Affordability is the order of the day with the reasonably priced T-Mobile Zest E110. For a phone that costs less than the price of your average DVD, it packs an impressive feature list: microSD support, a 3.5mm audio output and even a torch to help you locate your keys on those dark nights. Serious mobile fiends will miss Internet access and Bluetooth, however.
The Zest is exclusive to the T-Mobile network. It's available for £10 on a pay as you go deal.
Built on compromise
Low-cost mobiles are usually an exercise in compromise, offering bare-bones functionality with perhaps one or two neat extras to justify your interest. The Zest, which is manufactured by ZTE, is no exception. It brings some welcome features to the table but is ultimately aimed at undemanding users, rather than experienced- or -loving mobile veterans.
Like the equally cheap, the Zest has a predominately plastic exterior that feels solid enough but doesn't exactly exude sophistication. Everything fits together properly, and there's no movement or unwanted creakiness in the casing, but it's not what you'd call sexy. Thankfully, the Zest is perfectly capable of withstanding a few bumps and drops, a fact which makes it a good choice for butter-fingered users.
Texting on the Zest is as easy as falling off a log, thanks to the large and welcoming alphanumeric keypad. Positioned above the keys is an equally spacious four-way navigation pad that allows you to zoom around the phone's primitive menu system without breaking a sweat.
No other physical buttons exist anywhere on the phone's shell. There's no volume or camera control, and the end-call key doubles as the power button. Simplistic it may be, but the streamlined nature of this interface will endear the Zest to people who want the basics and no more.
Surprisingly, the Zest has a 3.5mm audio jack and comes bundled with a reasonably decent pair of earphones. The device also comes pre-loaded with a dedicated audio player, although you'll need to invest in a microSD card to transform the phone into a fully-functioning MP3 player, as the internal storage is smaller than the trophy cabinet at Scunthorpe United FC. Should you not fancy the additional outlay, you can still put the headphones to good use, courtesy of the Zest's built-in FM radio.
The Zest is also blessed with a VGA camera for snapping rudimentary shots. They look pretty terrible when viewed on a large monitor, but they're perfectly serviceable if you only intend to share them with friends via MMS messaging.