The Fly Mobile SLT100 is a budget handset that offers a surprising number of high-end features, including a touchscreen.
In fact, as the phone is available as a pay as you go handset for just £50 on Virgin Mobile, it must be the cheapest touchscreen mobile around at the moment.
For such a cheap phone, the SLT100 is remarkably well built. The handset is available in either pink or more traditional black finish and the metallic case feels very sturdy. The phone's slider design is actually quite attractive and very reminiscent of some of the mid-priced handsets from companies like Samsung and LG.
Obviously one of the phone's main attractions is its touchscreen. The screen is sharp and bright and it's controlled via a stylus that you'll find tucked away in a slot on the right hand edge of the handset. Unfortunately, the menu system has really been designed to be controlled via the more traditional directional pad on the front, so there's no real advantage in using the stylus. Even the handwriting recognition is pretty worthless, as it only recognises one letter at a time, so it's very slow to use for writing out text messages. Most people will simply revert back to using T9 via the keypad.
The built-in audio player isn't exactly easy to use, but the sound quality is very good and the supplied headphones sound very crisp and sharp, although they could do with a tad more bass. There's also an FM tuner which has strong reception.
On the rear you'll find a 2-megapixel camera with an LED flash. The snaps it takes are just OK, but it does capture smoothish video. The other bonus is that Fly includes a video output cable in the box so you can hook the phone up to your telly and view videos and pictures or play the Java games via the big screen.
The phone's connectivity is surprisingly good. It supports both infrared and Bluetooth, complete with the A2DP for beaming music to a stereo headset or wireless speaker system. As you would expect on a handset in this price bracket there's no 3G support, but it's tri-band so you can use it across the Atlantic and it does support GPRS speeds for use with the WAP browser.
Despite the addition of the touchscreen, the SLT100 is actually not all that easy to use. Its menu system is cluttered and it has the feel of a phone that's only been slightly rejigged for the European market. Some of the features are also overly basic. For example, when adding music to the phone via a microSD card, you have to go through quite a convoluted process of telling the music player where it can find them before they're actually listed on the player. Even then they're just presented as a long list of files. You can't browse by artist or album name as you can on most handsets from the likes of Nokia and Sony Ericsson.
The other big problem is the phone's short battery life. Whereas most handsets now offer well over four hours of talk time, the Fly's anaemic battery is only good enough for around 2 hours 30 minutes. So if you're someone who's constantly on the blower it's not going to be the best choice.
The SLT100 is definitely not the easiest phone in the world to use, but this has to be weighed up against the amazing range of features on offer for such a low price. If you're willing to put up with its sometimes cantankerous behaviour, then the phone may prove to be a bargain at £50 on Virgin Mobile pay as you go.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire