As a music playing handset, it is always disappointing to see a proprietary headset connector, but that is what you get with the Steel. It is one-piece so using your own 3.5mm headphones will not be an out of box experience.
But then this handset doesn’t really major on music. There is just 30MB of internal memory. Admittedly, this is expandable with SDHC microSD cards but it isn’t a lot to get started with these days.
And while you can boost the memory you are stuck with the dreadful battery. I managed four and a half hours of non-stop music from a full battery charge, with the phone staying alive a bit after music playback was cut off, so that I got a total of 6 hours of life from it. The Soul, remember, managed 11 hours 40 mins of non-stop music from a full charge and a total of more than 17 hours of life.
Other applications not already mentioned include an FM radio, alarms, calendar, memo tool, task manager, calculator, unit converter, timer, stopwatch and voice recorder. Oh, and there is access to Vodafone’s Mobile TV too.
The Steel is very much a middle-of-the-road handset in features terms, though its build quality is impressive and usability well thought through – if your hands are large enough.
If you like this phone it might be worth checking out the not so different but better all round Soul. It is available all over the shop including from Vodafone where it can be had in either its grey and black incarnation or a shade of pink. It too is free on various Vodafone contracts, though you are starting at £30 a month on 18-month plans rather than £15.