The Vodafone Emporia RL1 is a mobile phone that looks and feels like a home phone. Whether you want to ditch your home phone line without losing that home phone feel, or are looking for an easy-to-use mobile for an elderly relative, this could be what you're after.
The Vodafone Emporia RL1 is not like most phones. It has the utilitarian design of a home phone but is actually a mobile. To anyone who has shopped around for a SIM-only offer recently, the benefits of this are obvious. A home phone line costs upwards of a tenner a month, but a similarly-priced, SIM-only contract could get you all the minutes you need, as well as letting you make calls on-the-move.
This phone comes with a design bonus too - its large buttons and ultra-clear screen make it suitable for use by the elderly. Or those with minor physical ailments who can't deal with the tiny buttons and busy screens of today's smartphones. As such, it's gunning for a similar audience as the Doro Phone Easy 409s.
Its front buttons are huge and square, taking up as much space as possible. This not only gives your thumbs plenty of space to work in, it also lets the on-button text use a much larger font than other phones. Using a high-contrast white-on-black colour scheme, the numbers and letters on each key couldn't get much clearer.
The buttons require a proper prod, which may not be perfect for those with severe arthritis, but there's no mistaking the firm click with which each press is met. You won't confuse whether you've pressed a button or not here.
Above the black keypad and silver soft keys is a 1.8in screen. It uses a colour display, and although very low-resolution the quality is excellent. It's an OLED panel, offering perfect angled viewing, excellent clarity and near-unbeatable contrast.
To further increase the visibility of what's on-screen, the Vodafone Emporia RL1 lets you change the font size used throughout the phone's menus and in SMS texting. Even the most petite Small font size is larger-than-average, where the largest Jumbo option is downright huge.
While it makes each letter easy to see, Jumbo leaves each menu option cut off at the edge of the screen, forcing you to wait for the painfully slow scroll to kick in to read the rest of the entry. Unless you have significantly compromised vision, the Large setting is a much better compromise. You can set the menu and SMS font sizes independently though - Jumbo still works a treat with text messaging.
The buttons on the sides of the phone are just as oversized as the menu fonts and front buttons. They deal with volume control, on/off, lock and the torch - an LED light that sits on the top of the handset. One downside about the OLED screen is that, as it doesn't use a backlight, it's not as effective a light source as LCD, so the torch comes in mighty handy for finding keys in the dark. It can even be used when the phone's turned off. Like so -