Motorola's new Motofone F3 is the phone many people are looking for -- a handset without all the fancy-pants extras built in. It makes calls, does text messages and that's it.
There's no camera, no Internet access and none of that multimedia nonsense. It's also very slim and has the longest battery life we've seen in ages.
Our review model came from Phones4U on a pay as you go tariff with a T-Mobile SIM, for £15. You have to buy it with £10 of credit, so overall it will cost you just £25 to get your hands on one. With a price like that, what could possibly go wrong?
At only 9mm thick this phone slips into a pair of tight jeans or the inside of a packed bag without any trouble. The Motofone F3 also feels pretty sturdy and its matte surfaces mean no noticeable fingerprint stains.
The F3 has an electrophoretic screen, quite unlike the normal colour LCD on most modern mobiles -- it's more like a calculator. Unlike phone screens, there's no backlight, so it uses much less power. We charged it once and it lasted for over two weeks on standby without any problems.
Another advantage of the electrophoretic technology is the black characters on the white background are easy to read, even in bright sunlight. So if you find yourself constantly covering your mobile's screen outside to see what's going on, the F3 is worth checking out.
We really like the network strength and battery gauge sections on the top right and left of the screen -- they look great and are large and easy to see. The large letter and number characters pop up like calculator digits and are clear as day.
Similar to the majority of other Motorola phones, the F3 features a flat keypad divided up by curved rubber lines. The navigation button and the number keys are large and easy to press and the curved rubber lines on the keypad make it easy to distinguish between keys.
Having made what could potentially have been one of the best budget phones ever, it was a huge disappointment to see Motorola has allowed some fatal flaws into the F3's interface.
It took us quite a long time to work out how to use the most basic functions initially, even with the manual by our side.
According to the F3's online product page it "offers a redesigned user interface with innovative voice prompts in local languages to guide the user quickly and easily through menu navigation, messaging, and other functions. In addition, graphical icons visually demonstrate the menu features."