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Toshiba certainly isn’t the first name that springs to mind when it comes to mobile phones. But as one of those Japanese companies that seems to make almost everything it’s no surprise to find that it has turned its hand to 3G with the release of the TS 921, available exclusively on Vodafone.
Following its shaky launch on 3, 3G has had to shake off the image of bulky, battery draining handsets and since Vodafone launched its own 3G offering, with phones such as the Sony Ericsson V800, it has very much achieved that. Indeed, even the V800 phone is now looking on the large side now that petite 3G phones such as Samsung’s Z500 have appeared.
So opening the box and taking out the TS 921 was something of a blast from the past. You see, it’s big. Very big. The dimensions are 111 x 50 x 25 mm and it weighs 148g. That’s enough to put a lot of people off the phone right away, and in many respects you can't blame them. The Motorola Razor V3 still sets the benchmark when it comes to size and that’s what most people want in their pockets, despite the fact that in terms of ease of use the V3 one of the poorest phones on the market.
It's just that most consumers are desperately shallow when it comes to mobiles – they want them to look thin and pretty and don’t care so much about how smart they are as long as they can engage in basic conversation. And like most people’s brains, people rarely use more than ten per cent of the power of their mobiles.
Similarly with the TS 921. It’s easy to dismiss on grounds of bulk but delve a little deeper and you’ll find its size actually does give it some advantages.
It’s a clamshell style phone and while it feels large in the hand, it feels solidly made too, an improvement over some of the rather flimsy phones such as the Sanyo S750. The rounded edges are pleasing and the phone is embossed in various places with the Vodafone logo. There’s an external screen, which can be set to display a picture. When you do this there’s a tool that cuts out a section of the picture so that you can get the most suitable part to fit the small screen.