Virgin Media have launched the first handset from the new range of ‘Brilliantly simple’ Doro handsets. Branson and co plan to sell mobile phones which are both easy to use and cheap to run.
With the release of the Doro 409s, the manufacturers have done exactly that, sacrificing modern style, design and technological whizz-bang in favour of functionality, comfort and simplicity. Personally, I’m not sure whether those three design specifications should be the sole domain of the elderly; I can imagine an awful lot of the younger generation yearning for return to the days of monochrome snake, big squidgy buttons and an unbreakable screen!
Virgin Media director of mobile Jamie Heywood said: ‘The Doro PhoneEasy 409gsm is a perfect addition to our mobile range for customers who want a phone with excellent call quality and easy to use features. It’s a great and affordable gift for relatives, enabling Virgin Media households to take full advantage of the free calls to Virgin Mobiles from Virgin home phones.
The Doro 409s is a clamshell design, which was in fashion around the time of Oliver Cromwell, but perhaps now is seen as a bit out of date, It’s all fiddly touchscreens now. The inside of the handset is white, with black trimmings in the shape of buttons and the screen surround. The outside reverses this scheme, with white ornamentation on plain black. But let us not dwell on the design, as mentioned previously, this isn’t going to win any awards for style, and it is unapologetic of the fact.
Two small lights can be found on the front of the phone, acting as landing lights for SMS messages and low battery. They're much less subtle than you'd find on a similarly-priced phone like the Sony Ericsson Zylo, but then the Doro 409s is all about simplicity and intuitiveness. The keypad lights-up too. The spread of light isn't even across the keys, but it does the job of making all the internal keys easily visible at night-time, again another helpful addition most phones would benefit from.
Features-wise, you do find yourself scrabbling around trying to find one aside from the minimum requirements of texting and call-making, this handset struggles to rise above the label of ‘tin can with a bit of string’. There's no web browser, no email functionality and no app store. Connectivity is also very limited with no Bluetooth, no GPS and no SD card slots, Its lucky then, that the Doro’s target audience either don’t know what most of these things are, and probably wouldn’t care about them if they did.
Last but not least, this little gizmo is very affordable, as it should be when aimed at the older generation. By selling mobiles aimed primarily at people of a certain vintage, the makers of the Doro 409s can roll out the most basic pieces of kit. Such a bare bones mobile phone can be produced at an extraordinarily low cost. Teaming up with the iconic Virgin brand may just see every man and his granny getting themselves a Doro handset.