Following on from the budget Rio 2 and San Francisco, Orange has launched another low-price smart phone -- the Stockholm. This Android-powered pay as you go challenger is compact and pocket-friendly, but its small screen and unnecessary Orange bloatware are real drawbacks. The Stockholm is available on pay as you go for £90.
At 56 by 104 by 13mm, the Stockholm is certainly pocket-sized. It's almost an inch shorter than the Samsung Galaxy S2, and fits snugly in your palm like a shiny pebble. For those of you that can't stomach the recent craze for big-screen, pocket-bursting smart phones, the Stockholm's diminutive dimensions are likely to be very appealing indeed.
We're not so keen on the glossy finish, though. It feels rather cheap, and the apparently metallic accent that runs around the edge of the phone is actually made of plastic.
The Stockholm's tiny size means that its screen is similarly dinky. The phone has a 2.8-inch, 240x320-pixel, capacitive touchscreen similar to that on the Vodafone Smart, but this particular version supports multi-touch gestures.
Unsurprisingly, the size of the screen causes problems when you're reading small text. It's also something of a nightmare to type on, as the on-screen keyboard features minuscule buttons. Big-fingered individuals stay away.
Orange likes to slather its own applications and branding over each phone it sells, and the Stockholm is no exception. The tweaked Android 2.2 Froyo interface features custom Orange menu icons, as well as a bucketful of widgets and apps.
Many of the apps are little more than bloatware, and will soak up valuable processing power even if they're not in use. Others are slightly more acceptable -- the Orange Gestures app being a perfect example. It allows you to bond certain shapes to applications, allowing you to quickly open them with a quick scribble on the touchscreen.
Bizarrely, Orange has included its own maps application, despite the fact that the peerless Google Maps comes pre-loaded. Such demented duplication of applications wouldn't bother us so much if we had the option to eradicate the offending article, but all of the pre-installed Orange items can't be removed from the Stockholm's app drawer.
At the core of the Stockholm, you'll find a 528MHz processor, served by 256MB of RAM. This specification isn't likely to set pulses racing in the era of dual-core smart phones, but it's typical of the Stockholm's class.
The Stockholm isn't what you'd describe as nippy, but the casual user that Orange is targeting will hardly notice. Games such as Angry Birds run on it, but the low resolution and stuttering performance are disappointing.
Around the back of the phone, you'll discover a 3.2-megapixel fixed-focus camera, but no LED flash. It goes without saying that the Stockholm's photographic performance is workmanlike, and, although video recording is possible, movies are VGA standard and predictably choppy.
The Stockholm comes with a 2GB microSD card, but you can upgrade this for something more spacious if you wish. The phone supports cards of up to 32GB in size, which is more than enough space for all your songs, photos and videos.
Like the vast majority of Android smart phones, the Stockholm boasts 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Orange's Signal Boost application allows you to use your home wireless network to give the Stockholm improved reception. It's a neat touch and one that we'd like to see incorporated into other devices.
With a 1,200mAh battery, Orange claims the Stockholm offers over 300 hours of standby time. Through the course of our tests we had to charge it up around once every 24 hours, which is fairly common practice with smart phones these days.
The Orange Stockholm is pretty standard fare as budget Android smart phones go. Its specs are nothing to get excited about and some of the Orange apps are lamentable, but you probably won't be overly concerned with such criticisms if you're seeking an Android handset for less than £100.
Although the Stockholm offers a solid route into Android, we'd still advise you to consider the likes of the Vodafone Smart and Samsung Galaxy Mini before handing over your cash. If you're not fussed about Android, then you may also wish to consider the Stockholm's Qwerty-packing sibling, the Orange Rio 2.
Edited by Charles Kloet