Vodafone Emporia RL1 review: Vodafone Emporia RL1

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Another useful feature is the bundled dock, which allows you to charge the RL1 when it's not in use. This can be secured to a wall using the screws provided, allowing the device to effectively replace your home phone.

Despite its toy-like appearance, there's no denying the RL1 boasts a relatively appealing design. The sharp edges and sleek lines are certainly distinctive, although we're not entirely sure everyone will dig the near-future aesthetic.

Pure and simple, every time

What will be appreciated is the pure simplicity of the RL1. Aside from a calculator and birthday reminder, the phone literally does nothing else but make calls and send text messages. There's no camera, no Internet, no email and most certainly none of that app-related tomfoolery. Such technological poverty is likely to send avid mobile users running for the hills, but as Vodafone is desperate to point out, the RL1 isn't intended for such people.

From the large buttons to the impressive battery life (a single charge gets you around a week of use), the RL1 has been crafted to be the ideal phone for the older generation -- or simply those of you that are sick to death of having to read a gigantic instruction manual in order to get your latest mobile working.

The included charging cradle allows you to juice-up the RL1 when it's not in your pocket.

It's a noble venture, but the one thing we can't quite understand is why the RL1 is being sold at a price that puts it in direct competition with budget smart phones, such as its stable-mate the Vodafone Smart. Bargain basement blowers such as the LG A140 and Nokia 1616 offer more functionality for a fraction of the price, so it seems strange that the RL1 should cost you more.

Conclusion

No camera, no Internet, no touchscreen -- the Emporia RL1's specifications read like something from the depths of mobile history. Don't expect a pay as you go handset to challenge the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Mini and Orange San Francisco -– the RL1 has been designed to please elderly consumers rather than young gadget fiends. We can't help feeling the relatively high price tag is slightly exploitative, making too much of the phone's simplicity.

Still, if you favour usability over functionality, this could be your dream handset. But if you feel you're able to master something a little more demanding, explore some of the other budget options out there, such as the Motorola Gleam or Sony Ericsson Cedar.

Edited by Nick Hide