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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Google wants to solve the Android update problem once and for all with Project Treble
- Intel concerned about name of John McAfee’s privacy phone
- Low-cost Android phones to get iPhone features with new Qualcomm chips
- Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 is coming in phones midyear
- Apple's next iPhones may cut corners on memory due to price squeeze
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 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
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCSoftware & Applications Programmer/DeveloperACT
- CCConsultant - Hogan Health CheckQLD
- TPTrim Helpdesk AnalystVIC
- CCGun Java/ Full Stack Developer wanted...VIC
- FTWeb Content WriterACT
- TPETL DeveloperNSW
- FTLead ArchitectVIC
- CCIDAM ArchitectVIC
- FTSupport OfficerSA
- CCSharepoint DeveloperNSW
- FTDIRECTOR PROJECT DELIVERY, WELLINGTONNZ
- CCTechnical WriterVIC
- CCData ArchitectACT
- FTDisaster Recovery AnalystNSW
- CCGoogle Chromebook AdministratorNSW
- CCTechnical Support EngineerNSW
- FTICT SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior Analyst Programmer - Equities or DerivativesNSW
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- CCDeployment Manager - TelcoVIC
- FTUX / UI Designer MobileNSW
- FTImplementation Engineer - NetApp DATA ONTAPWA
- CCSolution ArchitectQLD
- FTSystems EngineerNSW