Orange Lisbon review: Orange Lisbon

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CNET Editors' Rating

2 stars Mediocre

Average User Rating

2.5 stars 3 user reviews

The Good 3.5mm headphone jack; idle screen shortcuts; good sound quality; addictive Magic Sushi game.

The Bad Poorly thought-out design; horribly small and unresponsive touchscreen; lack of physical keys; choppy video recording.

The Bottom Line The Orange Lisbon's small and painfully unresponsive touchscreen lets the entire phone down. Orange has forsaken usability in favour of a mildly pleasing design, resulting in a handset that's practically impossible to use without going insane

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Portugal's nice this time of year -- the beaches, the climate, the orange sun. Speaking of Orange, the company's curiously named Lisbon handset is testament to how little it knows about phone design, as it's possibly the most unusable handset ever.

The Lisbon is available direct from Orange for £30 on a pay as you go plan.

Every word for infuriating

The Lisbon is a decent-looking phone, resembling the small Palm Pre , but its good looks come at the expense of functional design. The screen itself is rather small and doesn't lend itself well to touch sensitivity. The on-screen keyboard (there's no physical one) has to be alphanumeric as a result. Even though it dominates most of the screen, making it hard to see what you're typing, the keys themselves are still insufferably small. The touchscreen is frustratingly unresponsive and only registered our presses about half of the time. As a result, composing text messages is practically impossible.

Orange has tried to remedy these issues by including directional buttons on the front of the phone, but, given that there are no physical selection buttons or keyboard, using the directional buttons requires constantly alternating between button and screen, which is just frustrating. There are substantial gaps between the screen and the buttons on the front of the handset. We feel this space could've been put to better use, perhaps by adding select buttons to accompany the directional buttons and allowing the user to feasibly forgo the touchscreen entirely.

In a quaint throwback to the Nokia handsets of the late '90s, the Lisbon has interchangeable back covers. Unfortunately, they come in the most vibrantly gaudy colours the human retina can safely perceive -- horridly vivid pink and an orange that makes the Lisbon look like the Palm Pre's ginger little brother. We really wish Orange hadn't wasted time and money on these back covers when it could've been working on improving the touchscreen.

Nothing to write home about

We do like the fact that the Lisbon has a 3.5mm headphone jack rather than the crummy proprietary ones that most handsets in this price range come with. Sound quality through the speakers is surprisingly good thanks to a distinct speaker grille on the back.

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Orange Lisbon

Part Number: CNETOrange Lisbon
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