How much phone do you think you should get for AU$29? This is the question that has plagued us since we began our review of the Nokia 1616. For being the cheapest brand-name phone we know of in Australia, the Nokia 1616 deserves some kudos, but does this mean it's worth your money?
More like a time machine than that envisioned by H.G. Wells, every time we pick up the Nokia 1616 it transports us back to the Halcyon days of the mid to late '90s. John Howard had just taken over as Prime Minister, people had grown bored of Pearl Jam and everyone carried a Nokia phone similar to the phone reviewed here.
The 1616 is like a phone teleported from that magical era: its stiff, hollow-feeling plastic body is fantastically lightweight though seemingly sturdy. Above a standard Nokia array of keypad and navigation controls you'll find a 1.8-inch colour display with a 128x160 resolution. This affords the home screen room to display the time, battery information and signal strength, but you can forget about fancy widgets displaying Facebook updates or anything of the like.
The keypad is reasonably well laid out, though there isn't that much definition between each of the numbers. Tapping out a quick SMS or punching in a phone number is fine, but expect the odd error if you have fingers larger than a primary school-aged kiddie. Strangely, the directional keypad under the screen doesn't have an "enter" button in the centre, instead you need to press the left-hand selection button to complete a menu selection. This makes for a minor quibble, but it had us scratching our heads nonetheless.
One interesting break from the absolute bare minimum is Nokia's inclusion of a torch at the top of the phone. The 1616 doesn't have a camera, so there is no camera flash — instead there is a dedicated lamp next to the 3.5mm headphone socket on the top of the phone. This light is quite bright too; good enough to find the keyhole when you stagger to the front door late at night at least.