The Berlin is one of a new batch of branded phones from Orange. It's aimed at pay as you go users and costs just £50 when bought with a £10 top up. Unlike many budget phones, this one doesn't skimp on features: it packs in a 2-megapixel camera, 3G functionality, a music player and Bluetooth support.
The Berlin's slider design has obviously been heavily influence by Samsung's D500. But whereas as Samsung opted for a glossy paint job, Orange has instead plumped for slightly rubberised finish. Admittedly, this means the Berlin's finish doesn't look as flash, but it wins on practicality with its easier grip.
Don't let the bargain basement price fool you into thinking that this model forgets about the options. There's actually plenty on offer here. For starters, it has support for 3G downloads. Connectivity is further boosted by Bluetooth -- complete with A2DP for transmitting music wirelessly to a speaker dock -- and it's supplied with a USB cable and software that lets you import contacts from Outlook. Contact syncing may be a common feature on mid-range handsets, but you'd be hard-pressed to find it on other £50 mobiles.
The phone's camera has a 2-megapixel resolution and is paired with an LED flash for taking pictures in low light. The picture quality is up there with the best you'll find on other phones in this price range, but the video is overly jerky and ropey in quality.
When it comes to music, this Berliner knows how to whistle a tune or two. There's an onboard music application that supports MP3, AAC and AAC+ files. Sure, the music app is basic, but the sound quality is good, although you'll have to replace the woeful headphones that Orange supplies. Luckily, the headphone lead is split in the middle so you can easily use another set without losing the hands-free functionality. When the headphones are attached, you can also make use of the onboard FM tuner.
It's very easy to get to grips with the Berlin's user interface. As well as having a main menu laid out as a traditional grid of icons, it also features an active standby screen similar to that found on some of the latest budget Nokias. This gives you quick access to the contacts book, music player and Web browser.
We have to say that the Berlin's call quality was excellent throughout our testing period and the phone had no problems hanging on to a signal, even in areas with slightly dodgy reception.
Perhaps the most serious issue with this phone is its battery life. The latest pay as you go handsets from Nokia and Sony Ericsson typically offer up around 6 hours of talk time, but the Berlin will give up the ghost after around three hours, so it's definitely not one for those who make really heavy use of their mobile during the day.
As with a lot of slider phones, the keypad on this one is on the small side. It means that texting can be a chore for all but those with the daintiest fingers.
Another issue is that music transfers over USB are so slow you'll have grown stubble by the time an album has made its way across to the phone's memory. We'd definitely recommend you buy a microSD card for the phone and invest in a card reader for your computer if you're planning on using the handset for music listening.
The Berlin also lacks a front facing camera for two-way video calling, but we're willing to let that slide on a phone that's so cheap.
The Berlin is an impressive budget handset. It packs lots of very desirable features into a neat and stylish design and doesn't cost the Earth. If you're looking for an easy to use and feature-rich handset on pay as you go, then it's definitely worth checking out.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Shannon Doubleday