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As odd as it may be for me to say, it’s a really cute phone, even a little girly perhaps. It has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi feel when it comes to its looks. A warped egg maybe? You decide. The EF51 has a small TFT display with a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels and 256k colors. The keypad is right behind the music player panel in front. So all you have to do is flip it open. The keys on the pad may seem small, but they’re easy to use.
On one side you’ll find a dedicated voice recorder key followed by the volume keys and the dedicated camera key. There’s also the proprietary charging port. On the other side is the proprietary earphone / USB socket, but thankfully BenQ-Siemens has provided a converter to 3.5mm. Underneath this socket is the miniSD card slot. The EF51 weighs in at 95g which also makes it a light mobile phone aside from being small.
Features and Performance
The EF51 surprisingly has plenty of features to offer the regular user. All the normal features that you’ll find in the most basic of phones are present in the EF51, including a world clock application. Finding the right time zone though while setting the clock is a real pain in the A** as you have to wait for the zone name to scroll across the screen. Time distinction doesn’t seem to have an am/pm option at all – just a 24 hour clock.
The thing is; although the phone has regular applications, the functioning of these applications is not for people who rely on their mobiles for just calls. For instance the Notes application has a rather insufficient character limit, but you can password protect them. The menus are clear and easy to navigate. You can also use the numbers on the keypad to choose options as each option is associated with a number.
When the phone is hooked up to a PC, the FE51 allows you to access both the phone files and the microSD card separately. But the problem is that you can’t access the files on the memory card from the phone directly to change wallpapers or view images etc. The music files automatically get picked up by the music player, however, which seems odd. And I couldn’t seem to find a way to paste files from the phone’s memory to the card.
The main screen has an odd message-like icon at the top that I couldn’t seem to turn off. I kept thinking I had an unread message that I couldn’t find. There also seems to be an ‘L1’ logo showing and I have no clue what that means. Could be Line 1. Can't say for sure though.
If you do get a message or simply need to access the menu, it can’t be done when the flap is closed. Even though there is a Menu key front and center, it’s only for the music menus. It also seemed like the keypad only lit up when it felt like. In the dark sometimes it was a real pain typing. If I hit the Call End key by mistake, it would close the message without asking me to save it. But that could be just an issue with this piece.
Fun And Games
Unfortunately the sound quality of the EF51’s MP3 player leaves a lot to be desired. The bundled earphones are just not good enough, but since a converter is provided I though I’d use another. Sadly, even with a rather expensive pair of earphones the music quality wasn’t much better. The output was simply too low. The speakerphone was pretty good though – at least you can hear your phone ring clearly enough. The EQ presets make a difference and a slight change in the quality.
Since the EF51 supports Bluetooth with A2DP compatibility, I tried and the music quality was awesome. But then again, that largely depends on the headphones. I recommend using the i.Tech BluePRO. What happens when you’re using a Bluetooth headset though, is that it really slows the phone down. If the Bluetooth is active normally, there’s no problem.
The PC software Qmusic player is quite an iTunes wannabe but stripped down and easy to use. So that’s a good thing in my book. You can also transfer music to the phone through the player. The FM radio is good though. Reception is quite clear, even while commuting. There’s also a voice recorder and ringtone composer. The games are really low-tech but fun enough to help pass the time.
The EF51 has a 1.3 megapixel with a few settings that don’t seem to work too well. For example, there’s a setting for taking pictures of text. I don’t see how that’ll work too well considering the camera has no macro mode. So all you get are blurred and illegible images. On the whole the camera’s not very good, to put it in a point-blank manner.
The colors appear dark and pixellated even on high settings. It’s what you’d expect from a VGA camera. And as I said, none of the scene modes seem to make any difference to the images. Also, if you make any changes to the settings you will have to save them and that will take another 3-4 seconds. But it’s okay if you’re not really into taking pictures.
The 870 mAh battery battery is nothing to write home about. It’s quite average. I managed to squeeze at least 2 days out of it, with regular use of the phone, messaging, radio and even a little music.
The Bottom Line
The EF51 is, in my opinion, a ‘First Phone’. In other words, this is a good phone to buy for someone who’s going to be using a mobile for the very first time. I let my mum use it for a bit after she’s been using a simple piece, and she liked it. In her opinion, it’s a really cute phone, small enough to fit in her smallest bag, and comfy to use.
And she’s right (then again, she usually is). It’s a great phone for beginners who don’t want to start big and deal with too many features, yet have a color screen, with a good radio and a point-and-shoot camera. At a price of approximately Rs. 7025, the EF51 isn't too bad. I’m thinking of getting her one.
|Network||UMTS, GSM 900/1800/1900, GPRS|
|Physical||89 x 49 x 18 mm, 95g|
|Display||120 x 128 pixels, 256k colors|
|Memory||20MB internal, miniSD external|
|Media||MP3, AAC+, WMA, voice recorder, FM radio|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth v2.0 (A2DP), USB Proprietary |
|Battery||200hrs standby, 3.25 mins. talk|
|Street Price ||Rs. 7,025|