Nokia's superbasic 105 mobile
BARCELONA, Spain--You might not think that an electric blue phone with an itty-bitty 1.5-inch screen would appeal to most folks, but Nokia is guessing that its extremely targeted, extremely simple Nokia 105 is going to fit the bill for folks who have 15 euros to spend.
Intentionally created for the entry-level cell phone markets in China, Indonesia, India, and Nigeria, the Nokia 105 focuses on calls, long battery life, and only a few little extras.
The handset comes in black and the now-signature Nokia cyan shade. When I held it in my hands, my first impression was that somebody put a thumbnail sticker of a tiny screen in the middle of a sea of cheap blue plastic. With rubbery keys and that candied azure hue, this thick, comical handset looks and feels like a children's toy.
One bonus: it does look durable and is splash and dust-proof.
In addition, the Nokia 105's rubbery keys are tactile and very responsive, but the material stretches over them in such an undefined blanket that it's hard to dial by feel. The central select button offers too much give when I use it; it should bounce back a bit more, and be a skosh stiffer.
On the screen, tiny icons smaller than my pinky nail help you navigate around the color screen, opening the flashlight, FM radio, alarms, and a reminder app, for starters.
Since the screen demands such little power, the 800mAh battery lasts for over 12.5 hours on talk time, Nokia says, and will power through 35 days on standby without a charge.
You'll notice that there's no camera, no volume rocker, and in fact, no buttons at all apart from the alphanumeric dialpad (which does contain a power button.) While I see this as a design flaw -- I don't know anyone who doesn't want to manually control their audio volume -- fewer joints and openings also do a better job protecting internals from the elements. Still, a volume rocker on the side of the phone would not go amiss.
Yet the rock bottom retail price of only 15 euros doesn't give critics much room to complain about value, at least not until we test it. The Nokia 105 is expected to ship before the end of the first quarter.