The Firefly phone is about uncomplicated as a mobile can get. There's no keypad or camera, and a simple candy bar-style shape leaves out any moving parts. It's pleasantly compact at 3.25 by 1.75 by 0.5 inches and extremely lightweight at 2.1 ounces, making it perfect for a kid-size pocket. Alternatively, a lanyard and a backpack clip are included. Just 0.8 inch diagonally, the monochrome display is tiny, so users with poor eyesight may want to give it a test run first. On the upside, the screen shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). As the Firefly is a tween phone, we were glad to see that it offers a choice of styles. While it comes with a cool see-through case, four additional color "skins" are available for purchase through Firefly.
Since the Firefly has no keypad, you control the mobile through just five buttons. Below the display are the Talk and End keys. Besides doubling as soft keys when accessing the menus, the End button is the power control, and Talk opens the menus. Between and slightly below them is a large button that opens the contact list and serves as the OK key. The last two keys are dedicated controls for calling Mom and Dad. They are marked with the same gender-specific symbols you'd find on a restroom door, so their designations can't be changed (sorry, same-sex parents).
Overall, the controls are large and amply spaced. That said, learning to use the phone took some time, but we got the hang of it eventually. As expected, the menus are a bit primitive, to say the least, but they can be set to English or Spanish. Entering phone numbers takes a fair amount of tapping to select the correct number/letter on the screen, but fortunately, you won't need to open that function too often. And in all fairness, the Firefly was designed with bare-bones simplicity in mind. Other controls consist of two volume buttons on the left spine, along with a key to activate Firefly Fireworks. Nothing more than a fun extra, the Fireworks feature makes the keys and screen flash in varying colors with a bit of animation on the display. On the right spine is a button that automatically calls an emergency number. We think that's a great feature, but it's much too exposed for our tastes. Misdials to 911 wouldn't be the best thing.