At the beginning of May we published my first review of a mobile phone from Fly, the SLT100. I found it reasonable but not outstanding. The headline features such as its touchscreen were let down by some omissions and it ended up with a rather average rating.
Now Fly has followed up with the tri-band SX200. At just £30 this undercuts the price of the SLT100 by £20. It is available from Woolworths on Virgin Mobile.
Handsets in the £30 price bracket draw a different set of expectations from those in the £50 one. We really are in budget territory here, and so have no right to expect fancy features, high quality hardware components or stunning design.
Budget handsets tend to rate low on some elements of our scoring system, simply as a reflection of lower end features. They can pick up points on design and usability, and the SX200 does that.
This is another Fly slider, and it looks very neat when first taken out of the box. The phone is mostly a rather nice shiny black plastic with a silver d-pad sitting beneath the screen. The d-pad has what look suspiciously like music controls on it indicating that this handset is equipped for fans of the odd tune or two.
The other front controls look like they might be touch-sensitive, but thankfully that is not the case. They comprise Call and End keys and two softmenu buttons, and they are backlight white when active.
Overall size and weight are perfectly acceptable. The phone measures 95mm tall when closed, 50mm wide and 14mm thick. When the slide is opened it grows to about 124mm. It weighs a pocketable 87g.
The slide mechanism is nicely spring-loaded and gives a satisfying click when opened and closed. However it is annoying that the lack of any kind of ridge on the front fascia means that your thumb inevitably has to get its purchase on the screen. This results in the screen becoming somewhat greasy very quickly.
The number pad that is revealed when you open the slide is comprised of nicely sized keys. They are again backlit white, though rather unevenly.
The screen is quite small. Squeezed into an area measuring 1.8in diagonally, and 23mm wide by 35mm tall, its saving grace is that its 176 x 220 pixels are sharp and bright, making it easy to read.
Probably one of the more compelling features of this mobile considering its budget price is stereo Bluetooth output. Coupled with the music controls on the front of the phone, which let you control playback, and a microSD card slot on the left edge, you might be forgiven for thinking this could be a good choice for music fans. When you learn that there is an FM radio built in too, you may be even more swayed towards that view.
But all is not what it seems. You are certainly going to need a memory card to build on the internal 0.5MB of memory. My review sample only offered around a half of this for my own use fresh out of the box.
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