* Prices may differ from that shown
Ok, I have a confession to make. I never got this phone for £129.99 (the RRP). In fact, I got the phone for free. How did I manage this? Well, I will tell you later, but thank Virgin.
Anyhow, onto the review.
The phone itself is a compact white rectangle. It's almost smooth, is white on all sides with a silver strip along the side. This is when it's closed. Being a camera phone, the camera lens is printed on the top side of the front and is quite small. With the see-through plastic with a white background, it actually looks quite stylish, like it is meant to be there rather than just being 'stuck on'.
When you open the phone (it's a flip phone in case I forgot to mention), you get the silver/grey keys. Imagine a brand new keyring bottle opener that you can see yourself in - thats the colour of the silver I am talking about. The grey writing on the keys is OK, although the letters may be hard to read if you struggle with your sight. There is a circular button at the top of the keys - this is used to navigate, and the corners of the circle are in place to make it a square, with each button being another key. In this case, the green phone handset indicates accept, the red indicates cancel/hang up and the top two buttons vary with what is on screen.
The screen itself is quite large compared to other similar phones, which is aided by the phones size. The pictures are also OK. You can see them on the phone and they look fairly fuzzy but I should let you know something unusual. I have connected my phone to the PC to upload pictures of the kids (the cables come in the box) and they looked fuzzy on the phone but clear on the PC. I guess the graphic itself is more than the screen can handle. Still, the screen is all colour and the menu options at the bottom are easy to read.
Ok, here is where this phone falls down somewhat. I have had it almost 6 months now, but I still struggle to find features on it. On the upside, the boredom is soon overcome on the bus if you take the phone out and have a fiddle. When you get into the menu's you can do all sorts of things, although you will never find it again so make it a good change when you do it!
Luckily, the simple functions are all very easy. If you want the phone book, just press the down button on the circle and there it is. Indeed, this is a massive plus. I am used to a Nokia and the menu's there were all self explanatory. The same is true here but there are so many menu's that it can be easy to get lost.
If you know exactly what you want, you can highlight the icon on the screen (a bit like clicking an icon on your Windows desktop on the PC) until you get to the one you want. They make sense and you get there in the end. For example, if you want to get to the calculator you can click menu - then extras - then calculator. Given the options you have here, this isnt as odd as it sounds and you will find it easy to locate.
However, there are so many features as I said, so exploring them all will take you an amazingly long time. But here we go with what I know.
You can send picture messages or text messages. For text messages you can write in predictive text (you type it makes the words), manual text (for Y you press the relevant button 3 times, the old way) and you can even insert your own smiley faces or use the ones that are there. If you want a punctuation of some kind, it is only one button away. I have to admit that using the predictive text and the various pre done smileys, my mates haven't text me back to say 'what?'. Got to be a good sign.
Picture messages can be sent by taking a photo with the camera on the phone (duh) and then click on send msg. You can actually do this while looking at the picture or by going to the messages section and then searching for the photo. Either way you will soon be paying the massive costs for sending them... oh dear. Addictive is the word here. A worthy note is that although the pics look better on the PC from the phone they are taken from, they look fuzzy if you send it to your mate and they upload it. We both have the same phone so it must be something to do with the messaging. Who knows????
Now the most important thing about a phone for me is being able to hear the other person. Thankfully, you don't have any problems with that on this phone. The speaker is in the top when you open the phone and is in the natural position to listen. Other people also have no problems hearing me either.
Because the keys have indents on them, it also makes it hard to press a button against your face by accident. This can be annoying on some phones where the keys protrude from the design, but they thought this one out well.
Answering the call is also easy. As the keys are seperated aroudn the circle, it is very hard to press the hang up button by accident. If you don't like someone and you have this phone, don't tell them about this review!.
To end the call, you just press the red phone icon and thats it. Easy really.
If you want to check your call registry (a record of your incoming/outgoing calls) then you can do so. The list stays on there for ages and keeps updating. The one down side is that if the same number calls you twice, you only get to see the latest attempt. This can be annoying if you have 3 missed calls and only 2 numbers - who phoned you twice? Must be important... or maybe the 3rd was a sales call with a witheld number? I will never know. My old Nokia 5110 used to tell me, and I miss that feature more than you might expect. Incredibly useful.
For those who are confused, this is the 'feel' of the phone. Lets start with in your pocket. The phone isn't by any means huge, in fact it is about average for the market at the moment. Being a flip phone it isnt a brick, but there are smaller ones out there (you seen those tiny Motorola models?) It's not going to hide in your pocket without a small bulge, but it won't make a young boy proud either! At least it goes in the pocket without any hassle. Being a flip phone, it won't dial when in your pocket either!
When you are holding the phone to your ear it is also easy on the hand. It's light weight and so doesn't leave your arm aching after a ten minute moaning from your mum, you can hang up and still write a letter. I think, I don't write letters, but you get the idea.
If you want to write a message and such, it can become a little harder. The keys are relatively small compared to a non-flip phones and this means texting will often lead to the wrong key being hit. On the older method this isnt so bad, but on predictive text you often don't realise until the end of the message - and that's annoying!
THE CAMERA FUNCTIONS:
The camera on this phone is well included. It's built in and sits on the front panel with the screen on the other side. Now this is hard to explain, but if you open the phone and twist the screen around, then close it again, it takes up the appearance of a digital camera. The screen faces you and the lens faces forward. The screen shows you the image you are about to take so you can see what result you are likely to get. When the picture is taken, you get to see the still shot. In all cases, the image is digital and is what the pixels will look like.
As I stated earlier though, the images taken are better than the screen seems to show. You can see a blocky picture of your daughter, then when you print it, its near perfect. Not something I have cared to look into too much, the fact it does it is enough for me. This extra quality seems to be lost if you send it as a message though.
Once you have the picture you can send it as a message (press one button), store it for later viewing or set it as the background screen for your phone (I can look at my kids on that roundabout all day... if I wanted to!).
I have over 20 photos at the moment as I upload them often onto the PC, but I have never run out of space for them yet. I can't be bothered checking the manual, but anyone wanting more than that should buy a digital camera. As far as phones go, they are for those spur of the moment pictures and the 1.3 Megapixel Digital Camera on the phone is more than ample. Worth noting that this is almost a camera in itself and some would argue is easily as good as some of the cheaper digital cameras out there.
For the price this phone retails at, I was expectingto have MP3 capability. I was sadly disappointed. For those who want to sound cool, this isn't going to let you down, but its sound is hardly for status icons. Polyphonic is as far as you go.
It comes with your standard 57 ringtones and the ability to load more onto the phone, which is all you can really ask for. Shame about the MP3 function though, would have been a great addition.
As with all phones these days, you can adjust the volume for the present or set profiles such as discreet, where the volume is a certain level - then gets higher if you go back into normal.
Messages are met by a beep on my phone. Despite the constant digging in the menu's I have yet to come across how to change this yet, but the flashing light lets you know it is ringing or you have a msg anyway.
You also get vibration if you want some secretive fun in your pocket!
This is somewhat fortunate as the loudest volume isnt really that loud. OK if you work in a library but I have often missed a call when on a busy bus full of coughing oldies.
The phone comes with a sim card and all the bits and bobs you would really expect. You get a hands free kit, headphones (I lost mine pretty quick, they were tacky anyway) and cables to connect the phone to your PC for uploading your photos.
However, there are no freebie extras as this is what most phones come with nowadays. My one was locked to the Virgin network, but I know a friend who bought theirs on another network and had to get it unlocked. Some market trader in the town did it for £10 - hardly a big issue.
Well, this retails at around £129.99. A bit steep in my estimation. Comparative phones in this price bracket always seem to have MP3, which is a big thing for me.
I have seen them aucioned second hand on ebay but they are fairly rare and still fetch around £80 by the time the auction closes.
I personally paid nothing for mine though. After finding out that virgin give points every time you top up, I went on the website and had a look how many I had. You can buy phones, accesories and such like with your points. I had just enough to buy this phone, so I did. It arrived in a couple of days. Might be worth looking at.
This is a tidy little phone, make no mistake. It really depends what you want a phone for. All the functions are there, although the only thing exceptional about it is the phone. Most camera phones aren't actually digital cameras and this is a key feature when the company market it to us.
However, if you want to play mp3's as your ringtone, forget it. This is a flip side to the phone and shows you really get what you pay for. You want everything at once, you pay £400. For those not quite so rich, this is a suitable and acceptable model, especially if you can upload the images to your PC and print them out (cables only are included to do this - buy the PC and the printer yourself).
Overall, this comes recommended to anyone looking in this proce range who isnt bothered about MP3 capability.
I have had this phone for over a year now, so have a good overview as to how it works. I have to admit that I bought the phone for its looks, I have the SF65 in white and it looks good. I have had no problems with the basics of the phone (phonebook, sms and call making). I have been unable to use the Irda properly yet, it always seems to fail.
The camera is a good selling feature of this phone, as the swivel screen makes it feel like you are using a digital camera. The picture quality is good, but pictures taken in low light are not very good (as with most phones). The flash seems to help a little with this but not enough!
Overall if all you need is to make calls/send texts this phone is ok, if you need more buy another phone!.
i have one of these my self i am very happy with this phone very cheap to buy great camera action zoom in very close 1.3 megapixel camera mms, sms, polophonic ringtunes, + many more
i have had this phone for around 1 month now it has not let me down once very good battery highley reccomended would by again if phone gets damaged og lost would suit almost everyone goes with any clothes you cant gey better really
I bought this phone after having seen the advertisements on television and to be honest, it didnt live up to the hype. I took my phone with me on a holiday to berlin, germany in the hopes that i would save money on disposable cameras, how wrong i was. The only way to get a decent picture out of this phone is if the light is just perfect and you can hold you hand rock still while you take it. The internet service on the phone is useless , i couldnt even get logged on!
All in all a phone to be avoided if you can help it