The Rome is a re-branded handset from China's ZTE. Its main selling point: it costs under an tenner. As well as a 2Mp camera you also get a Micro SD card slot and an IMAP/POP e-mail client. There are, however, a few drawbacks. The menu structures are very haphazard, and sending a text involves pressing more buttons than the pre-flight check on a Boeing 747. The screen is none too clear and very dim even with the brightness turned up to 11. In fact, in even remotely strong daylight you may as well be looking at mirror as a phone display. The predictive text system is poorly executed and cumbersome, and the camera isn't really up to much. To cap things off, the internet is awash with users claiming their Romes have simply packed up after a few months.
Network GSM/Edge 850/900/1800
Reg Rating 50%
Another super-budget handset from Korea for less than a fiver. Again, you are lumbered with a 128 x 128 screen though despite being a CSTN panel it's actually easier on the eye than the LG GS101's equivalent, something helped by the more visually sympathetic UI design. In fact, the entire handset feels a little more upmarket than the LG, and the keypad is both easier and more pleasant to use. The battery is slightly larger than that fitted to the GS101 giving an impressive quoted standby time of 36 and a bit days. On the downside, you don't get an FM radio and call quality isn't as clear as it is using the LG, though it was still perfectly acceptable. A surprise feature is something called 'Fake Call' which allows you to set up a bogus incoming call in order to wriggle out of an unwanted conversation or boring meeting. There is also an anti-theft SMS feature called Mobile Tracker, though who would steal a £5 phone is anyone's guess.
Network GSM 900/1800
Reg Rating 80%
Next page: Samsung E2550 Monte Slider
Even better...the 2002 Nokia 6310i
I just gave up on my run of 5 smartphones and put my SIM back in my old neglected 6310i.
Oh my its like coming back home. It switches on in about 3 seconds. The battery lasts forever. Most features are just a responsive click or two away. Call quality and signal reception are fantastic.
The build quality is truly stunning. Its a quantum leap forward.
The peak of mobile phone perfection was reached in 2002. Its been downhill since then.
Throw away that piece of junk that cost you £400+ and get a proper adults phone.
Is the tracker really for when its stolen?
Or is it for parents to give to their kids and know where they are?
"There is also an anti-theft SMS feature called Mobile Tracker, though who would steal a £5 phone is anyone's guess."
Might make a cheap as chips car tracker though...
"The only slight drawback is the screen. Read too many texts on a 1.5in, 128 x 128 screen and your optician will think you have been practicing on the pink oboe too often."
My understanding of what playing the pink oboe is is obviously somewhat different to yours, and I've never heard anyone say my definition of it will make your eyes weak.
Very informative, good humoured and very surprising to see what one can get these days for a few quids.
That's proper journalism .