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Screen, Call Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

The Doro 409s has a small, low resolution screen. It's a 2in model with a 176 x 220 pixel display. However, it's a much higher-quality panel than we've seen in many ultra-budget phones. There are none of the viewing angle and clarity issues we've experienced in the past. Whatever angle you view the screen from, the display remains clear. The colours do invert if you look at it from right above or below, but viewing from these positions is such a rarity as to be a non-issue.

Doro Phone Easy 409s 4

The low resolution doesn't matter much here either, as there are virtually no advanced features to make use of the additional pixels. Two games are included - a space blaster called UFO and casual platformer Robot - but these are tacked-on extras not core features.

We're glad these arguably superfluous additions are sparing, because they would otherwise threaten to dilute what the Doro 409s is out to achieve - a phone that's simple, accessible and cheap without being low-quality. The accessibility point, in the social sense, is one that shows up in the call experience itself.

Doro Phone Easy 409s 2

Within the Settings menu is a high volume setting, pumping-up the speaker output far beyond what you'd normally get from a budget phone. There aren't any of the noise cancellation baubles of a more expensive phone, but the sheer volume is a boon for those without perfect hearing. A speakerphone option is also included, but here the volume is more in-line with what we'd expect from a standard phone.

The Doro 409s has pressed many of the right buttons in creating a "basic" phone, but there are some tech tweaks that we miss. When texting, for example, capitalisation doesn't switch automatically after the beginning of a sentence, so real technophobes may end up forever typing IN FULL CAPS. Switching to lower case requires just a tap on the hash key, but putting ourselves in the minds of the intended users, this seems one cut too far. Predictive texting is included - but is controlled from within the Settings menu to avoid accidentally switching over to this feature.

Doro Phone Easy 409s 7

When judged without due consideration, the Doro 409s is easy to dismiss as low-tech, low-fi and out-of-date. However, closer inspection reveals it to be a thoughtful, well-designed device that has, and deserves, a place on the market. The £59.99 price point marks a new price low for Doro's mobile series too. Previous phones like this from Doro used to cost almost double the price.

Other capable rivals are available for less money, such as the Nokia C1-01and Sony Ericsson Spiro, but these bigger-name mobiles use more complicated operating systems and smaller buttons. Not all kinds of buyers should consider the Doro 409s, but its low price and wide availability - stocked by Tesco Mobile in the UK - marks a new level of accessibility for this kind of "super-accessible" phone.

Verdict

If you're instantly turned off by the Doro Phone Easy 409s, carry on walking. But if its unusual approach appeals, there's a lot to like in this handset. It's affordable, blissfully easy to use following a two-minute setup and is worthy of special interest to those with minor hearing or sight problems. It's not for everyone, but it's refreshing to see a phone that doesn't simply try and cram in as many features for as little money as possible to pop up on the shelves of mainstream outlets.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Design 7
  • Features 4
  • Usability 9
  • Value 8
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

TrustedPhrontis

May 28, 2011, 3:18 pm

You almost miss the point with this one! Its too complicated for my mother in law. It has text, she wont use it doesn't want it, so wont buy it (the phone), even though it would be perfect for her. Not having a camera is not a con its a very big, big positive. There is calling for a very basic mobile with good reception, loud speakers, big buttons easy to press and nothing other than the ability to make and receive calls.
You recently reviewed the Galaxy S II i9100 and one of the cons was "Poor call quality", then gave it nine out of ten! Surely the main prerequisite of a phone must be good quality phone connections and being able to hear what is going on.
I am not being technophobic on this one, I have had a succession of HTC smart phones from before HTC were known as HTC. The only reason I don't have the latest WM7 HD 7 is due to WM7, I will stick to 6.5 on my Touch Pro 2 until such time as I can use a memory card and they have sorted out some of the other issues.

Andrew_TR

June 1, 2011, 4:18 pm

but you can always remove SMS from the menu!

jope

June 28, 2012, 4:27 am

As marketed in Canada with Rogers, big issue with this phone, currently no replacement chargers are available. If you loose the charger the only way to get another charger is to get another doro phone, is to make a 3 year commitment with this company which, if you are unable to do so, means you can not use the phone...As well the emergency button is too easy to push - thus the number linked to this is too easily bothered....It is confusing why to create a simple cell phone of the old fashioned variety Rogers had to go to a european phone model which is why the charger is such an issue

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