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Samsung R210: budget WAP phone

Good looker

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Review The Samsung R210 is a good-looking budget WAP phone with picture messaging and downloadable ring tones. It's currently available on Vodafone and BT Cellnet at £9.99 with a contract, or £44.99 if you're looking to upgrade. Price includes a hands-free headset.

At 113x48x22mm and 88g the phone is fairly small and light. It's only the external antenna that stops it being ultra pocket-friendly. A lithium-ion battery gives a quoted talktime of five hours and standby of 150 hours which is pretty realistic. The screen has a gorgeous bright-blue backlight.

Indeed, it's a colourful phone and looks cool when used in the dark-the numbers on the keypad light up in green, the soft keys light up yellow and the scroll keys light up orange. A service light in the top left corner flashes when you've got a signal. You can choose whether it's coloured green, orange, red, violet or blue.

The phone feels good in the hand and the buttons are well spaced out. The keypad features a few handy shortcut keys. The left hand soft key accesses the menu system, and the right hand soft key accesses the phonebook. Just below the scroll keys is a WAP shortcut button that, rather like the 'Back' feature on a PC, goes to the last visited page. Pressing and holding the star button operates a keypad lock, doing the same with the hash key activates silent / vibrate mode.

It is possible to speed dial every number in the phonebook. For locations 2 to 9 press and hold the relevant key. For other locations type the number followed by hash. Pressing and holding the 1 key accesses voicemail.

Finding a name in the phonebook, is a long-winded process. You have to press the right soft key to enter the phonebook menu, then the left one to 'Find Entry', then type in the first letter of the required name, then press the left soft key again to find. It's a pity the scroll buttons don't access the phonebook directly. Instead these adjust the keypad tone volume, which to me isn't so important. During a call they control volume. There is a shortcut if you need to make a quick call-pressing the green 'send' button brings up a
list of the last ten dialled numbers.

Text messaging is supported by T9 predictive text input. Saved messages are time and date stamped. There is a selection of nine pictures which can be attached to messages. These, bizarrely, include swan, windmill, cherry and window-who wants to send a picture of a window? One redeeming factor is that pictures can be sent to compatible Nokia phones and vice versa.

The covers can't be changed but the phone is still customisable. There are 20 ring tones to choose from, there's space for two of your own in the melody composer and three more can be downloaded. Like picture messages, ring tones are Nokia compatible, so there's a wealth of tunes to choose from on the Internet. There's a choice of five animated screensavers on the phone.

Organiser functions include a scheduler, alarm clock, calculator and world clock. The three games have good graphics. Casino is a fruit machine emulator with no playability apart from start and stop, Hexa is a weird version of Tetris where all the blocks are the same shape (3x1) and, rather than completing a line, you have to match patterns to remove the blocks.

The large 128x64 pixel blue screen is great for looking at WAP pages. The 1.1 browser displays five lines of text. You can store up to five bookmarks of your favourite sites.

The R210 is very user-friendly, and the more I used it the more I liked it.

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