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Hunt for basic model mobile phones

October 21st, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I went mobile shopping, for grandmother. The Mission: To find the cheapest and the most sturdy Mobile phone there is in the market.

Requirements: Cheap of course, Sturdy for times when granny dropped the phone accidentally, Decent Size screen with display settings that can be configured to show numbers and text in big size, rubber key pad that had a feeling of embossed numbers for easier typing, and of course the one with a long battery backup so that charging the phone often is not a real problem.

The contenders:

I asked for the Nokia first because when it comes to cheap and sturdy phones, Nokia is noted to be rated the best by the consumers. You login to a popular mobile sellers website and you are put up with almost 20 Nokia models that cost not more than Rs. 1500. Most of which are old models and cheap looking. I picked up 5 designs to look at, and this is what I thought about them.

Nokia 1616: First look, Impressive. Sleek design and varied range of colors, good looking panel, The screen size and software the same as Nokia 1600 (One of the best basic phone I have used till date).

This phone also has an inbuilt FM Radio and a battery that should last at least 2 days when in use and close to 4 days when in stand by. The company says the battery can stay on up to 540 hours in standby, which is 22 days, but realistically I don’t see it last more than 4 days.

The features were nice, the phone looked good, so it all came down to the price: Rs. 1350 including taxes.

The selling Point: The look, The price and Nokia advantage.

Nokia c1: The cheapest Nokia Dual Sim Mobile. Yes, A dual sim mobile for Rs. 2000 or less if negotiated well. Similar looking and built with the same features as the Nokia 1616 this phone had everything to lure me into buying it.

Longer Battery back up and better color range than that of it’s competitors, the phone is a great buy for people looking to buy a cheap dual sim mobile.

The selling point: fancy looks and dual sim. What more do you want at this price?

Nokia 1280: The phone is not only cheap, but looks cheap. The small monochrome screen is an instant turnoff, the keypad looks something like it was put together by a kid. Thanks to fully packed features including polyphonic ringtones, flashlight, calendar and stuff, this phone is a great buy for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a mobile phone.

The price, Rs. 1125. Now, that’s cheap. The look may be bad, but the phone comes with a ‘Nokia’ warranty that we trust and hence there is no question of ‘what if the phone doesn’t work’.

The Selling Point: has to be the price, otherwise can’t think of many people who’d buy it for the look.

Nokia 1800: Hard to find. I rarely saw this peice in a shop. They are either sold out or the company has stopped production. Price of Rs.1600 is cheap and affordable for most people who want a basic phone with a colour screen.

The software and the look is almost again the same as Nokia 1616, except for I think that this comes with a crystal keypad.The battery life again is the same as most of it’s competitors.

The only selling point of this phone is that it comes with great colour schemes.

Nokia 5030: Wireless Fm, so the speakers are good and loud. The software is old and boring. The screen not so big, not so small. The look really doesn’t work. A phone that I’d never pick up unless the price is less. The Price: Rs. 1675.

The manufacturer shows phone availability in Black and red. You go shopping and you’d realize that the phone is only available in the red color. The look is built with a cheap looking plastic casing leaving full potential to breakage in accidental drops.

The Selling Point: Wireless FM at cheap price.

With a series of new mobile companies launching the last 6 months, I was forced to look at a lot of models that were not only cheap but a lot more feature rich than the Nokia. The price however was a little more than the budget set by granny, and since this was supposed to be a phone that was easier to use and reliable, I couldn’t think beyond Nokia.

The phone that I did however thought that competes with Nokia directly are the Samsung E Series phone with prices ranging from Rs. 1300 to Rs. 1500, and every single one of them had features that were not only matching to that of the Nokia but sometimes even better.

Samsung E1080 is the one that I looked at and liked. The price of Rs. 1300 was tempting. Never used a Samsung, so could not judge the ease of use just by looking at the box, so I tested it myself with the phone of the in-house store manager. The turnoff: The look, Not so good looking as the Nokia. The screen, not so big as the Nokia. The likes: Dual speaker, which meant the ring tones were loud and made sense when buying it for a old person. The Number pad was big and comfortable for an old lady. The screen displayed number quite big, so there wasn’t a problem of people having to wear glasses to look at the screen. The price, competitive.

Having spent a couple of hours in 4-5 different stores, it was time I made the choice. It had come down to two mobiles: The Nokia 1616 or The Samsung E1080. Having been a person who has used Nokia all the while, I chose the Nokia 1616, primarily for the reason that I trust brand ‘Nokia’ for producing the most reliable basic phones. The service is a guarantee and the battery life is a lot better than the other phones. Hopefully there will be a time when I would actually ask for Samsung phones even before the Nokia.

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