Samsung E1170 review: Samsung E1170

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The Good Solid design; Interesting extras; Strong battery life.

The Bad Lack of 3G/GPRS; No camera; Weak screen.

The Bottom Line Light on features but big on value, the Samsung E1170 isn't likely to divert sales away from the big hitters. It does, however, offer an attractive package for novice mobile users who aren't concerned with accessing the Internet or exchanging photos.

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6.5 Overall

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The battle of the budget phones is certainly heating up, with more and more cut-price handsets hitting the market. Samsung's modest E1170 is just one of the myriad offerings, and contains a surprisingly high number of features for such a bargain-basement RRP.

The E1170 can be obtained online or in store at Tesco for as little as £15. You can also get it for around £15 a month on a contract, with the handset naturally being offered free of charge.

Keeping it humble

If you're old enough to recall the days before the emergence of cheap and cheerful pay as you go phones, the notion of purchasing a mobile for under £20 will probably strike you as absurd. We've seen a proliferation of these budget blowers in the past year or so, however. Recent devices, such as the 3330 Classic and 1661 -- both from Nokia, have driven down the cost of portable telephony, and there's an increasing number of equally inexpensive alternatives out there, as well.

Like Nokia, Samsung has been especially keen to hop on the budget bandwagon in recent months. The E1170 can be snagged for as little as £15, making it one of the cheapest phones currently available on the market. As you might expect, selling a mobile for such a low price cannot be achieved without cutting corners, and the E1170 takes more shortcuts than Dick Dastardly.

The most obvious omission is the lack of a camera. Not that having one would boost the phone's appeal to budding photographers -- the E1170 is incapable of sending (and receiving) multimedia messages, thanks to its lack of GPRS and 3G. There's no Bluetooth, either, so file transfers of any kind are off the menu. It's probably for the best, because, with a paltry 16MB of on-board memory, you don't have much room for your own personal art gallery anyway.

Elsewhere, the E1170's minuscule 128x128-pixel display feels painfully outdated. Colours are washed out and moving through menus causes unsightly motion blur.

The E1170's tiny display isn't suited for viewing images -- which is just as well, because you can't receive picture messages on the phone.

With no media-playback capabilities of any kind, entertainment certainly isn't high on the priority list with the E1170. Despite this, it still manages to offer some gratification and comes equipped with a couple of interesting applications. You get one game -- the surprisingly agreeable Super Jewel Quest -- and a handful of features such as a calculator, converter, stopwatch and flashlight. It should be noted, however, that the latter merely uses the phone's display to create illumination.

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