Vodafone Emporia RL1 review: Vodafone Emporia RL1

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The Good Easy to use; Eye-catching design; Amazing battery life.

The Bad Basic features; Feels cheap; Overpriced for what it offers.

The Bottom Line Striking a blow for simplicity over complexity, the RL1 is sure to be a hit with those who seek to do nothing more than talk and text with their phones, but the price is a little steep for such a modest mobile.

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6.5 Overall

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The Emporia RL1 has been developed with simple usability in mind and has only the most basic calling and texting features. There's little to get pure-blooded techno-fiends excited, but the phone's refreshingly straight-forward nature will endear it to less experienced mobile users.

The Emporia RL1 is available exclusively from Vodafone for £60 on a pay as you go tariff. It's also available on pay monthly contracts, with prices starting at the lower end of the spectrum.

Keeping it simple

With phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S 2 and HTC Sensation bringing technological revelations such as HD video recording and Super AMOLED Plus displays, it's all too easy to forget that many mobile users just want a phone for talking and texting.

The toy-like buttons may appear amusing, but for those with failing eyesight, they drastically improve usability.

The Emporia RL1 has been produced exclusively with these humble activities in mind and could be the solution for those of you addled by over-complicated smart phones.

When you first scoop up the RL1, you'll be forgiven for assuming it's some kind of child's toy. At a waif-like 92g it's astonishingly lightweight, and its plastic case unfortunately exudes an air of cheapness. The big, chunky buttons look similarly childish, but they are there for a reason: to improve overall usability.

The RL1 isn't aimed at your average gadget-obsessed geek -- this device has been built with less confident individuals in mind. Those large keys may look comical if you're used to a touch-screen device such as the iPhone 4, but for elderly users or those with eyesight problems, they'll prove a blessing.

Strike a light

The same can be said of the RL1's bright and bold display. Granted, the primitive OLED technology is hardly likely to challenge modern smart phone displays for clarity and colour depth, but it features large text and an easy to navigate menu structure.

The RL1's LED torch is activated by a button on the side of the phone, making it easy to access at all times.

Elsewhere on the phone you'll find a torch button on the side -- this activates the bright LED flashlight on the top. Not only is this handy for locating your keys after a particularly hard night on the real ale, it also doubles as a swanky call indicator. It flashes when the RL1 is ringing, and could prove especially useful if you're hard of hearing.