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Pink and black attack with Alcatel VM202 £30 budget phone

Virgin Media's latest Alcatel mobile is aimed at young people looking for a cheap messaging phone with a little design oomph

Virgin Media is offering a really, really affordable (that means cheap, you guys) mobile phone with some funky pink and black styling. The VM202 costs £30 on pay as you go, including 300 free texts when you buy it with £10 airtime, which is practically giving it away.

It's part of Alcatel's budget range of mobile phones, which is squarely aimed at people who are looking for no frills whatsoever. It's the price of paying a smart phone contract for just a month.

It looks like Alcatel may have modelled it on one of the Microsoft Kin devices, which was also aimed at the teenage social-networking crowd, but didn't exactly do well at a much higher price.

Exclusive to Virgin Media and described as being 'dazzle pink' colour, the slider phone is not exactly going to make an impression on your average nerd, but it may cause a stir at your local Wetherspoons. And when we say 'stir', we mean 'imminent head injury'.

We often recommend phones like this to people who're planning a heavy night out or a weekend at a festival and don't want to worry about battery drain or losing an expensive phone.

Or it could be a good device to give to your child so you can always keep in contact -- although your average moody teenager may well decide they'd rather have a phone with more functionality than this one offers.

The phone itself has a traditional keypad and full Qwerty keyboard, which is impressive given the price. This means you can hold it in the normal way, or flip it landscape to browse the Net or type long messages.

Unfortunately it doesn't offer 3G, though that would have been an awful lot to ask given the price. But it does have some social-networking features, an MP3 player, a radio and a very limited VGA camera. Bells and whistles not included.