One interesting break from the absolute bare minimum is Nokia's inclusion of a torch at the top of the phone. The 1616 doesn't have a camera, so there is no camera flash — instead there is a dedicated lamp next to the 3.5mm headphone socket on the top of the phone. This light is quite bright too; good enough to find the keyhole when you stagger to the front door late at night at least.
Features and performance
For AU$29 there are a few modern mobile features you won't be surprised to find absent. There's the lack of a camera, mentioned previously, and the complete absence of anything related to web browsing. The 1616 is a 2G handset operating on the 850/900/1800/1900MHz frequencies, which means you shouldn't have any trouble sending SMS messages or making phone calls, but don't expect much more from this cheap and cheerful handset.
If you're only after a phone for calling and messaging, then the 1616 should fit the bill. Text and numbers appear quite large on the tiny screen, and composing text messages is a breeze if you're familiar with the Nokia flavour of predictive text.
Digging a bit deeper in the main menu of the 1616 you will come across a few neat bonuses. There's an FM radio, an alarm clock and a calculator, plus there's a range of very simple Java games that may pass the time on the train, though they certainly didn't grab our attention. This lack of features does have the double-edged advantage of extending the battery life to days and days between charges, and that's because the phone has so little to offer you won't waste battery fiddling with it all day as you might if it was an iPhone instead.
To answer the question posed in the opening paragraph, the amount of mobile phone you get for AU$29 isn't a great deal, but it does perform the basics admirably. There are a few neat bonuses beneath the basics, like the torch and some games, but we must admit to being a little surprised not to find even the simplest web browser for rudimentary Google searches. We're even more surprised that there isn't a camera of any description included as we think the tweens who end up with this handset would probably like to have even a very low resolution shooter.
We've described this handset as costing AU$29 throughout this review, but we should point out that it is only available at this price when bought through either Crazy John's or Vodafone and it is locked to these networks.