The Facebook phone is here ! Yes, it is the new Vodafone Facebook phone that is making waves with facebook crazy teens and adults alike. If you have seen those commercials before, this phone is all about Facebook. So, does the Facebook phone live up to it’s name ? Read on for the in depth review !
Unboxing and Hardware overview :
I have unboxed it and provided a overview of outer hardware and design for your viewing pleasure.
Some thoughts about design and the hardware :
The phone design is very nice to look at. The white and silver mix of color choice gives you a premium feel. The softkeys and the keypad are not so high quality when felt, but they look good enough. The keyboard has good tactile feedback but was hard to type on with my huge fingers. Probably will easily suit normal fingers. The Vodafone logo above the keypad is a nice tough, i am glad they didn’t have it at the top. Regarding the design, since this is a facebook phone, there are a lot of blue accents in the phone. The facebook button alone stands out in blue, and the volume rocker too, is blue. However i am baffled why the call answer and end buttons have no color and do not light up at all. It’s very hard to distinguish the softkeys and the call keys in dark. Coming to the back side, i like the silver Vodafone logo below the huge speaker grille and the camera with flash. The plastic mold on the back is a nice touch and actually ergonomically comfortable too. Overall, the design is good enough for a 4.5k phone, but they could have made an effort to use good plastic on the keys, especially the softkeys.
Now that design is done, let’s see about the hardware. The phone has a 2.4 inch TFT display which is decent, not bad. The viewing angles are very bad though, for example while taking a photo, it is near impossible to see what you are pointing at, in a angle that is not straight to our eyes. Very bad. Otherwise, the display performs well, even in bright sunlight, thanks to the good brightness levels of the display. Above the display, is the ear piece for listening to calls, works well, no issues so far. The microphone hopefully works well too, i didn’t hear any complaints from the other side of the call. On the front, we have the optical pad for the primary navigation.
The optical trackpad is a hit or miss according to the applications in which it is used. For example, going through the lists in contacts and the facebook feed is useful but going through any webpage in Opera Mini web browser or going through any lists other than the fb feed and contacts in painfully slow. One swipe takes you to the next item, imagine this while navigating huge lists. Thankfully you don’t have to go through that hell while searching for a contact to call. I think we can blame it on the software, more examples coming up0 in the software part of the review.
The four row qwerty keyboard is decent. As is said earlier, i felt it was small for my hands, but i think that’s just me. The tactile feedback is good enough, but could have been better. The keyboard has shortcuts for camera and keypad lock, and of course, facebook. The facebook shortcut takes you to the news feed. I found the camera shortcut to be very useful for just taking out the phone and click. Overall, i was satisfied with the keyboard, no qualms.
On the left, you have the blue colored volume rocker that is used for various use cases. Normally on the homescreen it is used to increase/reduce the ringtone volume, inside the the menu it can be used for navigation, move around. I would have preferred it to be on the right side though. On th back you have the camera which is a 2 megapixel unit with a LED flash. The LED flash is piss poor but the camera performs very OK in bright light. Take a look at some photo samples and decide for yourself : Click photos to see the full resolution ( 1600×1200 )
Here’s the crappiest video sample you would have ever seen : Video – 176×144 very low framerate
Facebook is a teen thing, and if they are looking at selling this phone to teens, they should have used a camera unit much better than this, but coming at this 4k price point we can’t ask much eh ?
Again, on the back side, there is the huge loudspeaker grille. Underneath that, the loudspeaker, which is actually loud. However it get muffled when you keep it on the ground face up. Th phone has an in built radio, but requires a headset to turn it on. Connectivity options include bluetooth, micro USB for data/COM port and using camera as Webcam. Yes, this phone has built in functionality to use the camera as webcam. I don’t know any smartphone that does this out of the box without an app. Nice, no ?!
Here’s the proof :
Neat feature for a phone at this price range. The phone has a micro SD card slot for storing your music, photos and videos on a micro SD card upto 16 GB supported. There is a 40 MB internal memory too, which i could not access using the micro USB mass storage mode, so whatever you do, first buy a memory card and start loading your songs as 40 MB is not enough at all.
The phone is a 2.5G phone, meaning EDGE is supported. My Vodafone SIM worked perfectly requiring no additional settings for internet access. Being a internet heavy phone, there is no option for WiFi access or 3G. You need to rely on Vodafone’s EDGE network for every online task. Works well to be honest, but need for speed is not fulfilled.
Interesting fact :
The phone is actually manufactured by Alcatel with a 200 MHz MTK 6235 processor and a 1000 maH battery.
The major USP of this phone is the software, and that software that you are looking for is of course facebook !
I have put up a walkthrough of what you will get in terms of performance as well as the facebook features in this video :
That very much sums up the software experience of this phone. Which is pretty good for it’s price. Facebook is definitely a good enough experience on this phone, and there is nothing in the market at this price point which offers this facebook experience.
The Vodafone 555 Blue facebook phone gets free 1 year of facebook data from Vodafone, that means you just need to load the vodafone SIM and then start off right away with your facebook-ing on the go.
In short, if you are so crazy about facebook and live every moment of your life looking at your news feed, AND if you are not ready to burn a hole in your pocket, then the Vodafone 555 Blue facebook phone is for you !