BenQ Siemens EF81
- Industrial design, Display, Solid features list
- Sluggish interface, Long load times, Poor hinge, Flat keypad, SIM card slot,
The EF81 is a decent 3G offering with a solid features set, but users will be frustrated by its slow user interface and sluggish load times.
Price$ 899.00 (AUD)
Prior to their purchase by BenQ, Siemens produced some good quality mobile phone handsets, so we were looking forward to seeing some new units. The EF81 is BenQ's first effort after the acquisition, and while it offers a few interesting elements that may attract certain buyers, it is plagued by a sluggish interface and long load times.
One of the most notable features about the EF81 is that it comes preloaded with a set of Star Wars themes. Everything from the ring tone (Yoda telling you to answer your phone) through to the message alert (Darth Vader breathing menacingly) follows this theme, and while we can see how it may appeal to Star Wars fans, we just found it plain embarrassing! Nobody wants to open their phone on a peak hour train to have it make the sound of a lightsabre firing up. Of course the tones can be changed, though some may appreciate the added character.
Sadly though, the phone doesn't seem to be powerful enough to cope with the included interface. It takes anywhere from 20 to 40 seconds to power up and can take as long as two seconds just to open the menu. There is a noticeable lag when navigating the menu icons and the overall process of using the phone can be quite frustrating.
Speed aside, the interface is fairly good. Everything is clearly marked with animated icons and it looks quite snazzy. All the usual functionality is there, including a media player, calendar, sound recorder, alarm clock and stop watch.
It's interesting to note the EF81 only has a single two megapixel camera. Most 3G mobiles have two; a VGA internal camera for video calls and a second, higher resolution sensor on the exterior, for taking day to day snaps. This means the camera can only be used for regular photographs with the unit folded up. The quality of the camera's pictures is quite good, comparable with other two megapixel camera phones in this category, although not up to the standard of a standalone digital camera.
With a reflective silver chassis and black back plate, the EF81 has an industrial design. It is about average in size for a 3G flip model and doesn't weigh too much. It's quite sturdy too, with the entire front being constructed from metal; however the back plate is just regular plastic and could be a point of weakness. The hinge is another area of concern - it's quite stiff and poorly constructed. Additionally the SIM card slot is located below the battery, making it extremely difficult to put in. We had to use a pen to click the card in and out of place.
The keypad sports the increasingly popular flat design, with imprinted keys on a single sheet of metal, rather than individual raised buttons. It's comfortable to type on and quite responsive, although some people dislike flat designs.
The internal 256K colour screen is impressive, and handled the opening Star Wars animations and our video calls very well. What was more surprising however was that the smaller external screen also looked quite good, probably because of its use as the viewfinder for the camera, though it's a little small for this purpose.
The EF81 has 60MB of inbuilt memory, which is about average for a 3G model, and thankfully supports microSD cards for further capacity. The phone supports most of the usual connectivity options including proprietary USB and Bluetooth (although infra-red is absent), and has full T9 dictionary functionality for text messaging. The quoted battery life is rather impressive, at 300 hours stand-by time and a whopping 4.5 hours talk time. Our tests were consistent with these figures, with the phone going four or more days without needing a charge.
All up, the EF81 is a great offering with plenty of functionality and features that should entice the avid 3G buyer. Especially if you like Star Wars.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Toys for Boys
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Bose SoundLink Micro
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 LG 65E7T Ultra HD OLED TV review: The South Korean thoroughbred is still first past the post
- 2 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 3 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 4 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- Sony Xperia XA2 to be Available in Australia
- CES 2018: Alcatel Embrace 18:9 Aspect Ratio In 2018
- CES 2018: Everything Announced By Belkin
- CES 2018: Belkin Unveils Armada Of New Wireless Charging Solutions
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- CES 2018
- CES 2018: Belkin go big on wearables accessories and wireless charging
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCNetwork EngineerNSW
- CCTechnical Consultant - FortifyACT
- CCAutomation Test Engineer - BRISBANE BASEDNSW
- FTIntegration SpecialistQLD
- FTApplication Consultant - Devops EngineerVIC
- CCSecurity ArchitectNSW
- FTData AnalystOther
- FTSenior Insights AnalystNSW
- FTApplication Support AnalystOther
- FTDatastage Systems Engineer - Financial Services - Permanent - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCSenior Development DBA - OracleNSW
- TPSystem AnalystACT
- CCDesktop EngineerQLD
- FTTransition Manager - 12 Month ContractOther
- CCData ArchitectWA
- FTManager, Data QualityOther
- FTTechnical Project OfficerOther
- CCSolution Architect - Financial ServicesVIC
- CCJunior to Mid Level Java Developer - BankingNSW
- CCServer Support Specialist ? Performance and Capacity ManagementNSW
- CCDatabase Systems Specialist - Bathurst ( NSW )NSW
- FTApplication/Systems Support AnalystOther
- TPOBIEE/Java DeveloperACT
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW