This is a real Mickey Mouse phone--and that's not an insult. Designed specifically for kids, this 2.4GHz from Motorola has buttons shaped like mouse ears, an antenna shaped like a magic wand, and Disney ring tones. While this model is more fun to use than your run-of-the-mill 2.4GHz phone, it suffers from some performance problems, and we feel 50 bucks is a bit too expensive for what's otherwise a basic model. Still, if your kids are in the Mouse Club, this fun phone will keep them smiling.
The red handset sits upright in the yellow dome base, and both are topped with a plastic antenna that looks like a magic wand. The base has only one button--a handset pager--and two LEDs that indicate when the phone is charging or when you have a voicemail message pending (if you subscribe to a local phone company's service). There's no answering machine. The peanut-shaped handset feels solid and is contoured so that you can cradle it on your shoulder. Adults won't be enamored with the small keys, but they're fine for the kids' grubby fingers. Another note on the keys: Instead of the usual electronic chirping, this phone emits gentle cricketlike sounds.
This phone's feature set is functional but basic. You get 10-number speed dial, caller ID, call waiting, a handset locator, and a voicemail indicator LED on the base. Ring tones are all Disney. You can choose from the default organ chord or electronic versions of "The Mickey Mouse Club March," "It's a Small World," "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," or a tune sung by Mickey himself. When you press the pager button on the base, Mickey chirps, "Over here, pal!" While these sounds are entertaining--and you'll certainly know whose phone is ringing--none of them are loud, even when the ringer is set to High.
Earpiece sonics, however, are plenty loud, if a bit tinny. Because the phone offers only analog technology, it was more prone to interference than 2.4GHz digital models in our tests. That antenna may look cartoonish, but we were able to wander 75 feet from the base before the crackles started--not bad but a bit shorter than others in its class. The battery lasted double its rated six-hour talk and six-day battery life, however. There is a low-battery indicator but no meter that tells you how much juice is left.
While performance is a mixed bag, this phone still makes a perfect gift for Disney-crazed kids who are willing to overlook its faults in favor of its fun features. If your child prefers mermaids over mice, have a look at this phone's sibling, the Disney Princess, which comes in pink and features ring tones from Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid.