dropped calls I got were the network's fault (they likely were). In which case, the 'vox still isn't spectacular, ranking about the same as the LG 3280, with the 8600's antenna extended. In other words, this phone isn't a super reception phone, though it won't "raze the bar" too bad.
About the second facet of what makes a phone a good phone, the battery life on this thing is freakin' awesome! What do I mean? Um...try nine days before the phone registered low battery... NINE DAYS! As in this beats the previous CDMA records, the LG 3280 and the Kyocera Marbl, by 50% or so. Granted, most of this time was standby time, and who knows...he network not giving the phone any incoming calls and such might've helped, but I did mess around with the phone a bit and nearly a week and a half of standby time on a phone is impressive, especially for CDMA.
About the rest of the phone, it's good but typical. Well, except for a few times when the phone says "please wait" in odd places for a second, such as while calling up the "recent calls" list. But it's not annoying like the molassess-in-midwinter Marbl. Anyhow, the phone is typical in its feature set: web if the network could do it, texting, voice recording and dialing, speakerphone, calculator etc. And the interface is clear enough for everything, though the phone's screen is admittedly small...okay I take the clearness thing back...a little...the external screen font is hard to read but that's the only gripe I have with the phone UI...and it's a UI problem, not a screen problem.
The only thing left to talk about is the phone's design. Here the phone is both really neat and really wierd. Neat because, length and width wise, it's tiny. You can actually perch it atop its own charger, and that's saying a bit because the charger isn't that big. The problem is that this just brings out the phone's thickness. Not that the phone is hugely thick, but it's thick enough to seem nearly absurd in its proportions. But hey, it is small in other dimensions. Which include its screen (internally; the external screen is very large for a phone of this calibre, though of course it's black-and-white) and its keypad. About this last item, the keypad is definately not for large fingers but otherwise is fine for texting and such.
To sum everything up, the 8600 isn't a bad phone. Reception isn't stellar, and the phone looks positively pudgy, but it is tiny in all other respects and the battery life is drop-dead amazing. Then again, I have this bad habit of reviewing stuff after it's being phased out...but if you can get the phone at a good price (BabbleBug does sell it...they sent the review unit to me...) it's a good phone.
By the way, lok for a review of the Kyocera Cyclops a week from now!