With some products I firmly believe that the devil is in the detail. In others however, simple is often best. The Vodafone 716 is an unpretentious model that delivers reasonable quality for a very fair price. I came to own this phone when my own broke, and as a temporary replacement I found it to be very resilient and easy to use.
As well as the phone, included in the package is a charger, earphones, USB cable, CD ROM software and an instruction manual. The manual is clearly set out and comprehensive, and also provides instructions for navigating your way through the menus, as well as providing contact details in case of problems arising.
With dimensions of 104 x 45 x 14.5 mm and a weight of 90g is it compact enough to slip into your pocket unnoticed. Yes, there are sleeker models around, but for a phone that comes in at around £30 this phone is equipped with a wealth of features. These include T9, a calendar, calculator, clock, voice memo recorder, hands free capacity, WAP 2.0/xHTML browser, 65 K colours and polyphonic and MP3 ringtone capacity. With an inbuilt camera, a variety of games, just over three hours' talk time, bluetooth and MP3 capacity it gives you a lot of bang for your buck. The same cannot always be said of the quality of these services, but you can't have everything.
I did not use the phone for music, and indeed, if you were inclined to do so you would likely be disappointed in this model. With a memory capacity of 8MB the number of tracks you would have access to would be minimal. Sound quality is not ideal for music lovers either, although neither is it dreadful. Bass delivery is mediocre, and the speaker does not have the capability to deliver the smoothness of sound that more advanced models may have. Listening to music through the headphones provided increases the sound quality greatly, although said earphones are as simple as the phone so you may wish to invest in some other, better quality buds for this purpose. Additionally, I only tried to use the internet once on this phone, but the connection time and downloading speed was so prolonged I never bothered attempting this a second time.
The menus are easy to navigate, but they wouldn't win any prizes for artistic contribution. For me this was not an issue, as I like a phone where I can find what I'm looking for without having to bypass unnecessary onscreen obstacles. Contrary to many people's opinion, I liked the set out of the keypad and although I found myself occasionally hitting the wrong key, I generally found it to be unproblematic.
This is a simple, inexpensive phone whose features reflect this. I would have preferred fewer features of a higher quality, rather than the manufacturer attempting to cater to everyone's taste. As a stopgap this phone proved invaluable to me, but I would not consider it as a long term option.
My Vodafone 716 was purchased in Argos for the princely sum of £19.99, Pay as you Go. Having read that big catalogue and found a 3G mobile with a camera, camcorder and mp3 player for under £20, I thought I'd hit the jackpot. And to an extent, I still think I have.
Now, I'm not going to wax lyrical about the quality of these functions, because the phone was cheap, and obviously they aren't the best. If you want a phone with a great music player I suggest you fork out for an iPhone, and if you want a quality camera-phone, I think there are some great Sony Ericssons around. But while the Vodafone's capabilities aren't at that level, they are fully functional. Yes, the camera doesn't seem to produce the 1.3 Megapixel shots it advertises, and the music player's menu is frustrating and unintuitive. But it takes fairly good pictures and songs sound like they're supposed to, especially through the supplied headphones. And for this money that is pretty good.
Another issue that could be raised with this phone is the build quality. The buttons seem sticky and not well placed, and some require you to press quite a lot harder than others after a while. However, despite initially seeming quite flimsy, my own Vodafone 716 has survived longer than any other phone I have ever owned, including the famous Nokia 3310 "Brick". Of course, most of the symbols on the buttons have long disappeared, but that shouldn't be a problem having owned it for so long.
The software and operating system within the phone are very simple. This means that certain elements of the menus are quite ugly, but also means that the phone is very easy to operate, as everything does just what you'd expect.
An issue with this phone is the lack of any real memory of its own. The internal memory is 8 MB, or in layman's terms, 2 songs. However, one can quite easily purchase a microSD card, which boosts the memory to up to 2 GB, or about 500 songs. I personally find a 1 GB card sufficient.
Now, being a 3G phone, one of the main functions should be the internet access. I won't sugarcoat this, its horrific. Slow, ugly and difficult. If you do buy this phone, buy it expecting never to use the internet on it. But anyway, if you're reading this, I assume you have access to the internet already.
So in conclusion, this is an excellent value phone, with many functions and surprising reliability.
I bought this phone for £25 brand new from a Vodaphone shop around 18 months ago. I needed a phone on the Vodaphone network so I could get free calls as part of the pay as you go friends and family option (£5 a month for unlimited free calls to up to five other selected Vodaphone numbers). At the time, it was costing me £70 a week to phone Mr Norton, so buying a second phone for the free calls was a cheap alternative!
The handset came in the usual red Vodaphone box with: headphones, charger, li-on battery, data cable (USB), instruction book, vodaphone promotional leaflet about call tariffs, CD-Rom and a quick start guide. The phone also comes with a SIM card. The staff set the phone up in the Vodaphone shop for me so I did not have to do anything other than make a call. I liked that option as I am not all that good with technology. I bought this phone as it was the cheapest handset I could see on pay as you go in the shop. If I remember correctly, it came with £10 of credit.
As soon as I started trying to use this phone, I realised why it was so cheap to buy brand new. The buttons are a nightmare to use. It would take me 15 attempts to send a text as the edges of the buttons catch so you inadvertently press the cancel button when you are trying to get the G H or I keys. So, I was spending ages trying to write a text then have the phone go back to the front screen and have to try to find where my text had gone (saved in drafts- took me ages to work this out as the message box has tabs/ screens I was not used to!).
The screen lock takes ages to come on so I end up stood around holding the phone waiting for the screen lock to come on. With other phones you press, for example: *# to lock the screen- I could never work out if there was a manual screen lock with this phone and tried all the symbols I could see on the handset. Nothing will lock this phone! You have to stand there waiting for it to lock as if you put the phone in your bag before it locks it will try to dial a number. Normally 999.
To navigate around the menu there are four buttons (seen in the picture) around a central button. Some phones have a little joystick nudge button, this does not. It is hard to navigate around the menus as all the buttons catch so the central button will remain depressed on one edge and I had to use a biro lid to press the buttons on the phone to either use the menus or try to send a text. I found it easier to phone people than text after a while. I have small hands so I cannot imagine how frustrating it would be for someone with larger hands to try to use.
I'm not someone who is up with the latest technology, so from the leaflets that come with the phone I will try to list what features this has for the purpose of giving some product information in this review:
Calls and MMS (Multimedia messages) or normal texts.
Video camera- very short memory ie 30 seconds maximum. Easy to use, but video memory is so short.
Camera- very hard to use. Not clear how to use it.
Music including FM radio
Games- Java powered. When you click on this you get redirected so I have assumed these are online and have not played any in case it would cost money.
Internet access (limited, very slow and expensive from my experience!).
So, this is a very basic phone. Good for making calls only really. The buttons are awful, the camera feels awkward to use- all you are supposed to be able to do (according to the 12 lines of camera instructions in the manual) is: adjust brightness and contrast and zoom in and out. It does not say anywhere in the user manuals how many pixels the camera is. From experience the phone memory is very limited so you cannot store more than around 50 photos and 1-3 videos of under 30 seconds on the phone before it is full.
So, one star from me for this being very awkward to use. Awkward to the point I have had my Motorola Razr phone unlocked and now use that as this is not a patch on the Razr!.