- Compact and comfortable design, decent build quality, simple user interface
- Only one sound profile, average in-call quality
A basic handset without most of the bells and whistles, Vodafone's 226 is a competent, but not outstanding prepaid phone.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
Manufactured by Sagem, but packaged and sold as a Vodafone branded handset, the 226 is one of the cheapest mobile phones on the market. As such, it overlooks plenty of features including Bluetooth, a camera, MP3 capabilities and a storage card slot. At this price point though, it's difficult to complain.
The 226 is an entry-level handset sold as a prepaid phone and aimed at first-time users, or those after a second mobile phone. Its best feature is its compact, but well built design. The 226 will easily slip into any pocket or bag, and its lightweight means you'll barely notice carrying it. It features stylish chrome edging and a leather style rear plastic cover – the latter's surface means it won't slide around a desk too easily.
Importantly, although it's small and very lightweight, the 226 feels reasonably well constructed. The plastic build feels sturdy and definitely seems capable of taking a few knocks and bumps. Using the 226 couldn't be easier, as Sagem has got the controls almost spot on. A five-way navigational pad bears the grunt of the work along with two selection buttons and answer and end call keys. The keypad is flat, but the large, well spaced keys ensure you'll have no troubles punching out long-winded SMS messages. After a few minutes typing, we were achieving excellent speeds.
The display is what we expected from a sub $100 device. It's low specified, but does the job considering the target market of this handset. The poor viewing angle and a lack of brightness are perhaps issues, but we didn't have too many complaints.
As far as usability goes, the 226 is excellent. The simple menu and interface is well laid out and the row of menu icons makes it easy to access. Submenus are laid out in a simple list format and browsing the phone is easy enough thanks to the navigational pad.
As this is an entry-level model designed simply for calls and messages, features are naturally sparse. You get little more than the basics here; a simple phone book and PIM features such as calculator, calendar conversion and alarms are all included. The 226 features SMS messaging with T9 predictive text input, but no MMS or e-mail. Call quality is average but passable nonetheless. We felt in-call volume could have been much louder and the same applied to the volume of the included ring tones and the handsfree speakerphone. The lack of any sound profiles is a downside though.
The 226 comes packaged with a Vodafone Prepay Pack which includes a red SIM starter pack and $29 worth of Prepay Jumbo credit.
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