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BenQ-Siemens EF61 Mia Review


Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £129.99

BenQ-Siemens’ last sojourn into girly-phone territory, the CL75 Poppy, launched late last year, was a pastel pink clamshell with a poppy tattooed on its front.

That handset apparently did so well that it has been updated and the EF61 Mia is its replacement. You can buy it SIM free for £129.99 plus £4.50 delivery (inc VAT) from BenQ-Siemens’ online store.

Siemens pushes the EF61 as a handset with a screen that doubles as a mirror. It also suggests that you can use the phone to decide what shoes will go with your new outfit by sending your best friend an MMS. While this isn’t going to float every woman’s boat BenQ-Siemens clearly thinks there are enough fluffy-heads out there to warrant a Poppy update.

The EF91 is a smallish clamshell tri-band handset (88 x 46 x 23mm) that’s very light at only at 99g. Its physical design is somewhat reminiscent of Motorola’s PEBL in its rounded, bar-of-soap like looks. It feels rather nice in the hand, and has obviously been designed with smaller mitts in mind.

Flicking the clamshell open is no problem thanks to its hand-friendly size, though there is no groove to help you get a finger hold between upper and lower sections, and those who like an expensive, spring loaded feel to their flip mechanism will be disappointed.

With the clam opened you get to what is one of the key marketing features of the EF61 Mia – that mirror like main screen. Whatever you may think of the idea, it actually works rather well. You switch the screen on and off using a dedicated button sitting beneath the navigation key, and when it is off, you really can use the screen as a mirror.

Navigation key, shortcut and number keys are all nice and large, and are well spaced. The navigation key’s central select button is particularly big. The screen, on the other hand, is rather small at 1.8 diagonal inches. Its 128 x 160 pixels feel somewhat old hat, though its 262,000 colours are welcome.

The inside of the clam is silver and lavender-blue. The keys are backlit blue, though not evenly throughout with the 2, 5 and 8 keys getting the brightest of the lighting. There is enough illumination to see all the keys when working in the dark, but the lack of an even spread of light is irritating.

With the clam closed, the front and back are mostly pale blue – BenQ-Siemens calls the colour ‘whisper’ , The handset is edged in silver, and, as with the Poppy, a flower is emblazoned on the front (and the back, and the wallpaper).

The front has a secondary screen which is fairly small at 96 x 64 pixels (20mm wide, 13mm tall). Its 4,096 colours are way below what you’d expect from a front screen these days, but it actually looks OK, probably because it’s so small. The handset front also houses the lens for the built in 1.3 megapixel camera.

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