It isn't all that often a new name enters the mobile phone market, and even less often that that the name hails from the UK. So it is with a bit of a fanfare that I want to announce the presence of Onyx, a UK based mobile phone manufacturer which has just launched its first handset, the Liscio.
According to its website, Onyx is about producing ‘elegant style mobile phones with quality and technology'. No, I'm not sure that is good English, but you get the gist. The website's ‘about us' information is peppered with terms like ‘affordable', ‘aspirational' and ‘lifestyle'.
So it should come as no surprise that the Liscio itself is styled as a fashion accessory type mobile and that its small and neat proportions are emphasised.
Interestingly enough, it is being pushed not only as a main phone for the style conscious but also as a second mobile for those who carry a chunky handset for work and want something different for their leisure time. I can't remember having seen a mobile being touted as a second phone before - anyone out there like to enlighten me on that?
This is all quite a build-up, so you are likely to be as intrigued as I was to see what this mobile has to offer.
First impressions were positive. This is an absolutely tiny mobile at just 90mm tall, 35mm wide and 18mm thick. It weighs just 60g which I think makes it the lightest mobile I have ever reviewed. Its rounded corners and mercury-silver colouring make it look as unlike a mobile phone as any mobile phone can, and its teeny proportions made carrying it around a delight. However, obvious screen and number pad compromises have had to be made to get this phone as small as it is.
The number pad isn't too bad. Its keys are fairly large and the central column of 2, 5 and 8 are separated into a differently shaped and coloured trio that double up for music control. They stand out as a sliver lozenge in grey surroundings and provide for pause/play and track skipping.
This design feature makes it easier to manage the keyboard for swift texting and for number dialling than if all the keys had been designed to look and feel the same.