Nokia 2115i Shorty review:

Nokia 2115i Shorty

What's surprising about the Nokia 2115i Shorty is that for a phone this low tech, you get a fair number of features. There is a 250-contact phone book, but you are limited to one-word name entries with no spaces. Initial entries allow only the insertion of one undesignated phone number, although you can add specific home/mobile/work numbers in the Edit function. Confusingly, e-mail addresses can be added but only through a completely different menu. You can, however, assign one of eight polyphonic ring tones to individual contacts.

While the Nokia 2115i Shorty skimps on the phone book, it paradoxically includes a variety of functions, such as an alarm clock, a vibrate mode, a currency calculator (odd on a phone that can be used only in the United States), a voice recorder that can record up to 60 seconds of memos, a countdown timer, voice dialing, a speakerphone, a stopwatch, a calendar, and a scheduler. All the additions seem more designed to be used by an active and tech-savvy phone user, not the occasional caller who is likely to be the primary customer for this phone.

Since this is a phone for a prepaid service plan, the call time elapsed stays on the screen after you hang up until you hit Dismiss. Just hitting the up direction on the navigation toggle lets you check your Virgin Mobile account and activate the Top Up refill options for adding minutes. You do get text messaging, but the only Web access is to Virgin Mobile's VirginXtras server for buying extras such as ring tones. While it took about 15 to 20 seconds to connect, ringer downloads took only about 10 seconds and were quite painless to assign once acquired.

One of the more fascinating functions included in the Nokia 2115i Shorty is SongID. Dial *43, then when prompted, simply hold the phone next to a speaker so that it can "hear" a song for 15 seconds. The connection automatically ends when the system has heard enough. For $1 each, Virgin text-messages you back the song title and artist. Virgin correctly identified not only "Love Is the Tender Trap" by Frank Sinatra but also "(Who Discovered) America?" by Ozomatli (although it misspelled the band's name), each within about 10 seconds.

Like its Virgin Mobile compatriot, the Kyocera K10 Royale, the Nokia 2115i Shorty includes a built-in flashlight. However, you must press and hold the star key (*) to activate and turn it off. The Shorty's light is dimmer and more diffused than the Royale's, although it's still quite handy at finding buried objects in purses or keyholes in the dark. Three games--Snake II, Kart Racing, and Space Impact II--are included in the 2115i Shorty, but with only up/down keys and a monochrome screen, they have limited entertainment value. You can personalize the mobile with a variety of wallpaper, and you can download more options if you wish.

We tested the triband (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) Nokia 2115i Shorty--which, like all Virgin Mobile phones, uses Sprint's PCS network--while wandering about Manhattan. Voice quality was generally good with plenty of volume, as long as you keep the finicky earpiece in position; if the earpiece is slightly off your canal's center, you'll barely hear a thing. Because the phone's mic doesn't extend down as close to the mouth as a clamshell phone's, our callers complained of hollow or ambient noise on their end of the call. On our end, voices sounded thick but clear with occasional quavering. The sound quality for the two-way speakerphone also was warbled at best and not very loud, making it fairly useless in anything but a tomblike environment.

Even at its loudest, ringer volume is low to medium, which made it difficult to hear from a pants pocket and, depending on which ringer you pick, nearly impossible from a bag. When in a pocket, the violent vibrate alert let us know a call was coming in without hearing a ring.

Thanks to the limited juice needed by the small, monochrome screen, we got 4.5 hours of talk time compared with the rated 4.6 hours. That's perfectly acceptable, but it's still less that what we're used to from most Nokias; the 9300 smart phone lasted for 8 hours. The promised standby time is 8.8 days, but we got only 6 days in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Nokia 2115i Shorty has a digital SAR rating of 0.75 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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