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Virgin Mobile Lobster 621 budget phone

Low-end price meets mid-range feature set

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Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Again, the absence of a data cable is a nuisance when it comes to getting songs onto the phone. Once you’ve transferred your MP3, AAC, WAV and MIDI files over by Bluetooth or by loading up a Micro SD card, there’s a graphic equaliser with eight settings. The differences between each pre-set are, surprisingly, less than subtle, though the nomenclature seems a bit bizarre – why should the setting that cuts out most of the bass be called ‘Rock’, for example? Usefully, pedants can change the names of the settings.

You won’t be able to store many songs on the handset, since there’s a scant 10MB of memory on board but you can expand this using the slot for Micro SD memory card hidden under the back cover. It’s even hot-swappable. The 621 can only handle up to 2GB cards, but that’s still room for around 500 songs.

Virgin Lobster 621 candybar mobile phone

Use USB for data tranfser... if you can find a cable

There’s no 3G here, of course, and the 621 is only dual-band – so it won’t be much use abroad. Only WAP internet access is available, over GPRS, which, considering the quality of the screen and comparatively slow browsing potential, is probably just as well.

Still, you can download games, tunes and view email, so most of the basics are covered. There isn’t much in the way of additional features, though it does come with a couple of 2D Java games: Helimanator, in which your paratrooper ’chutes in and fires potshots at passing helicopters, and Rocket Adventure, in which a jet-packing aeronaut attempts to alight on flying platforms.

No, neither is likely to detain you for long. Battery life really isn’t up to much either – another surprise since this is such a low-spec phone. The fact that the 621 is so slim probably has something to do with it. We didn’t quite get two days of moderate use out of it.

Verdict

Some handsets try to beat potential users over the head with their huge spec lists. Others make a virtue of simplicity. The Virgin 621 falls into the latter camp, but while the camera and music player are pretty good for the price, the poor screen and lack of a data cable are a decided nuisance.

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60%

Virgin Mobile Lobster 621 budget phone

Priced for kids, but styled for grown-up smoothies, this is fine as a spare phone for a night on the town.
Price: £25 on pay-as-you-gp RRP

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