So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Telstra Corporation F256
- Internet access with your PC or notebook, TransFlash card slot, Bluetooth, offers access to a range of Telstra BigPond services
- Below average display, stubborn and small keypad and controls, flip design, no standard 3.5mm headphone jack
Although it has some design issues, the F256 should appeal to those who are on a budget, but still want access to the BigPond range of services through the high-speed Next G network.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Telstra's latest budget Next G handset allows you to access the Internet on your PC using the handset as a modem. The F256 also offers a 1.3-megapixel camera, a TransFlash card slot and Bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, a lacklustre design, a below average display and poorly designed keypad are issues.
Manufactured by ZTE, the HSDPA-capable F256 is a prepaid handset, but its appeal lies in the fact that it offers full use of Foxtel by Mobile and BigPond services, including Sensis Search, BigPond Photos and WhereIs maps. We were impressed by broadband speeds, especially when streaming mobile TV; the F256 was swift and didn't suffer from any noticeable lag when using any of the Telstra services.
Using the F256 as a modem to access the Internet on a notebook was also a pleasing experience, with pages loading fairly quickly. Setup is effortless as you simply install the software and plug in the F256 via the included USB cable. As it's a prepaid handset, its only real use is for basic Internet browsing and checking e-mail though; streaming videos and downloading large files is out of the question, as the highest plan allows just 200MB of data usage. At $59 for the highest plan, the service is certainly not cheap, despite its convenience.
Despite the F256 offering access to a multitude of multimedia services, its performance leaves a lot to be desired. The 262k colour display has a very poor viewing angle and isn't as crisp or clear as we expected. It's fine for watching video while sitting at a desk, but the limited flip means holding it in your hand doesn't give you the best angle of the display. The keypad and controls are also a sour point; they are small, flat and require a firm press to activate, so messaging speeds are considerably slower than most other devices. The F256 supports standard SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging, all with T9 predictive text input.
The general user experience of the handset is positive. The animated main menu icons and a simple list format for submenus makes the F256 pretty easy to use.
The 1.3-megapixel camera with 2x digital zoom is average. Photos taken aren't ideal for anything more than a few happy snaps, though the rotating camera lens is a nice touch and allows the camera to double for use during video calls. An integrated MP3 player, and MP3 and polyphonic ringtones are other multimedia features, but the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack means you'll have to use the poor quality headphones that are included.
The F256 has up to 64MB of allocated user memory but a TransFlash card slot allows up to 2GB of extra storage. It also boasts Bluetooth 1.2 with the A2DP Bluetooth profile, meaning you can wirelessly stream your music to a compatible set of Bluetooth headphones and avoid using the included ear buds. For wired connectivity, USB 2.0 provides adequate support, though it's proprietary rather than the standard mini-USB connection.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 2 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Peak performance from a home entertainment heavyweight
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Oppo deal out Australian pricing and availability for R15 and R15 Pro
- Oppo debut flagship Find X smartphone with almost no-bezels
- Google bring SMS to PCs with Android Messages for Desktop
- Vivo debut first 'zero-bezel' smartphone
- ZTE has to pay up before supply ban is scrapped
PCW Evaluation Team
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
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.
- Computex 2018: Everything you missed at Asia's biggest tech tradeshow
- Computex 2018: Nvidia launches new AI-focused hardware and software platforms
- Huawei P20 Pro review: See it and believe the hype
- 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