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Virgin Mobile Lobster 621 budget phone

Low-end price meets mid-range feature set

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The centre of the navpad, and two additional buttons on each side of it, provide music and video player controls. Around the sides of the phone, the minimalist theme continues with absolutely no buttons at all, not even a volume rocker. In fact, there’s nothing to break the smooth lines of the handset’s sides except for a USB 2.0 slot and a lanyard clip on top, though there’s no lanyard supplied.

So far so good, but then the disappointment sets in. The 128 x 160 screen actually looks much worse than its claimed 65,000-colour spec would suggest. Images and even the menu graphics look fuzzy. If you’re more used to the comparatively pristine sharpness of even mid-range phones these days, this is likely to give you a bit of a headache should you spend too much time staring at it.

Virgin Lobster 621 candybar mobile phone

Decent little snapper

This is a shame, since the camera is considerably better than you’d expect at this price, offering 1.3 megapixels rather than the bog standard 0.3-megapixel VGA variety which tends to be the norm below the £50 mark. There’s little in the way of frills, with no flash or autofocus, but there are options for multiple shots (up to five) and timer (up to 15 seconds), as well as three image-quality settings, a night mode, white balance controls, and colour mode settings. Once you’ve taken your snaps, you can add frames, resize and rotate them. or view them in a basic slideshow... so long as you don’t tend to suffer from migraines.

The pics themselves, when taken in reasonable light - the night mode doesn’t seem to make very much difference - are no better than you’d expect. Then again, they’re certainly no worse, but the poor quality of the screen means they look much better on the screens of other phones once you’ve sent them over using Bluetooth. They look better still on a PC but getting them there can be tricky since the 621 doesn’t come with a data cable. You’ll either need to buy one separately or use a Micro SD card - again, not supplied.

Oddly, the camera is stills-only- there's no video option.

The music player, meanwhile, sounds considerably better than we expected. Actually, it sounded as good as plenty of mid-range handsets we’ve tried, whether we were using the loudish front-mounted speaker or the supplied earphones, which is just as well, since the absence of a 3.5mm jack socket means you’re stuck with them unless you can find a USB adaptor to fit.

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