We've finally got our hands on the Benefon Twig. It might not turn heads, but this phone packs in GPS navigation and some very cool location services...
Earlier this year we heard about a phone called the Benefon Twig. We weren't sure what the Twig was, or exactly what it did, but we did know it was something to do with GPS. Fortunately, Benefon has been kind enough to give us one of the first available Twigs in the UK, and while it may look like a really old phone, it packs a seriously modern feature -- satellite navigation.
The phone has a built-in GPS receiver and preloaded navigation software. You'd be right in thinking that this isn't a completely new concept -- we've seen it before in devices like the HP iPaq hw6915 and the Mio A701 -- but what sets the Twig apart, and makes it rather interesting, is its size and the range of goodies Benefon has managed to cram into it.
Unlike previous devices, it's about the same size as a normal mobile phone, so you don't need a bag to carry it around. It also offers a series of location-based services that keep you in touch with other Twig owners. You can send your location to a friend with a Twig handset and it will navigate them back to you -- particularly useful if you don't know where you are.
The Twig alert service lets you send your location to someone in an emergency at the touch of a button. Finally, you can log on to Twig's finder service online and search for friends who also own a Twig. If you're thinking about privacy, the service will only work if the other person consents -- in other words, you can control who has the opportunity to stalk you.
Benefon has told us that it will be available before Christmas and it will cost £330 SIM-free -- not bad at all considering a basic standalone sat-nav costs around £200. Expect a full review soon. -AL
The Twig isn't particularly thin, measuring 24mm deep -- but keep in mind it has a GPS receiver crammed inside.
There's no camera, which is a shame...
There's preloaded navigation software and it will work straight out of the box.
You can send your position to another Twig user who can then locate you using the Twig software, or simply send your GPS coordinates to a non-GPS phone via text message.