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The Samsung E2100 phone was originally bought as a stop gap between phones, my previous phone had somehow lost the battery (yet the cover remained, a never ending source of puzzlement). Regardless, in this modern age of speedy contact and ever changing plans, I was in need of a phone - if only to stay in contact with my mother.
With little money to my name, and little desire for a nice phone in all honesty, I went around and simply asked for the cheapest phone the shops did sell -and ta-da, out they produced the Samsung E2100 at a throwaway £9.99 (i had to buy a pay-as-you-go Sim card with a £10 on too, but thats not really lost money i guess).
Despite its blast from the past technology; it features polphonic ringtones, a basic colour screen, and a camera which barely breaks the 1 megapixel mark - it does not forget its primary purpose in life - a phone.
The things that I really need in everyday life, what I really need to have in my pocket at all times, is a way to recieve calls and texts, as well as reply to them. I may also occasionaly need to recall a number or indeed a small note i have written down. That is it. Do I need to constantly have a camera on me at all times? Napolean didn't, Mussolini didn't and Pol Pot definately didn't, so why should I? Nor do I need the ability to play the latest Lady Gaga track on a whim or access the internet at all hours of the day. I can wait till I get home for these "luxuries". I have an ipod, so i don't need a music player, at all, and the majority of the iPhones applications are things people neither want nor need, despite the brief amusement that may bring.
As its primary job as a phone, the E2100 gives you acceptable volume, a very easy to use text and phone system, and a very long battery life that is not drained by all its other features.
After using this phone for around a year now, I do not even desire to buy an upgraded one. I have been converted, the best £10 I have ever spent.
I'm on a budget and enjoy the benefits of a SIM only contract. However, this meant that when my expensive phone packed up, I was left with the unpleasant prospect of being out of pocket with the purchase of a brand new phone. I spotted the E2100 when shopping around for something that could match my price point without sacrificing too much in core features. In this little gem from Samsung, I found a great buy!
The phone was attractively priced at £20 (£10 if purchased with the right network) and I have found it to be great value.
The phone is fairly basic in terms of features, although it does include a digital camera (albeit a low res version) and bluetooth capabilities, along with a small amount of onboard memory and internet access. It has a great battery life, and is fast and reliable. Yes, it's basic, but for the price who can grumble?
The Samsung E2100 was originally bought as a cheap mobile phone the number of which I could give to those people I didn't want to have my main mobile number. As such, I didn't need it to be in least bit fancy, all I needed was something that could receive calls and texts that I could answer if I really felt like it. In today's world of all-singing, all-dancing mobiles the E2100 is certainly lacking in features, but for the ridiculously low price I paid for it (£10), I really can't expect any more than I got.
The candy bar styling of the E2100 is reminiscent of bottom of the range Nokias, in fact it's almost identical to the Nokia 1208, in looks at least. Measuring a paltry 10.8 x 4.36 x 1.43cm, this non-descript grey mobile fits neatly in the palm of my hand, slips easily in even fairly tight pockets and is equally suitable for men or women. The 4.5cm TFT screen boasts a rather poor resolution of 128x160 pixels and a paltry 262k colours. Whilst this screen is clear and bright enough for reading texts and seeing who is calling, it's not overly brilliant at displaying pictures. What is nice, is that all connections are neatly covered and a phone charm can be added if I ever wanted to jazz it up.
As with any mobile, there is a little setting up required with the E2100, but as it's a very basic phone there isn't an awful lot. The SIM and battery are easy enough to insert and the back slides off easily, maybe a little too easily (little hands and all that). The standard Samsung menu system is easy to navigate, allowing limited customisation and date/time adjustment without too much hassle. As seems the norm with mobiles nowadays the battery was already partly charged and so the phone was ready to play with in minutes.
No matter how fancy the phone, the most important aspect for me is the ability to make and receive calls. As phone is very low in features, I can't help but feel that this should be wonderful at that task. Unfortunately that's really not the case, the best that I can say is that this phone's performance is mediocre. Yes, it is easy to add contacts to the phone book and assign ringtones for them, but the ringtones are all rather naff and a few are downright annoying. Once in a call, volume and clarity are perfectly acceptable but nothing special in normal mode but once the speaker is activated it becomes a little muffled and at times completely inaudible.
Along with making calls, texting is a pretty important function for me and I suppose the E2100 does a reasonable job. The keys are surprisingly large and responsive with little lag between pressing the key and the letter appearing on the screen. Using multi-tap I can write a text reasonably quickly and unlike my Samsung S7220 each text automatically starts with a capitol letter. Not being one to use the T9 feature (I simply find it so frustrating no matter what the phone) I can't comment on how intuitive it is. Along with standard SMS messages the E2100 is capable of receiving MMS messages but I really wouldn't bother as the phone's memory is so small only the tiniest of files could be saved. Although I haven't actually reached a limit for texts (I like my phones neat and tidy), I would suggest that it's not a good idea to store to many as the memory is limited to 10MB for everything (and some of that's already taken up).
The E2100 has a surprising number of extra features for such a low end phone. There is a very basic camera, and I mean basic, this VGA camera doesn't really produce anything at all viewable, even on the phone itself. I couldn't even say it is any good for drunken snaps, but it is brilliant for younger children to play with (they really don't care how clear the pictures are). If highly pixelated videos are your thing, then you'll be glad to know that there's a very poor quality camcorder also available, but you'll need to keep the clips short as the total available memory is a paltry 10MB for everything (including texts and contacts).
The Bluetooth facility is actually pretty good, it's easy to switch on and off, pair up and transfer files, but again what can be transferred is very limited by the amount of memory available. I had to reduce a photo down to 640x480 for it to be successfully transferred to the phone and then the file took about two minutes to transfer. (It did look great though, much better than anything the built-in camera can produce).
As with the majority of phones nowadays, mobile internet is available albeit in it's most basic and slowest form, WAP/GPRS. With my main phone I'm spoilt with a 3G connection, and so I find the internet on here excruciatingly slow and have hardly ever bothered with it. But it does seem to be very limited as to what sites are available and images that can be shown. Apparently an FM radio is also featured but to be honest, I've never managed to find it, maybe it's hiding somewhere. The supplied games are entertaining enough for the two minutes they can be played for, there's not one full version of even a basic game. Instead you are supplied with a number of demos that all encourage you to connect to the internet and download the full version. Sadly there isn't enough memory to spare for any of these games, there's barely enough for contacts and text messages and no way of extending it. MP3 files can be played, or the could be if there was enough room on the phone for a full MP3 at decent quality.
I must admit this is one aspect where the E2100 really does excel. Without any use the battery lasts for a week only losing two out of the four bars and with moderate use it will last a good 4 days without needing to be recharged. As this really doesn't do anything fancy it's never been exposed to heavy use, so the lack of features does have a good point. Charging from empty takes on average a couple of hours but I can't say that I've noticed battery-life being adversely affected if it is left charging overnight
I've had this phone for about 6 months now, used it occasionally and it still looks as good as new. It has been dropped onto the carpet on one occasion but other than that I've not really crash tested it. And I'm not such a dedicated reviewer that I'm going to throw the phone across the room just to see if it breaks.
===Price and Availability===
I bought the E2100 when it was on offer in a major supermarket for the princely sum of £9.95 on O2, and it now seems to be unavailable from most retailers. It is, however, still available SIM-free from Amazon with prices ranging from £21.98.
Make no mistake, the Samsung E2100 is a very basic phone, which is fine if all you want to is make calls or send and receive texts. It's easy to operate and the price I paid for it was ridiculously low. Whether or not I would recommend it is hard to say. If you're after something that will allow you to play music, take reasonable photos and browse the internet then this really isn't the phone for you. But there are three groups that I would recommend this phone to, firstly those that want a cheap yet functional back-up phone. Secondly those technophobes who can't handle all the bells and whistles on more advanced phones (my partner's 90 year Grandmother loves this phone, it's so easy for her to operate). And finally for those with young children who are always wanting to play with Mummy's or Daddy's phone. Just don't bother topping it up and they can pretend they've got a 'big phone' without the worry that they're going smash your £200 pride and joy.
And so the E2100 gets a respectable four stars out of five from me, it does exactly what a phone does plus a little bit more for silly money.
I managed to pick one of these up from the O2 shop for £5 after i had an extra £5 off for being an O2 customer for more than 3 years, i've never gone for the 'in' phones as to me they all the same thing anyway and are generally a rip off.
Boring Bits -
VGA Camera (rubbish)
262k color screen
no memory card slot.
For me it does the job perfectly but i have ran in to some little problems, sometimes for no reason the phone will turn off, ill get it out of my pocket to check the time and its off this has also happened half way through me typing a text message but that is the only major problem.
The buttons are also a sort of single plastic covering (they are not separate buttons) which did prove fiddly for a few weeks but i got use to it but for people with larger fingers i think you will struggle a lot as the phone isn't particularly wide the buttons are forced closer together.
Enough of the bad points -
Although it has the odd problems it does have a lot of good ones, accesing the menu and sub-menus is fast and responsive, i was expecting a 1 second lag between button to result but it was instant with a nice slide screen motion when accessing each menu.
There is a smart feature that has been highlighted for the phone, a 'Fake Call' option can be activated meaning that if you are trying to get out of an awkward situation/conversation you will receive a 'fake call' and you can easily walk away.....to me this is stupid but for some it might be handy.
Texting which is what i do most is fast and responsive which is something i have never found with cheaper phones, its usually nokias that have great excellent texting speed but the samsung is probably as good as many £100+ nokias.
Battery life is also excellent, the phone can go for a good 5 days without needing to be charged, it seems to drop down a couple bars really quickly but seems to hang onto the last bar for 2-3 days+.
I'm very impressed with this phone for £5 i cant complain at all, it does what a phone should do brilliantly apart from the random turning off moments its a good little phone for people who don't want to go out and spend £200+ on the latest models.
I recently had a conversation with a parituclarly snooty techno-phile that went something like the following: " My phone allows me to email, make calls, text and chat, update my statuses, hold up to 1000 apps, has bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP Stereo, web browsing, an HTC sense touchscreen, a 5 MP camera and is GPS enabled." "Really", I retorted, "Well i can drop mine when im drunk, and can use it to smash spiders on walls." "I don't want to be your freind..." was his reply. A strange encounter pehaps, but one that raises a pertinent point, if you are looking for a phone that is fancy-pantsy (in techno terms (?), then the Samsung E2100 is not for you. However, if you are the kind of person who falls distictly into the category that i happily inhabit, who will constantly lose, break and even put thier phone on a 40 degree spin-cycle 3 seperate times, then this phone may just be exactly what you have been looking for.
Costing around the same price as 15 bags of M&Ms or 200 gummy-rings, the main benefit of this phone is surely its price. For the accident prone modern day phone owner the Samsung is perfect. After i recently made my way through three iPhones in two weeks (rest in peace. Or peices as the case may be), i decided i wanted a phone that could be used to text and call people, that i would'nt have to worry about when drunk or just stupid. And this phone, being one of the cheapest man can buy, was perfect. It is also a robust little fella. A point proven indubitably by the fact i have dropped it probably forty times, stood on it over 10 times, and had caught in a revolving door once, with only superficial scratches. Truly this phone is a Terminator, albiet more rubbish, much less technologically advanced than Skynet's version, it is a Terminator nonetheless.
Another added perk is the Samsung's low desireability. A contradiction in terms you may think, but i have a story to illustrate. Once i left my phone on the steps outside a nightclub on a friday night, returning on the monday, the phone was still there. The point is, this phone is so undesireable that no one wants it- literally, it can be left in a public place for a weekend and no one will want it enough to pick it up. I beleive whole-heartedly that if i were ever to be unfrtunate enough to be mugged and asked for my phone, the mugger would turn up his nose in disgust and send me on the way. Thats right, Samsung have created the first mugger proof phone.
As for the list of specifications, all you need to know, if you have read this far, is that the phone can call and text. Further than that, the phone is easy to use and the menus look fine.
So, if you are sick of worrying about your iPhones or Blackberrys (some kind of phone, apparently, not a fruit), then buy this Samsung, as even if you do lose it, as we have ascertained is extremely hard, then it is only £20.00 to replace. You'll be laughing all the way to the bank. Laugh with me now, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......
After my mobile phone sprouted legs and walked off to a new owner who decided to use it to call Poland (which I discovered was surprisingly cheap on my contract) I took the decision to go for 'cheap and cheerful'. And the cheapest I could find was the Samsung E2100B, which my local shop sold to me for the princely sum of £25 including £10 of pay as you go credit. So, having fulfilled my cheap criteria, would I rate it as cheerful?
Small, non-descript and light, the E2100 is utterly non-offensive to look at. The basic screen shows the time in big figures (useful since for me my mobile is also my watch). The buttons are all flush with each other (no where for dirt to collect) and its all blacks, greys and silvers.
General ease of use
Having come from an Erricson/Nokia background the Samsung at first seemed awkward to use but I soon adapted. The picture icons of the main menu are retro, and not in a good way - if it didn't pop up at the top of the screen which each represents as you scroll over it I'm not sure I'd get what they were supposed to be. The buttons are all responsive and a sensible size, and the 'answer'/'hangup' buttons are clear.
My biggest issue was that altering the volume is not done by a separate button anywhere but via the main keypad and main screen, making altering the volume during a call if you find yourself in a louder/quieter location is difficult.
The phone book, like the phone, is basic - you can add more than one number per contact but there are no options for adding photos/birthdays
The inbuilt camera takes typical phone-standard photos and videos. There is a zoom, and a night option, and bizarrely options to make the results 'sepia' or 'sketch'. Since the phone is so basic, the camera function seems relatively over-developed.
Texting is important to me so the fact the phone seems to decide to turn predictive text on and off at will frustrates me immensely. It also seems to 'forget' words that I've added to the dictionary. Having owned the phone for 3 months now texting is slowly becoming a less infuriating experience but the messaging option is not really the phone's strongest point.
It has all the classical Bluetooth/timer/stopwatch features but it lacks any games - every one that comes with it is just a demo and allows all of about a minute of gameplay before stopping and suggesting you buy the full version. Most annoying.
The organiser is a redeeming feature of the photo. Alongside the usual alarms/calendar/memo/calculator it has a 'convertor' for lengths/weights etc which I've never had before and I've found surprisingly useful.
The phone holds its charge well. The charger plugs in on the side under a piece of plastic which spins round in a way that makes you think it'll break - but 3 months in it still hasn't. Call quality is average, but its always hard to judge if that's network or phone limitations. The worse feature, without any doubt, is the fact that the phone unlocks by holding down a single key which means it not infrequently unlocks by accident in your bag and subsequently calls random people.
Its cheap, its fairly cheerful, but it has some very annoying flaws (the spontaneously unlocking in bag, the difficulty in altering call volume) which confirm the old adage: you get what you pay for.