* Prices may differ from that shown
Before I start the review of this mobile phone I will explain how and why I came to buy it in the first place as this is relevant to the choice of phone and the features that it has.
I purchased my first mobile phone in about 2001 and it lasted until the connector on the charger broke in 2005. I couldn't find a suitable replacement so I used my sister's old Nokia for a while but, although I bought it a new battery, it still wouldn't hold the charge. I would charge it all night and then only make or receive one call and it would need charging again. This was OK for a while as I rarely use the phone for calls - I used to carry it so that mom could reach me if I was out and there was an emergency.
Then we heard that mom had to go into Manchester Royal Infirmary for a heart operation. This meant that Dave and I would be living in a hotel in Manchester for the duration and would be contacted by the hospital on our mobile phones. As Dave would be going to work in Macclesfield during the day I now needed a reliable mobile phone as a matter of urgency.
I thought that this was going to be a problem as I didn't want a fancy phone that takes photographs, videos, connects to the internet and all the other ridiculous things that phones do these days. I wanted a phone on which I can just make and receive calls and texts. The other problem is that having worn spectacles since I was 4 years old (I am 53 now) my eyesight isn't too good. I need to use a magnifying glass when I need to read small writing even when I am wearing my varifocal spectacles.
I wanted another Pay as You Go phone as I don't use it enough to warrant having a contract and I didn't want to have to pay a fortune for it.
Firstly my husband, Dave, and I did some research on the internet and found that a phone called the Sagem VS1 looked as though it may be the phone for me although it was difficult to tell the size of the phone and keypad by looking at pictures. It sounded as though it was going to be fine for me as the advertising slogan for the phone was 'The phone with common sense as a feature'.
We went into town and into our local Vodafone shop as the Sagem VS1 is exclusive to Vodafone and is marketed as Vodafone Simply. I found the phone and it looked as though it was a sensible size. The keys were distinct and easy to see - I didn't want a phone with keys that all ran into one another as my fingers are quite big and I needed to be able to use the keypad to easily send text messages to Dave when he is working away from home.
I asked the assistant if I could see the display to find out if it would be easy enough for me to read. She produced the shop display model and showed me the menu and gave me the chance to try the phone. It was clear and I could read the display easily and use the keys with no problem so I decided that this was the phone for me.
It was on sale at £50 complete with 1,000 free texts. I was also signed up to Vodafone Stop the Clock free of charge. This is a service whereby I can talk for up to one hour and only pay for three minutes at evenings or weekends. I thought that this would be really useful when mom was hospital as I would have been able to call and let people know how she was getting on without it costing me a fortune.
I was given a swipe card so that when I need to top up the money on my phone I just take it into the Vodafone shop where they swipe it and add the amount that I pay them onto my phone. As they swipe the card and key in the amount that I pay that amount automatically appears on my phone. Clever eh?
Anyway, I digress; I added £20 to my phone to start me off. I then had a nice surprise. I was expecting the cost to be £70 in total - £50 for the phone and £20 top up - but I was told that there was a promotion on the phone and it would only cost me £40 so my total bill was just £60. This price included the phone, charger, hands free kit, charging cradle (to stand the phone in whilst it is charging) and two clearly written and easy to understand instruction booklets.
The call costs are as follows:
To UK landlines and other Vodafone mobiles 30p per minute daytime and 5p per minute evenings and weekends - Stop the Clock means the maximum cost of a call for up to an hour would be 15p.
To all other networks 35p per minute anytime
Texts cost 12p per text
So what do I think about my new phone? Well I am thrilled to bits with it.
HOW IT LOOKS
The phone itself is about 12 cm long by 5cm wide and the screen is 4cm by 3.5cm and has a curved glass to magnify it slightly. The screen is grey with black writing making it very clear and easy to read.
The phone is switched on and off by depressing a button on the top edge of the phone.
The ring tone can be changed from loud to normal, silent and vibrate by a sliding switch on the right hand side edge of the phone.
There is another switch on the right hand side edge of the phone that locks the keypad. I find this really useful to just flick this before I drop the phone into my handbag. I used to regularly make calls from my old phone when I knocked the keyboard accidentally whilst it was in my bag!
The home display on the phone shows the time, the level of the ringtone, the level of the battery, the signal strength and the phone number of the mobile (which can be hidden if required). As it happens I think it is a great idea to have the phone number displayed. I can never remember my own mobile phone number and on my old phone it used to take me ages to find it!
There are three buttons across the top of the phone. When the left hand one is pressed the display on the phone returns to the home page, when the centre one is pressed the display shows the contacts list and when the right hand one is pressed the display shows the log history so that you can find any texts that have arrived and access any outstanding voicemail.
So all the basics are at my fingertips which is just what I wanted.
There are 10 different ring tones and these are all very basic. There is no facility to load extra ringtones, but this isn't a problem for me - the phone is there to do what it needs to do, not for me to pose with!
The phone book is accessed via the middle button on the top of the face of the phone and is simplicity itself to use. You can then select the person that you want to contact from the list and then the options are 'ring' or 'text' - how simple is that? You can also add a reminder to any of your contact numbers to help you remember birthdays, anniversaries on any other special dates. You will be reminded at 9am on the day in question, so if you need to get a present it might be better to set your reminder a day or two in advance! LOL!
The phone has the date and time function which can be set to the 24 hour clock if required. There is also an alarm clock function.
The phone can be set to any one of 11 different languages.
There is a 'call divert' function to enable you to divert calls to another number and there is a voicemail function which can be personalised with your own message.
The phone has the capacity to notify you if a call is waiting and also to be able to bar calls.
It has a power saving function which means that the phone goes into hibernation if it hasn't been used for a certain amount of time, thus saving power.
You can also purchase an extra cable which will enable you to back up your phone book to your PC so that it can be restored to a new phone if you ever loose your mobile.
The booklets that are supplied with the phone are both easy to read and understand with plenty of pictures to show where things are and how to do various things.
If you can't find what you are looking for there is a 'help' function built into the phone - you just click on 'tips' and away you go.
If you want to talk to someone at Vodafone you just have to ring 191. I can't say how helpful or otherwise this is as I haven't found the need to try this yet.
I was thrilled to bits with my new phone and really pleased that someone had noticed the gap in the market for simple to use phones like this! Well done Vodafone!
I have now had the phone for three years and I am still as happy with it as I was on day one. It is easy to use, the charge on the battery lasts well and it is an easy size for me to carry around with me.