Alcatel has been spraying out new handsets as if they were going out of fashion. Which is an interesting observation, because some of them are heavily fashion-oriented – in some cases to the exclusion of functionality.
Here for instance is the Alcatel E230, about as pink a phone as you’ll see. It’s a very traditional clamshell, surprisingly thick by today’s standards, and provided with a lustrous metallic deep fuchsia pink paint job with a bit of matt metallic plastic around the edge of the flip. Open it up and you’re confronted with a small screen and a very shiny plastic keypad. The screen is about as low-res as you can get these days (102×80 pixels, six lines of text, 4KB colours), but then there isn’t much to display on it – some wallpapers and a couple of the most sluggish games you’ll come across in a phone.
There’s not much else. No memory card, no music player, no camera, no Bluetooth, no USB. There no Java games on board. There is no way to add games, wallpapers or ringtones to this phone. There are 20 ringtones, all pretty terrible.
And that of course it the 230’s appeal. Functionally it’s a very simple phone (though there appears to be a surprisingly large number of options to wade through when you try to master the clunky user interface to customise the thing).
But if you want a phone that makes calls and sends SMS texts, you can’t deny that this one does the business – yes you get predictive texting, yes there’s room for 250 names in the phonebook, yes it has decent signal reception and ok call quality. The keypad may be visually offensive and rather downmarket, but keypresses are responsive and texting is pretty quick.
On top of that, Alcatel is making a habit of putting funky flashing lights on its fashion phones that illuminate when someone is calling in (blue light) or texting (orange). And with pay-as-you-go prices on at least one network below a tenner, that makes the E230 a rather good buy.
• Bargain-basement baby. Don’t offer too much, sell only to young females, and you should have a happy customer.
Size: 4.6x 5×23.4mm
Display: CSTN, 4096 colours, 102×80 pixels
Connectivity: Dual band GSM
Battery: Standby up to 250h, Talk time up to 5h
Features: Illuminates on incoming call