The Siemens AX72 is an entry level, GPRS candybar phone with a simple design and a 65k-colour screen. Indeed, this is no superstar mobile, it doesn't have a camera and it won't play MP3s, but what it lacks in lustre it makes up in value for money, lightness and good audio quality. Currently available at Virgin Mobile for around £30 on pay as you go, this humble phone is a bargain if you want a basic handset to make calls and send SMS on.
The AX72 is surprisingly good looking for a pay as you go phone, and doesn't ooze cheapness or poor build quality. Measuring a discreet 47 by 106 by 17mm it fits easily in your pocket and weighs a diminutive 76g, which is 10g lighter than the Slvr L6. In fact, everyone who picked it up wasn't bothered that it lacked all the modern features associated with new technology, and instead concentrated on how light it felt. People were also impressed with the audio quality which wasn't muffled or distorted.
That doesn't mean that it doesn't have any modern features though, and in reality it's not as simple as it may first appear. It's a tri-band phone so it will work in Europe, the US, Canada, the Caribbean and South America. It has a WAP browser, so you can access the Internet, and it can even be used as a modem via a USB cable. Surprisingly, there is a voice command mode that is activated using the navigation key and lets you access several applications by simply saying a pre-recorded word of your choice.
The AX72 supports MMS messaging, but since it doesn't have a camera, the main advantage of this is that you can receive MMS messages from your better-equipped friends. It also has polyphonic ringtones, alarm, calendar, calculator, animated screensavers, stopwatch, countdown, notes, time zones, appointments and a currency converter. A random but noteworthy feature is the ability to search through international dialling codes by holding down the number '0' and then pressing '+List'.
With most technology you get what you pay for and the AX72 is no exception. There's no camera, MP3 player, Bluetooth or infrared and there's only 1.5MB of internal memory with no option to expand.
The screen, although colour, is pixelated and images look distorted compared to the Nokia N70, for example, which features a 262k-colour screen. Another niggle is the interface, which can be frustratingly slow at times. When you try to search through the phonebook for a specific name it takes a while for the phone to find it, and when accessing certain applications you may find they take a couple of seconds to load.
Even though the handset feels solid and doesn't look cheap, the keypad lacks the finesse of more expensive models and is clunky and noisy. The battery cover, which is a thin piece of plastic, comes off very easily, which isn't great if you're prone to dropping your phone.
The AX72 won't dazzle people when you pull it out of your pocket but it is a very good phone for its price. It makes calls, sends and receives SMS and MMS messages and has a WAP browser. Overall its lightweight body and good audio quality kept us content, but it won't satisfy feature hounds.
Edited by Mary Lojkine
Additional editing by Kate Macefield