My £20 Simpleton Special phone has been unwell for some time and has finally died so I have been forced to buy a new one. I had planned to stick to the £20 range again but then I thought ‘No. There is money in the bank, tomorrow is pay day, I’ll throw caution to the wind and spend and be damned. I’m going to raise the phone budget to £50 this time.’
Well, as you can imagine, this is new territory for me. Surprisingly new territory. In the end I spent £45 on something with many, many buttons. It looks like this.
I don’t know why anyone buys a phone direct from the manufacturer. They are all cheaper elsewhere. It makes no sense but then not much does these days.
So anyway, this one was advertised as having bluetooth and I had already decided to make sure that was off and stayed off. I am not having a Borg implant stuck to the side of my head unless it has a laser in it, and I am old enough to remember what we used to do with people who went around talking to themselves.
It didn’t say it had internet when I bought it, but I wasn’t bothered about internet. It has a proper keyboard which means I don’t have to press every button five bloody times to get each letter, which was a big selling point. Also a big screen, easier to see. It does have internet though. It has a special button to link me to Farcebook and all the rest and it links to my Wifi so I can browse blogs on the bog (Yeah. Picture it. Ha!). I have no intention of bothering to link it to Farcebook and as it’s pay-as-you-go I won’t make much, if any, use of it as mobile internet. Still, I have it if I ever get the urge.
The camera is tiny, as usual, and I have yet to test it fully. One improvement over previous phones with cameras I have owned is that this one links to the computer as a virtual drive. Just like plugging in a USB stick. The cable is even included and it’ll charge up while it’s plugged in. The other phones wanted all kinds of weird connection stuff and there never seemed any point using their cameras because it was just too much hassle to get the photos off them. This one – easy. I am a big fan of easy. The camera also allows you to turn off the flash (damn me, it has flash too!) and you can turn off the clicking sound. So I won’t get pounced on by pitchfork-wielding villagers if I take a photo in the street. I will need to get a micro-SD card if I find the camera useful, but they are everywhere now.
The keyboard buttons are small but shaped so that great clompy fingers can manage to press only one at a time. It’s a QWERTY so I can prod buttons faster than on a normal phone although much slower than on a proper-sized keyboard. The greatest part is that I don’t have to repeatedly tap the ’1′ key to get things like commas and apostrophes and question marks, go past the one I want, swear, delete, try again, stop too soon, swear, delete, try again… with this one I can just call up a symbol table.
The temperature/weather aspect is free but useless unless you live in London. There doesn’t seem to be any way to tell it you live elsewhere in the UK.
Ringtones – it is missing my favourite ‘normal sixties phone’ option but I haven’t had that on the last three phones either. A bit of retro would go down well here.
I’ll run it on my old SIM card but set it up to test on the SIM that it came with. Predictably, there were texts from Vodafone as soon as I turned it on, one saying ‘You have no credit’ which arrived before even the nimblest fingers could possibly have typed in a credit code. Your customers a chance give here, Voda.
There was also a text saying I was signed up to lottery number updates and I had to text ‘stop’ to make them stop. I didn’t because this SIM is just for testing the phone. Then I had a message saying ‘you have received a premium rate text but don’t have enough credit to download it. Please top up your credit’.
Well I’m not gonna. This text was listed as ‘nine hours ago’ when it arrived. That’s eight hours before I bought the phone. It is almost certainly a scammer sending to lists of phone numbers and looking for a response. Sending ‘stop’ tells the scammer it’s a live line and he’ll sell it to other scammers who will paste it with junk.
I will send ‘stop’ just before I take out the SIM and file it forever in the box. Let that scammer sell a dud. With a bit of luck he’ll sell a whole load of them to the Mafia which will save the British justice system the trouble of letting him off without a horse’s head in his bed and Tesco burgers in his freezer. If you buy a new phone always do this. Use the SIM it arrives with, let the scam text appear, text back ‘stop’ so he knows the line is live, take out that SIM and never use it again. A replacement will cost you 99p if you don’t already have an old one. We can’t do anything about the scammers but the people they sell those numbers to, oh, they can do plenty.
Many years ago, my brother had a BlackBerry supplied by his work. He does defence secret Q-style stuff, he won’t even tell me what it is but he has a number that airport security have to phone if they want to examine his laptop. Apparently it’s a recorded message saying ‘Fuck off’.
I did like the look of the Blackberry but I wasn’t so keen on the price and it’s still too high. Now it seems there are quite a few low-end (well, low for those less mean than me) phones that are pretty much Blackberries with the street cred taken out.
One thing I will miss about the old dead phone. I was doing well on the built-in Bejewelled game. This new phone has no games.
It does have YouTube and blogs though. Although that might only apply at home – YouTube could wipe out PAYG credit!
This is not an endorsement nor even a fair review. I bought the phone less than 7 hours ago and have only had time to play around a little. The coming days will test its true mettle.
And possibly my finger control.