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Amoisonic A8

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Review The Amoisonic A8 is an unusual phone from a mysterious Chinese company. No price has been set for the European launch, but going on far eastern prices (they claim it is the best selling phone in China) around £300 without a contract is a good guess.

Amoisonic quotes a standby time of 60 to 120 hours and a talktime of three to six hours. At 86x44x19.9mm and 76g it's small and thin for a folding phone, notably thinner than the Samsung A300. Like the Samsung it has two screens.

The keypad lights up a shaded blue, and the buttons are thin and stylish. It snaps shut in a great positive way. Two rubber buffers either side of the earpeice stop the force of the snap from breaking the screen. Opening the A8 does not answer a call but shutting it does hang up. Not answering the incoming call when you open the phone is a pain but at least it gives you the option to reject the call.

There are four lines of text on the external screen and eight lines on the internal, plus a line of icons along the top and a line for the function keys along the bottom. That's ten lines in real money. The big eight line screen is used to good effect. When you type in a number the font is huge.

The screen has seven different colours of LED which it demonstrates in a son et luminere every time you switch it on. Along with the electronic fireworks you get a cartoon. There is a choice of a little boy or little girl animation. The phone is filled with cartoons and animations that occupy both screens, including the twelve Chinese creatures which denote years. All very cute and oriental.

There is a vibrate function, WAP browser and a voice recorder. Text messaging uses the Ezi system which isn't as good as T9.

The menu system is simple enough to use with the four way cursor. In standby mode this gives you the option of call records, text messaging, a short cut to a menu or a short cartoon.

Saving a number to the phone book is simple enough, you can do this from the recent called or received call menu. There are 100 numbers in the phone in addition to SIM memory and saving gives you the option to use either. There are no fields for second numbers or addresses. There is a separate space to store up to 50 email addresses but no email client. Caller ID can be linked to ring tones by using a group function.
A Yamaha sound chip provides 21 chords. The fidelity of the ring tones is loud and sonerous, but the melodies aren't great. There's no option to download more tones so you are stuck with the 15 supplied ones. Virtually everything the phone does is accompanied by a neat little sound.

An office feature has a scheduler, calculator, unit converter, stopwatch and voice memo feature. There is a biorythm chart and like the Samsung Queen phone, a 'monthly care' calendar.

Living with the A8 is fine, in many ways it does what big manufacturers have failed to do. It’s very easy to use, stylish and small.

Perhaps the coolest thing about the Amoisonic A8 is that you can have a phone no-one else will have heard of. Even mobile phone industry experts had never heard of it. You'd have to pay quite a premium though. No UK plans have been made as yet, so this would mean buying it mail order from overseas, probably Hong Kong. There is some appeal in this, but if it goes wrong don't expect to be able to get it fixed.

© What Mobile.

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