When the Neo 808i first landed on my desk I was intrigued - it is after all the world's smallest phone. Promoted at this year's Gitex, the makers of this 65mm x 40mm x 13mm phone, which weighs less than 90g, claim it has already been a hit across the UAE.
Not with me, though. I used the phone for 24 hours before I swapped back to my trusty Nokia with large screen and easy-to-use keypad.
The tiny red and black Neo 808i comes complete with a matching sock which can be hung around your neck - presumably because it is so small it gets easily lost. Turn it on and it plays a cartoon-type jingle and at this early stage of use, it would not be unreasonable for the user to offer the phone to their younger sister, son or daughter - anyone under the age of 17 years old and desperate for a phone to show off to their friends in the playground.
The Neo 808i should come with a warning - for small people or children only. The tiny buttons make it impossible for anyone with adult-sized hands to be able to use this gadget - unless of course they have long fingernails - which almost entirely rules out male users, in particular business users who need to use their phone quickly and efficiently.
The onscreen, colour icons are cartoon-like and the ring tone choice is gimmicky, another plus for the playground. In its defence, however, the Neo 808i is easy to use once the user gets familiar to the small keys. For simple tasks such as texting, making and receiving calls, changing the ringtone and locking the keypad, the phone is simple to operate.
As well as the standard mobile phone features, the Neo 808i has a 1.3 MP camera, Bluetooth, MP3 and MP4 player and WAP capability which again are easy to use.
For those who regularly employ their phone to play MP3 and MP4 files, the 808i features a 128MB built-in storage and a memory slot expandable to 2GB - surprising given its size but necessary for large file storage. Other features, which might account for the large memory capacity include storage for up to 1000 contacts, and more unusual features including a health section in which users can calculate their BMI and menstrual calendar - perhaps another indicator that this phone is aimed more at female users rather than male.
As a present for a teenager this phone is ideal but for the business user it is far from appropriate. The size of the handset - the very reason people might buy the phone - is actually its downfall. The keys and the screen are too small and the cartoon-style ring tones, icons and neck sock make it impossible to be taken seriously in an office environment.
The storage feature is useful for users with a large number of contacts, but the number of other phones offering similar storage capacity means this is not a unique selling point.
The website, which works in conjunction with the phone is very useful and is a great tool for anyone having difficulties downloading music or files.
Verdict:for under-17's this phone is ideal, given the number of gaming, radio and music applications. For business users, however, it's a complete non-starter.
Price:available from Universal Concepts, Plug Ins and CompuMe stores for US$272.
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