Not a month seems to pass without Samsung pushing another cut-price phone onto the market, and the E1080 is the latest addition to the rapidly overcrowding stable. Boasting a surprisingly sturdy exterior with very basic features, it's hardly going to steal any of Windows Phone 7's thunder, but it could be the ideal solution for adventurous outdoor types who want strong battery life, core functionality and brawny design.
The E1080 is available from around £10 on pay as you go and £20 SIM-free.
Few companies are as staunchly committed to the budget mobile market as Samsung. While the Korean manufacturer is happy to support the cutting edge of the market with the likes of Android and Microsoft's recently launched Windows Phone 7, it's just as keen to help out those financially challenged consumers out there. Over the past few months, we've seen a handful of bargain-basement blowers from Samsung, such as the and . Now, it's time for the E1080 -- also known as the Keystone -- to take centre stage.
The E1080 bears more than a passing resemblance to its
candybar cousin, the E1170. The button layout is nearly identical, although it
has to be said, the E1080 is less visually appealing. The direction key lacks the silver accent of the E1170, replaced by a less eye-catching shade of blue.
There's also a ring of blue plastic that runs around the edge of the handset, giving it a rather cheap and nasty appearance. To top it all off, the alphanumeric keypad is a one-piece rubberised mat and, although it will undoubtedly withstand a good punishing, it's unpleasant to use.
The E1170 wasn't exactly theof mobile phones, but it did, at least, give the impression it was punching above its weight in aesthetic terms. The E1080, on the other hand, boasts an overall appearance that is more in line with its incredibly modest price tag. This is a phone built to last, rather than to dazzle. Its functional design motives are reinforced by the presence of a handy sliding cover to protect the phone's charging port, which prevents dust and fluff from getting inside the phone.
Internally, the E1080 is practically the same as its cheap and cheerful stablemates. The operating system is indistinguishable from that of the E1170, with the same menu layout, customisation options and pre-loaded applications. 'Mobile tracker' makes a welcome return, allowing you to retrieve your handset should it get lost or stolen. Once activated, it will send a message to a pre-selected number should anyone try to insert a different SIM into your phone.
Can't fake it
Curiously, 'fake call' -- an ever-present feature of many of the Samsung phones we've reviewed recently -- wasn't present on the handset we reviewed, despite being listed on the packaging and in the instruction manual. According to the instructions, the application is accessed by holding down the navigation key when the phone is in idle mode, but as much as we tried, we were unable to get it to work.