Basic mobile phone reviews

When you don't need all the bells and whistles, a basic phone provides all you need at a fraction of the cost of a smartphone.
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02.What to buy

80% Nokia 6303 Classic

635Price: $319

The 6303 Classic is a good all-round option for users wanting a bar-type phone, with a simple keypad layout and excellent display. SMS performance is good and it provides a pleasing combination of a short charging time with one of the longest talk and standby times on test. However, while this phone works on all networks, you won’t get 3G performance or Next G coverage as it is a GSM-only phone.

76% Nokia 3720 Classic

Price: $269693

The 3720 GSM phone has an IP54 rating, meaning it’s designed to be shock-, dust- and water-resistant, with panels to keep out water and dust. An LED flashlight, together with a long talk and standby time, makes it a good choice for tradesmen.
It also has the lowest SAR (specific absorption rate, a measure of radiation energy absorbed into the body) figure of the phones on test.

73% Samsung GT-B3210

Price: $265713

If you like using a QWERTY-style keyboard, the GT-B3210 is a much more affordable option than a BlackBerry, and its excellent SMS score makes it a good option for users who text as much as they talk. However, the small keys make it more difficult when dialling numbers for standard phone calls. Quad-band GSM support also means you’re more likely to get reception when travelling overseas.



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About the rest

Nokia makes more mobiles than any other company, and several of the Nokia models on test, including the 2330 Classic and 2720 Fold (clamshell type) would be suitable for the kids or as a backup if you’ve lost your phone and are waiting for the contract to end.

If you’re looking for a phone with good reception and durability for about $100, you could consider the Nokia 2220 Slide, 1661 or 5030. However, these are the only phones on test with just dual-mode GSM network support.

SMS users may appreciate the QWERTY-style keyboard of the LG GW300 or the slide-out keyboard of the Samsung B3310, while users wanting a phone that works on the NextG (850MHz) band can choose either the Sony Yari or T715.


What to look for in a basic mobile phone

Keypad Look for overall quality and durability with buttons that are sensibly placed.
Display Readability is an important aspect to consider with a basic mobile.
QWERTY keyboard Consider this if you text as much as you talk. Look for a keypad with ample spacing between the keys.
Camera can be useful, although the resolution for a basic phone is not a major concern unless you print your images.
Battery life needs to match the way you use your phone, particularly if you talk for extended periods between charging.
Charging the phone using the USB connection can be useful if you have a portable computer  and no mains power is available.

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