Shortly we intend to praise the practical design of the EasyTouch Discovery but it's hard to overlook how ugly this phone is as well. Its boxy shape, the mirror-finished surface smeared with our fingerprints and the way the external buttons and camera protrude awkwardly from the handset create an unappealing aesthetic. Then again, previous collaborations between Telstra and Chinese OEM ZTE have failed to deliver any attractive design, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.
Swallowing our shameful superficiality, we tip our hats to Telstra for putting a phone into stores that meets the demands of people other than iPhone scenesters and BlackBerry-toting business people. Opening the Discovery reveals the largest keypad we can remember seeing on a mobile phone. The size of these keys rivals the size and definition of the buttons on the telephone sitting on the desk in our office. This is fantastic news for people with impaired vision.
In addition to a large, clear keypad, the Discovery features a sharp, colourful display and audible feedback when entering phone numbers, as in the phone speaks the numbers back to you as you type them. The layout of the main menu is simple and easy to decipher, and includes a help option. This help menu features guides to mobile phone basics with text descriptions of how to make calls, send messages and an introduction to using Bluetooth to pair with external devices, like a-enabled hearing aid neckloop.
With its focus on accessibility you might be surprised to discover that the EasyTouch Discovery also features a few high-tech gizmos. As a phone purpose-built for Telstra's Next G network, the Discovery includes 3G connectivity with HSDPA data transmission. Next G services feature prominently of the Home Screen and main menu, giving customers access to Bigpond and mobile Foxtel.
The Discovery also sports a top-mounted 3-megapixel camera and a front-facing camera below the screen for video calling. Headphone connections are made via the micro USB charging port on the side of the handset. The Discovery comes bundled with a 3.5mm headphone attachment which is surprisingly small — only about 5 centimetres in length. An FM radio tuner is included alongside a standard MP3 music player.
In a first in recent memory, the Discovery sales package includes a tutorial DVD with step-by-step instructions on how to use the major features of the phone, with visual aids to make the lessons clearer. Chapters of the DVD include "How to make phone calls", "How to send messages" and an introductory lesson on how to install the SIM card and battery. No lesson is too elementary for this DVD and it will come as a godsend for those buying their first mobile phone.