Feeds

Ten... dirt-cheap voice phones

Mobiles for the money-less

High performance access to file storage

Product Round-up World+Dog may be falling in love with smartphones faster than a large lass on a date with George Clooney, but there is still a place for the cheap and cheerful voice-centric handset.

To start with, basic phones shorn of the extravagances of 3G, GPS, Wi-Fi, football pitch-sized hi-res screens and always-on connectivity can often run for weeks rather than hours on a single charge of their battery.

Secondly, their very affordability makes them ideal for anyone whose travels take them off the beaten track: they bring fewer worries about loss or damage. And yelling into a phone that costs more than the locals earn in six months is never a clever thing to do on either a moral or practical level.

Before we start, I'll come clean and admit that the prices listed don't include the often mandatory £10 of airtime, but even if you never use it, a spare Sim with a few quid on it is always handy to have.

So what can you get for my self-imposed limit of 30 quid? Quite a lot, and in a plethora of styles. And if three Charles Darwins is too much, there are a couple of handsets that can be picked up for less than an Elizabeth Fry.




Alcatel OT-222

RH Numbers

Flip phones seem to be something of a dying breed, but if it's a form-factor that appeals to you, the OT-222 is a solid super-budget choice. An extremely simple handset all you get beyond the telephonic essentials is an FM radio. It's a pretty robust device despite a slight wobble in the main hinge which frankly was nothing more than I expected at this price point. It didn't worsen during my test despite some deliberate abuse. The screen is more pleasant to look at than the spec suggests, and the UI, while not fancy, is perfectly logical and efficient. The keypad appears a bit odd in the photos but it's actually rather nice to use and has a funky blue back-light that matches the LED event indicator on the lid. Call quality was impressive too, with plenty of volume on tap. The battery is small but that helps keep the weight and size down and with such a small screen you can still go a week between charges.

Alcatel OT-222

Network GSM/GPRS 900/1800
Screen 1.5in, 128 x 128
Battery 650mAh, 7 hours talk,
400 hours standby

Reg Rating 70%
Price £7
More Info Orange





Alcatel OT-800

RH Numbers

The Alcatel 800 is the perfect phone for compulsive messengers on a very tight budget. A well made handset, it looks like a Blackberry Bold on cursory inspection though the keyboard doesn't quite match that of the Rim product. For the price you get an RDS FM tuner, a 2Mp camera and A2DP Bluetooth. The handset comes with a 2GB Micro SD card but 4GB is the largest the 800 will support. There's no earphone socket of any sort other than the mini USB port, which is an issue if you want to trade up from the bundled headset. The IMAP4/POP3 e-mail client supports SSL and TLS security so the vast majority of e-mail accounts can be accommodated, and the built-in IM client supports most common protocols. The keyboard has lots of handy shortcuts and a shake of the handset will skip through your music library. T-Mobile will sell you a branded version called the Vairy Text for £25.

Alcatel-800

Alcatel-800

Network GSM/Edge 850/1800/1900
Screen 2.2in, 240 x 320
Battery 850mAh, 9 hours talk,
450 hours standby

Reg Rating 75%
Price £25
More Info Alcatel

High performance access to file storage

Next page: 

LG GS101


More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.