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PAGE ONE MINICALL

Not so long ago pagers were being written off as an old-hat technology. Don't you believe it, pagers are alive and well fulfilling the need for a simple and efficient messaging system that's not going to eat a hole in your pocket. Modern pagers like the Page One Minicall we're looking at here are very cheap to run. In fact once you've brought it the only extra costs is an AA battery every few weeks. Twenty-one weeks to be precise, this has to be the one of the most energy efficient models on the market, so what's the catch?

 

The catch, if you can call it that is that the caller pays to send messages, it costs them 55 pence at peak times (08.00 to 18.00 hours Monday to Friday), and 35 pence at all other times. For that they can send you a text message of up to 100 characters, 80 of which are displayed on the four-line Minicall LCD screen. Normally the caller dials up the call centre and speaks the message, they can also key in messages on a touch-tone phone or send them directly from a PC, using free software, details from the Page One web site. The one-off cost also includes a daily news bulletins and lottery numbers. Extra information services are being introduced as we speak.     

 

But what about the pager? It's small, cute and made by NEC, not much larger than a box of matches and it comes with a belt clip plus a wad of cards, that you write your exclusive number on and give to friends and colleagues. There are only three buttons, so it is very easy to use. The LCD display is backlit and it can handle up to 32 messages at a time, eight of which can be permanently stored. There's a choice of 19 call tones and tunes, plus a silent vibrating alert. Additionally it has a built in clock and calendar display and three presettable alarms. Page One claim national coverage, currently reaching around 98% of the UK population. Unless you're going to be spending a lot of time in mountainous parts of Wales and Scotland you're unlikely to be out of reach for long; when you are there's a warning indicator on the screen. We have two small gripes. The screen display isn't very contrasty, and even with the backlight on it can be hard to read in dimly lit surroundings. The call tones could do with being a bit louder; otherwise it's an excellent little widget and a great gift for anyone you want to keep in touch with.    

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £99.99

Features            4-line x 80 character display, 19 alerts & silent vibrate, 32 message memory, auto backlight, clock & 3 alarms, 21-week battery life, free lottery numbers and daily news bulletins, PC messaging,

To fit                 your belt or pocket

Contact Page One (01523) 511111, http://www.pageone.co.uk

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            86%

 

FONE WATCH

This funky-looking watch has a surprising hidden talent. Inside there's a set of red, green and yellow LEDs that flash when you receive a call on your mobile phone. Clever eh? The idea is you never need miss a call when you're in a noisy environment -- down the club, disco or pub -- or you don't want to the ringer to disturb others, in important meetings, in a cinema or at the theatre. The watch bit is fairly conventional, no special features to speak of, apart from the design and shape. It's water-resistant, which means it doesnít mind the odd splash but scuba diving is out. It's a bit of a lump, and available in a range of bright and eye-catching finishes, including orange, green, pink, white and black. The colour theme extends to the fabric strap, which has Velcro fasteners so it can fit just about any sized wrist. The watch will respond to the ring of any cellphone within a metre, and if you donít get any calls, you can make it flash manually by flipping a little switch on the side.  

 

You can easily pay thirty-five quid for a trendy fashion watch, so the price seems very fair, considering what else it can do. A real conversation piece, and handy too. If you don't want to commit a social faux pas with your noisy phone, do a spot of flashing insteadÖ

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £34.95

Features            Flashing incoming call indicator, water-resistant quartz analogue watch movement, adjustable fabric strap

To fit                 most wrists

Contact Fone Range, telephone 0181-838 8888

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            88%

 

HAMA SIGNAL LIGHTS

Here's another bunch of widgets that could save you a lot of embarrassment when your mobile phone rings. Signal Lights from Hama come in a variety of shapes and styles, including keychains and pens. The idea is that you switch off your phone's ringer -- when you're in a meeting, or anywhere else where the noise would be intrusive -- and if you get a call, the Signal Light flashes. Like the Fone Watch they work within a metre of the ringing phone. The little light bulb and star-shaped keychains are very reasonably priced at just £4.99, the flashing pen will cost you £19.99 and yes, it does write as well, using standard ink refills. Both types of Signal Light are completely self-powered and there's no on-off switch to worry about or forget. A good stocking filler for all mobile phone owners, and a gentle hint to those phone users who don't know when to switch off!

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £4.99 to £19.99

Features            flashing incoming call indicator

To fit                 most pockets and keychains

Contact Hama PVAC, telephone 0181-421 0161

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            85%

 

PAGER DANGLERS

If you know someone who has a pager or really tiny cellphone here's a few inexpensive gift ideas from Kondor. They have put together a range of pager accessories to make sure your instrument is always to hand, here are just a few of them. Our favourite has to be the bungee belt cord. It's an elasticated curly rope that attaches to the pager or phone's wrist strap anchor allowing it to dangle where you can get at it easily. They are available in a range of wacky colours and cost from around £5.99 from your local stockist. Clips using chains and single stranded bungee cords are also available. For larger pagers and small mobiles there's Carabiner style straps and loops, they're based on those spring clips mountaineers hang on, so they're super tough, though they have a warning embossed into the metalwork saying not suitable for climbing... Finally, for Motorola pager owners, there's a selection of semi transparent clips, practical and good-looking, all of them.

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £5.00 to £8.00

Features            eye catching pager accessories

To fit                 most pagers and small phones

Contact Kondor Ltd., telephone (01425) 474444

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            85%

 

PHONEY OF THE MONTH

REPLAY ORGANISER

Definitely a notch up on the usual cellphone phoneys we feature. This one is a well-specified junior personal organiser that just happens to look like a mobile phone. It can store all of your important phone numbers; there are simple diary functions, an alarm, calculator, two simple games and a voice memo recorder. It's just the job for budding young executives; in fact one or two grown-ups who have seen it said they wouldn't mind one either. Great fun and you can have all sorts of jolly japes with the voice recorder facility.

 

THE FACTS

Typical Price            £24.99

Features            Phone-shaped personal organiser, phone directory, diary, alarm, calculator, 2 games, voice alarm, auto power off

To fit                 top pockets

Contact Your local ToyStack

WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT            83%

 

 

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R. Maybury 1998 1510

 


 

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