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BenQ-Siemens E61 mofi: If the A-Team designed a mobile...

The BenQ-Siemens E61 mofi is indeed a retro-looking phone, but it comes with some nifty buttons that let you control your music from your pocket with ease

In 2006 a crack commando unit of mobile phone designers was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as tech designers of fortune. If you have a mobile phone you don't like, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the BenQ-Siemens Team.

The BenQ-Siemens E61 mofi (mobile hi-fi) was first spotted by Crave at CeBIT and we were thoroughly fascinated by the wedge design and interesting music buttons. Now we've got one in, we have to say it looks like it was inspired by the A-Team van, and it has a few extras that could have been made up by BA Baracus himself.

The top of the phone features dedicated music buttons that let you control the music player from the top of your pocket, and there's apparently enough juice to play 10 hours of music in flight mode. Fortunately, there's also an expandable miniSD slot that can support up to 1GB of memory, so you can put over 200 songs on the E61, which should keep any Howling Mad Murdocks out there nice and calm. We were really disappointed, however, that the E61 doesn't feature an adaptor to plug in normal headphones, and that the headphone port was at the bottom of the phone, meaning you have to take the phone out of your pocket if they unplug themselves.

Overall, we weren't overly impressed with the E61's specs and we were frustrated that some of the better features simply weren't matched by the rest of the phone. For example, there's no Bluetooth or infrared and there's only a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) camera. That said, this is a good value music phone with an innovative design and it seems that, slowly but surely, BenQ-Siemens is getting the idea of how to make a good mobile phone.

The BenQ-Siemens E61 mofi will be available this Friday on Virgin Mobile, for £100 on pay as you go and free on monthly contract in June. Expect a full review soon. -AL

Update: more images and a full review of the BenQ-Siemens E61 mofi are now live.