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Blast bugs, add colour to your cellphone and perk up your power pack, just some of this month’s accessory ideas

 

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GERM WARFARE

Sorry if you’re just about to eat, but just inside the microphone hole on your mobile telephone there lurks a seething mass of filth, made up of spittle and mucus swarming with highly infectious microscopic viral parasites.  Okay, so they’re mostly your bugs, and you’re probably immune to them by now, but what happens when you lend your phone to someone else? Their germs get added to the mixture, they conjoin and mutate in all kinds of disgusting ways, then you go and put your mouth next to it...

 

If that sort of thing worries you then get hold of a can of Radio Shack Telephone Sanitizer. It’s a dual-purpose spray, that zaps germs living in the mouthpiece and earphone, and it cleans plastic. It smells quite nice too, sort of lemony with a hint of Domestos. It’s a good idea to sterilise you phone at this time of year, with so many lurgies floating around. It is also an excuse to give the phone and keyboard a wipe-over, to remove the accumulated crud, skin debris, grease, need we say more? Don’t forget to give the carry-case a quick squirt as well, we can’t be to careful with that Asian super-bug on the loose. 

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £1.49

Features            telephone sanitizer spray and deodoriser

To fit                 any microbe-ridden cell-phone

Contact your local Tandy store

 

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            88%

 

FONE RANGE CLICK SYSTEM CASES, £15

It’s not often we see the words ‘Made in England’ on a cellphone carry case but if these new Fone Range cases are anything to go by, it’s clearly something we can do as well as anyone else. The case we’ve been looking at uses the ‘Click System’ detachable belt clip.

 

It’s a new design, and a good deal more compact that some of its rivals. The actual belt holder is quite discrete.  A round plastic lug on the back of the case slides down a U-shaped groove on the back of the belt clip, until it locks securely into place. When in position the case is free to rotate through 360 degrees, and it won’t come out until the release button on the top is pressed.

 

The actual case is available in a range of styles, from black leather through to mock reptile and animal skins. They’re well made, with neat stitching and accurately positioned holes and cut-aways. The insides are lined, to protect the phone, and sides are elasticated, to accommodate larger, high capacity batteries.

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £15

Features            British-made cellphone case with removable belt clip

To fit                 most makes and models

Contact Fone Range, telephone 0181-838 8888

 

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            85%

 

MICROSTUB REPLACEMENT ANTENNA £15

If you’ve got an Ericsson phone you’ve probably discovered that the stub aerial pulls out, you may even have lost the original. Digital images have come up with a range of replacement stubbies, around half the size of the standard item, and available in a range of colours (black, blue, yellow, red, green or orange).

 

The manufacturers claim they work just as well as the one Ericsson fit, even though they are so small. It uses a patented manufacturing technique called brass bracket compressed coil or ‘BBCC’ technology. No we’ve not come across that one before either. so curious to find out what it all means, we opened one up. Inside there is indeed a small coil, almost certainly made of brass, though don’t ask us what the compressed bracket bit means...

 

So does it work as well as the real thing? We spent a couple of days making and taking calls on a couple of Ericsson phones, swapping between the Ericsson and Microstub antennas, in a variety of locations. We are pleased to report that we couldn’t detect any difference, so well-done Microstub. It fits as well as the standard antenna, and the coloured models are certainly eye-catching. That just leaves the price. We reckon £15 is a bit steep for what it is, but as with all cellphone accessories, shop around.  Worth considering if you want to add a touch of colour to your Ericsson mobile, or the original has been lost or chewed. Incidentally, coloured Microstubs will shortly be available for Nokia and Philips handsets.

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £15

Features            range of black or coloured stub antennas using a brass-bracketed compressed coil  

To fit                 Ericsson ER100/500, PH337, GH337,338/688, GA318/628 & GF788 (black only). Available soon for Nokia and Philips models             

Contact Digital Images, telephone 0171-636 7127

 

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            78%

 

DESKTOP TWIN CHARGER, £22

Whilst many new phones now come with the latest highly efficient lithium-ion batteries, most of us are still using 100 year-old technology to power our mobiles. To be fair to nickel cadmium batteries, they’re cheap, and if looked after properly, they can last quite a long time. The trouble is that’s not how it works in the real world. Repeatedly fast-charging a nicad pack, whilst it still retains a residual charge, quickly reduces its capacity.

 

Fortunately the so-called ‘memory’ effect is reversible, if caught early enough. Accessory market chargers, like this one from Kondor have a built-in conditioner circuit, that safely discharges the pack, then gives it a gentle slow-charge, thus eliminating any memory. Nicads treated in this way can easily reach their full potential of 1000 or more charge/discharge cycles, compared to the 500 or so cycles most un-loved nicad packs can look forward to.

 

The Kondor charger has two slots; the one at the back is for solo packs, and it has a switchable conditioner and fast or slow charge mode. The slot at the front is for a phone and battery together. LED indicators at the front show power on, charge/discharge in progress, slow/quick charge and charging complete, it also bleeps, to let you know that the battery has reached full charge. Power comes from a plug-in mains adaptor or a car power lad, both are included in the kit.

 

Charge and discharge currents are well with the safe range for nicad batteries and our sample, designed for Nokia 2110, took just under 50 minutes to charge a standard pack from flat. We’re not so sure about the rather garish wood-grain finish (other styles are available) but it does the job. If it can revive just one well used pack then it will have paid for itself.  

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £22

Features            slots for charging phone with battery, and second battery pack, fast and slow charge rates, battery refresh mode, audible warning

To fit                 most popular makes and models      

Contact Kondor Ltd., telephone 01425 474444

 

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            80%

 

PHONEY OF THE MONTH

‘Mobile phones must be switched off for the duration of the flight’. It’s slightly ironic then, that this Motorola MicroTAC shaped hand-held game was brought from Air UK’s in-flight duty-free trolley. There are nine basic games, mostly variants on the Tetris and brick and wall themes, plus a devilishly difficult motor-racing game. It makes a lot of noise and plays irritating tunes too. A good way of shutting up the kids on a short holiday flight, and guaranteed to annoy fellow passengers...

 

Typical Price            £10

Features            large LCD screen with 9 games with dozens of variations

To suit              kids and bored travellers          

Contact Air UK in-flight sales

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            85%

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1997 1410

 


 

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