Modu phone review: Modu phone

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CNET Editors' Rating

1.5 stars Poor
Pricing Unavailable

The Good Interesting concept. 2GB internal storage.

The Bad Poor basic performance. Jackets are garbage. Expensive for what you get.

The Bottom Line We can appreciate the genius in the Modu concept, but the reality of this concept is half-baked at best.

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It could be argued that the mobile phone space is growing stale. There's been very little commercial innovations for handsets outside of the standard variations on the common phone design in quite a while. Modu is a phone that attempts something new; a central control unit that can be inserted into a range of products to create a new product. For example, you could take the Modu and insert it into your car's dashboard to connect to the stereo speaker system, or insert it into a notebook to synchronise content from both machines while you take calls using your PC's speakers or a connected headset.

Design and features

To facilitate the goal of being the central unit for a range of standard-sized devices, the Modu phone is positively tiny with 72x37x7.8mm dimensions and a feather-like 40g weight. This pint-sized physical specs don't leave much room for a screen or physical control, Modu offers a 1.2-inch low-resolution display and a navigation pad only.

What's this, no keypad? The central Modu unit is sans a number pad, but this is where inserting it into a Modu jacket will add much needed functionality. You can actually make calls without a jacket, selecting numbers on-screen with the nav-pad, but the Modu without a jacket is like the Fonze just wearing a T-shirt — it doesn't really work.

We saw three of the compatible jackets available in Australia and we can say the following without a hint of remorse: these jackets are garbage. Seriously, between the Mini Jacket, Speedy Jacket and the Night Jacket there isn't a single standout and none make the Modu better than an AU$99 Nokia in design or features. Mini and Speedy Jackets simply give the phone a different look and a number pad, while the slightly larger Night Jacket adds a crumby 3.2-megapixel camera to the mix. This gives you some idea about what Modu could be, you can imagine slotting it into a compatible compact camera with a 12-megapixel sensor, or a touchscreen running a smartphone OS like Google's Android, but that isn't what you can do with Modu at this time.

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Where to Buy

Modu phone

Part Number: CNETModu phone

Typical Price: $149.95

See manufacturer website for availability.