Vodafone has a long history of simple, effective handsets that don’t boggle the mind and do the basics well. At first glance, this phone looks a bit odd: thin plastic, rough to the touch almost, with the power button on the side.
But stick with it – this phone is a gem. First of all, it’s light and small without compromising on the need for big, easy-to-read keys. The keys take up every part of the phone’s front apart from the small screen at the top of the candy bar.
The screen is not high-resolution – really, it isn’t. But it’s enough for the phone’s needs. Once you’ve set the clock, that’s what you see on the screen: a big digital clock in light blue with the date below, battery life and signal strength above.
There are three keys below the screen: ones to start and end calls and a rocker button. Press the rocker to scroll through the menus and to select an option (it’s weird, but you’ll get used to it) you press the send key. It means you don’t need more than those three buttons.
Like Vodafone’s earlier simple phones, the Emporia RL1 has a straightforward, unmissable keylock. It’s a button on the right edge. One long press and the screen changes to a padlock, with the time alongside. If you press a key, or forget where the keylock is, the graphic changes to show you. There are volume keys on the left edge and one other button is quiet genius: the right edge boasts a picture of a light. Press it and an LED on the top edge switches on. It’s genuinely bright.
Texting is easy enough on keys this size, but disappointingly there’s no predictive text. Sure, many people find moving from multi-tap to predictive a hump too far, but it would be good
to have the option as the Doro does.
That’s the weakest part of the Emporia RL1, though. And there are useful templates available for short messages like “I’ll come later” or “I don’t have much time” (how often I’ve wanted to text that). Battery life may not be quite as strong as on the Doros but it’s certainly respectable. Overall, this is a phone which is neat, light and highly pocketable.
Takes ease of use to new levels – there’s nothing but a few chunky keys and a screen.
What Mobile Test Verdict: 4/5