Nowadays, just because you want cheap a mobile phone, it doesn't mean you have to settle for a model that will blow up in your hands, crippling you for life. Times have changed, and the penny-pinching shopper now has a huge range of decent options available. The Nokia 2730 Classic, for example, is a 3G phone that's available for free on a £10-per-month contract, £50 on a pay-as-you-go deal, and about £70 SIM-free.
No school like the old school
The 2730 is an archetypal Nokia handset, with a sturdy, elongated, candybar frame. Around half of the phone is taken up by an alphanumeric keyboard, navigation button and other controls. It's surprisingly chunky, at 14mm thick.
Around the sides, you'll find a microSD memory card slot, a micro-USB port and, blessedly, a 3.5mm socket for plugging in your own headphones, so you don't have to use the bundled hands-free set. A chrome trim surrounds the handset, while the back is mostly matte black. A 2-megapixel camera sits on the rear.
On the front of the phone is a small, 51mm (2-inch) QVGA screen. With a resolution of 320x240 pixels, it's clear enough, but the handset looks like it could have accommodated a larger display. The screen's glossy coating also makes it a real fingerprint magnet.
Cheap but not so cheerful
Navigation is handled via a five-way button, 'confirm' and 'back' keys on either side of this, and answer and call-end buttons. With a brushed aluminium finish, the keypad, like the other controls, looks very classy indeed.
This illusion is, however, quickly shattered when you actually use the buttons. Stiff and unresponsive, they feel very cheap. Applying just a little pressure to the answer and call-end buttons causes the entire section of plastic in which they sit to sink into the handset. We suspect this phone might not survive more than a few trips to the pavement.
The stiff keys make texting at speed pretty awkward, and really hamper the 2730's usability generally. That's a shame, because the menus themselves are pretty intuitive. The menu icons are arranged in a pleasing grid, but cycling through them feels ever so slightly sluggish. We doubt it'll drive you up the wall, though, unless you're a particularly impatient person.