Take the Samsung E1170, cram it into a smaller, folding design and what do you get? The E1150, also known as the Cobble. This cut-price phone offers bare-bones functionality and lacks what many mobile users would deem to be essential features. But, for its price, it offers incredible benefits, such as stunning battery life and above-average call quality.
The E1150 is available for around £15 on a pay as you go deal, with SIM-free prices starting at around the £30 mark.
A load of old cobblers?
Samsung's forays into the budget-phone arena have so far been pretty successful, with the recently released E1170 standing out as a particularly likeable handset for those shopping on a shoestring. The E1150 is essentially a clamshell variant of the E1170, offering the same degree of functionality but in a different physical package.
The candybar design and all-black finish of the E1170 have been replaced by a more compact appearance and a fetching two-tone colour scheme. The front of the phone is fairly featureless, save for the familiar Samsung logo. There's no secondary screen to speak of or any other external notification lights. This means you'll have to open up the phone to see who's calling or texting you.
The rounded shape of the phone ensures that the E1150 rests easily in the palm, making the phone incredibly comfortable to use. Despite its small size and light weight, the E1150 still feels robust. The casing betrays no sign of creakiness or poor workmanship -- something that can't be said of rival devices in the same class, such as the Nokia 1616.
Any port in a storm
In terms of other physical features, the E1150 keeps things about as simple as they possibly could be. There's a universal port for both charging the phone and plugging in headphones, and there's a hook-up point for a lanyard. Aside from that, you'll find no other features on the exterior of the E1150.
Flipping open the E1150 reveals a tiny, 128x128-pixel screen, measuring just 36mm (1.4 inches). Like the display on the E1170, it suffers from image ghosting when moving around the menu system, but, overall, the brightness and colour balance are agreeable.
Below the screen, you'll find the traditional alphanumeric keypad, accompanied by a fairly standard-issue navigation pad. Both of these interface elements are perfectly acceptable, enabling accurate and precise input. The direction pad also offers shortcuts to various aspects of the E1150's functionality, depending on which direction is pressed when you're on the home screen.
The E1150 lacks 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, meaning your only connectivity option is GSM. There's no Web browser, and MMS messaging is off the menu entirely. It goes without saying that this isn't a handset for high-flying business types who need constant access to email and the Net.
The E1150 does come with a few neat tricks, however. The 'fake call' mode let's you schedule a bogus telephone call to get yourself out of tricky social situations. The E1150 also boasts a 'mobile tracker' facility that automatically sends a message to pre-determined contacts when somebody attempts to insert a new SIM card into the handset.
Curiously, it seems that the E1150 is capable of playing music files -- it comes pre-loaded with a solitary MP3 ringtone -- although there's no media player software and the 1MB of internal memory isn't suited for playing host to your collection of Lady Gaga classics.
While the E1150 isn't set up to deliver audio pleasure, it does offer a slice of gaming entertainment. Sudoku and Super Jewel Quest are included as standard, and both games are moderately enjoyable. It goes without saying, though, that they're rather tame when compared to the games currently doing the rounds on the iPhone and Android platforms.
Like so many of the budget handsets we've seen, the E1150 scores massive points when it comes to stamina. Thanks to the absence of 3G and the inclusion of a tiny screen with modest power requirements, this phone is capable of lasting for days before requiring a power top-up.
In fact, we very nearly got an entire week of use out of it before it needed plugging into the mains. This staying power could be very handy if you find you're often away from home and need a device that isn't going to guzzle all of its battery's power in the space of 24 hours.
If you're looking for a phone that offers decent call quality, solid construction and outstanding battery life, then the Samsung E1150 -- or its sibling, the E1170 -- could very well be what you're looking for.
Edited by Charles Kloet