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Whenever I get asked by friends and acquaintances for advice on what phone to buy the conversation usually ends with a comment such as ‘but I don’t need all those features, I just want to make phone calls!’
Many technophobes will tend to keep more complex phones at arm’s length fearing they might be too difficult to learn to use. And it is a fair point. Some phones will take you a little while to get to grips with, particularly if you’ve come to them from a very old or very basic model, or even no phone at all. For just this sort of person I’ve decided to take a look at Nokia’s 1110i.
This is about as low-key as a mobile phone can get. It is a smallish candybar handset and is 104mm tall, 44mm wide and 17mm thick. It’s attractively priced too - you can buy it online for around £30 SIM free, then slap a cheap Pay-as-you-go SIM in it. My review sample was blue, sliver and grey, but you can personalise the phone with Xpress-on covers.
As far as features are concerned the list of what is available is basic, though of course that’s the point. There is no camera and no music player. There are however, 20-chord polyphonic ringing tones with ‘MP3-grade’ sound. They do sound fairly good, but not marvellous. This is a dual-band handset, so it isn’t going to be able to accompany you around the world if you are a serious traveller.
There’s a contact database which is limited to 200 entries plus whatever your SIM card offers. The phone can also store 60 SMS messages. There is a calculator, stopwatch, countdown timer, ringtone composer, unit converter, and three games and you can set alarm based reminders. What is perhaps the most interesting feature is that you can get the phone to actually read out the time to you. Setting this as a wake-up alarm is rather, well, alarming. The phone says ‘It’s time to get up, the time is…’ then gives the time. It repeats this till you turn the alarm off and is an absolute nag. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be woken up in quite such a jolting fashion.
There is a speaker so you can use the phone handsfree, but no Bluetooth. While removing unnecessary features is commendable for the target audience I find the lack of Bluetooth to be disturbing, (as Darth Vader would say...ed). After all, without a wired car kit it’s the only way you can safely use a phone while driving.
It’s an extra kicker then that a wired headset isn’t included. I know that this is a low cost phone, but really, come on Nokia. All you get in the box is the phone, the power charger and a small printed user guide, which covers some, but not all, of the phone’s features. On profiles, for example, it offers a mere 16 words. It doesn’t mention that you can set up profiles to activate at set times, nor what it is you can actually personalise.