What Cellphone









Buying a mobile phone is only the beginning, here’s another selection of essential accessories, gadgets, gimmicks and add-ons





Most cellphone cases tend to be rather dull black leather bags, but every so often something a bit more interesting comes along, like these two from the German company Mezzo. First up is the Mezzo Mino from the outside it looks fairly ordinary but inside there’s what the manufacturers call a miniature mobile office, and they’re not far off. On the top flap there’s a tiny pad of Post-It notes. It has four credit-card sized compartments on the front. It comes with a ball-pen, that slots into a pocket on the side, and on the bottom, inside another small pocket,  is a mini Swiss Army style pocket knife. This has six attachments, including a pair of scissors, nail file, screwdriver, 4 centimetre blade and a couple of strange looking widgets, which we haven’t figured out yet. A pair of small tweezers and a tooth-pick slide into little slots on the side. There’s another pen-sized pocket on the other side of the case, two more compartments on the back, and another under the note pad.


That’s eleven pockets in all, including one in the middle for the phone, if there’s any room left... The case is made from supple hand-stitched nappa leather, two sizes are available, for GSM phones, both have belt-loops on the back. The asking price is £40, which all things considered isn’t too bad.


The other case is the Mezzo VIP. It’s a similar style to the Mino, and made from the same materials but it’s larger, so it can accommodate a wider range of phones. It has the same number of pockets and compartments, but no belt clip, and no accessories. This one sells for £23.



Typical prices            Mino Mezzo £40, Mezzo VIP £23

Features                       11 pockets and compartments. Mino Mezzo comes with pen, Post It notes and multi-function pen-knife

Dimensions                   Mini Mezzo 135 x 50 x 25mm,

                                   Mezzo VIP 170 x 70 x 30mm

Telephone                     Mainline Promotions (01483) 271171

What Cellphone Verdict  80%




Inspired by a request from a professional photographer, Vital Equipment have designed a range of phone cases made from the same tough nylon webbing they use on their camera and accessory equipment bags. This material is virtually indestructible and offers a high degree of protection to it’s delicate cargo. The top flap has a quick-release buckle, there’s a belt loop on the back and it has a pair of Velcro fixing strips, so it can be attached to the shoulder strap of a carry-all bag. One size fits all, though smaller phones may rattle around a bit inside, and it could do with a cut-out on the top flap for the aerials. Vital Equipment can also produce special cases to order, with extra straps or attachments, prices start at £19.50 plus £1.50 post and packing. Well, it’s different...



Typical price                  £16.00 plus £1.50 for basic model

Features                       Nylon webbing construction, quick-release buckle, belt-loop, Velcro fastening

Dimensions                   160 x 70 x 30 mm approx.

Telephone                     Vital Equipment (01492) 512740

What Cellphone Verdict  75%



If you habitually switch off your mobile phone to save the battery when you reach the office, or arrive home, here’s a gadget that will keep you on the air, so you needn’t miss any calls. It’s a desk-top charger from Ora, and it could mean never having to switch your mobile phone off ever again! Just pop the phone into the cradle and it starts charging, the phone can be safely left on in the standby mode, ready to make or take calls. A full charge takes around an hour, an indicator lamp flashes to show when charging has been completed. So far Ora have chargers for the Nokia 2110, Nokia’s Orange phone and the Erricssons EH237 and GH337, others will doubtless follow. You’re paying for air time, you might as well get the most out of it!   



Typical price                  £50

Features                       Fast charge in around 1 hour, over-charge protection, charge on standby, AC adaptor supplied

Dimensions                   base unit 105 x 88 x 70mm

Telephone                     Ora (01296) 415445

What Cellphone Verdict  85%



There has been a lot of interest in the findings of our battery test feature in the October issue, it’s an important subject, and a source of concern for many cellphone users so it’s something we’ll be coming back to from time to time. Like right now in fact; these two batteries from Allgon turned up just a little two late to make it into last month’s round-up, so we’ll have a look at them now. They’re both nickel metal-hydride (Ni-Mh) types, designed to fit Motorola ‘Flip’ type phones. The cells used in these batteries have a higher power density than nickel cadmium types, so the packs are smaller and lighter for a given capacity, in this case 600mAh and 1100mAh (model numbers 10.005 & 10.009). The smaller pack has the same capacity as the standard battery, yet it’s a millimetre or two thinner; the other one is around twice the thickness and a good deal slimmer than most high-capacity batteries.


We put both packs through our standard test routine. This consists of a series of charge/discharge cycles that duplicate medium and heavy usage. The results were as follows: Run 1, which simulates high useage gave times of 2 hours 18 minutes for the 10.005 (600mAh) pack and  4 hours 38 minutes for the 10.009 (1100mAh) battery. Run 2, the low demand cycle, gave times of 3 hours 20 minutes and 7 house 55 minutes respectively.  The two sets of results were very good and would have earned both packs 4-star ratings, so they’re definitely worth considering.



Battery type                  nickel metal-hydride

Capacity                       10.005 (600mAh), 10.009 (1100mAh)

Telephone                     Allgon (01530) 510013

What Cellphone Verdict  90%



It’s hardly surprising that most of the cellphone accessory products we see are connected in one way or another with batteries. They’re the only part that wears out, and just for good measure they always seem to expire at the worst possible moment. Properly cared for a typical nicad or nickel metal hydride battery can last for over 1000 charge/discharge cycles. That’s over three years of daily use, in practice most cellphone users will be lucky to get more than 500 cycles out of their batteries, before their capacity is reduced to the point where they’re giving out halfway through the day. Much of the time this is due to a condition known as cell imbalance, or ‘memory’ where one or more cells in the pack has got out of step with the others, reaching full charge before its companions and halting the charge process, so the battery as a whole never reaches full capacity.


The Hahnel Delta Pro 9000 Pulse Charge Centre sets out to eliminate the memory effect using a technique known as negative pulse charging, where normal charging is interspersed with short discharge pulses. Not only will that ensure batteries operate at peak performance by eliminating any memory effect, it may also revive batteries that will no longer work on a conventional charger. It can’t perform miracles, though, but it will show if a battery has passed the point of no return.


The charger was originally designed for camcorder batteries but Hahnel have developed a range of adaptors to suit many popular phones, these cost an extra £9.99 each. It also comes with a clip-on holder for AA-type rechargeable cells, and a car power lead, so it can be used on the move. It’s very simple to use, just slot the battery (or phone) onto the charger and select the charge program. The unit has a set of LED indicators that indicate the progress of the charging or discharging process, batteries or phones can be left safely connected, it will automatically turn itself off ten hours after the cycle has been completed. We tried it on a couple of batteries that had been given up as terminal cases. The first cycles didn’t seem to do much, but by the third visit to the charger one had returned to around 80% of original capacity, the other one was still well down, but had regained enough useful life to return to duty, albeit only as an emergency backup. It is expensive, and simple dischargers that do a similar job cost less than half as much, but this one does go that important bit further. It should interest heavy-duty cellphone users, and if it can bring a couple of battery packs back from the dead, or help prolong the lives and maintain the efficiency of others, it could easily pay for itself for itself in a couple of years.



Typical Price                 £109.99 (plus £9.99 for cellphone adaptor)

Features                       Pulse charge/ discharger, AA cell holder, mains power supply,  car-cord adaptor, 4.8 and 6-volt operation

Dimensions                   160 x 100 x 40 mm

Telephone                     Aico  (01635) 49797

What Cellphone Verdict  78%



Oh no, not another cellphone case! Well, yes, but come on, these are different. For a start they’re manufactured here in Blighty, and they’re very reasonably priced. They come from PJ Leathercrafts, a family business in deepest Somerset, who hand make cases to fit most popular phones, including the latest GSM models. They produce two ranges: standard no-frills cases costing just £12.86, and that’s inclusive of carriage if you buy mail-order, and the more elaborate two-tone Executive range, which costs £15.57. Both ranges come in black leather as standard, or a range of 8 colours, for £16.98 (standard)  and £19.68 (executive). The colour choices are yellow, red, British racing green, dark blue, mint green, sky blue or cream. Samples we’ve seen are very well put together and finished. Where appropriate the cases have elasticated side gusset to accommodate phones with non-standard batteries. Holes and cut-outs are all in the right places, and they smell nice. What more can we say?



Typical prices             £12.86 (standard range), £15.60 (executive range), colour cases approx £4.00 extra       

To Fit                            most popular makes, analogue & digital

Contact             P J Leathercraft. Unit 18 Suprema Business Park, Edington, Somerset TA7 9LF. Telephone (01278) 723360



Ó R. Maybury 1995 1809



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