Sometimes all you want -- and frankly, need -- is a phone that does the basics and does them well. Finding a simple phone can be surprisingly difficult, but we think Alcatel might be on to something with its OT-S120.
According to Alcatel, it will be out soon and cost under £20. You'll most likely be able to buy it from Argos and Woolworths, among other high street shops.
Pay as you go phones usually look as though they've been made out of leftover parts and put together in factories run by gremlins, but not the cute kind. The Alcatel OT-S120 breaks this mould: it's one of the most attractive pay as you go phones we've seen so far.
It may be small, but it feels solid and its black casing keeps things simple. There are several dimples on the back that add some extra style. Its rubberised keypad is easy to press and well laid-out. We particularly like that the navigation keys are nice and large, so we aren't pressing multiple buttons with our man-thumbs.
Sure, it's basic, but like your local greasy spoon, it does the basics well. If it's simple you want, it's simple you'll get. There's a black and white screen that's easy to read and is clearly visible in bright sunlight.
Composing a text message is made easy using predictive text. There's no MMS facility, but then again, it does only have a black and white screen. Other features include an alarm clock, a calculator and two simple games, one of which is similar to Tetris.
The only thing we found annoying about the OT-S120 is the lack of onboard memory. You won't be able to keep many text messages or contacts, as you'll have to store them all on your SIM card.
Since there aren't any power-hungry features on the OT-S120, the battery will last longer. We didn't need to recharge it after three days of moderate use, which is pretty impressive and useful if you're at a festival, for example.
While it's one of the most basic handsets we've reviewed, the OT-S120 is actually rather impressive. A minimalist approach has ensured that it not only looks good but is also straightforward to use.
Compared to other entry-level phones such as the Motorola F3, we think this wins hands down. Unlike the Motorola, the Alcatel displays everything normally without cutting words in half or requiring codes to access certain features.
If you'd prefer a colour screen, the Alcatel OT-S210 (in black) and OT-S211 (in white) offer all the same features, plus an FM radio.
Edited by Nick Hide