What Cellphone






A hands-free kit to wear on your ear, grippers and chargers for the car plus a phone thatís at home in a bucket of soapy water...





When God designed human beings he (or she) apparently didnít envisage mobile phones, otherwise we would have a third hand, so we can do important two-handed things, like driving, reading a newspaper or scratching two places at once, whilst holding a telephone conversation. Evolutionists may argue that itís probably only a matter of time before one grows, however, whilst weíre waiting hereís a solution from ORA, in the shape of a rather neat personal hands free kit.


This is a Mark II version, the new feature is an earphone with a boom microphone attached. The mike and earphone cable plug into the phoneís accessory socket or an adaptor, which is supplied, (depending on the model of phone). In the case of our tests sample, designed for the Nokia 2110 family and clones, this adds a couple of centimetres to the length of the phone. The module, which pushes into the multi-pin connector on the base of the phone, has two sockets, one for the earphone/mike, and a car charger cord (not supplied). The only other feature is a small on/off switch.


The earphone has a bendy rubber hook that fits behind the ear. Itís hinged, so it can be used on the right or left ear. Itís quite a tight fit; a couple of our larger-eared testers complained that it became a little uncomfortable after half an hour or so. The microphone is on the end of a flexible boom, thereís a foam rubber wind-muff/spit collector on the end. A sliding clip, attached to the cable, clamps to the wearerís collar or lapel, to stop the wire flapping around.


Thereís no preliminaries with the Nokia 2110, though the phone display announces that it is not charging, presumably because it regards the adaptor as a battery charger. Audio is transferred automatically to the headset. The earphone could have done with being just a tad louder on our sample; received audio quality is very good however. A solid, sensible design, performance is fine but try it for size first, especially if you have been blessed with larger than average lugs.   



Typical Price            £40

Features            self-contained hands-free kit with integrated earphone and boom microphone

To fit                 most popular makes and models

Contact ORA Electronics. telephone (01296) 415445




Micro Vibe from Digital Images has to be the smallest vibrating call alert for Ericsson phones to date. It is remarkably small, just over 5mm thick and it clips to the base of 200 and 300 series handsets. Itís a fair price too, less than half as much as some models. In fact our only bone of contention is the use of the word Ďsilentí on the packaging. Our sample turned out to be far from quiet. Inside thereís a tiny electric motor, with an unbalanced weight on the spinning rotor shaft. Not only does it vibrate, it emits a surprisingly loud buzz as well, that rather defeats the object. If the phone is kept in a jacket pocket itís not too bad, and you might just get away with it, but leave the phone on a table, or hard flat surface, and itíll act like a sounding board.


The vibrating module is reasonably well built and the side-mounted grippers cling onto the phone quite tenaciously; the grip is a little too tenacious in fact, and it can be quite tricky to remove. The depth of vibration is good, strong enough to be felt through a couple of layers of clothing, but the noise might be a problem, if you want to remain discretely in touch, in otherwise hushed surroundings.



Typical Price            £24.99

Features            sub-miniature silent vibrating call alert

To fit                 Ericsson 200 and 300 series

Contact Digital Images, telephone 0171-636 7127




The design of in-car holder-chargers doesnít seem to change much from one year to the next. Most are reasonably functional, with few if any cosmetic fripperies.  That makes this one from Cell-Kit something of an exception. Itís not what you would call a big breakthrough in accessory styling but itís definitely the first one we can recall to have mockwood panels, on the holder and cigarette lighter adaptor.


We suspect it was originally designed for the US market, theyíre big on wood embellishments, even if they are made of plastic. The holder is a two-part design; the phone fits into the front half -- our sample, designed for the Nokia 2110 has a built-in connector plug -- the other half fixes to the carís dashboard. A set of double-sided sticky pads are supplied, it has screw holes as well (the spacing is compatible with some hinged mounts).


The phone part locks into the dash mount, to release it simply pull down gently on the phone and it detaches easily. A curly lead emerges from the bottom of the phone holder, on the other end thereís the charger module, built into a compact cigar lighter module. Inside thereís a microchip-controlled fast-charger, a dual colour red/green LED on the back indicates the charge mode (fast or trickle). A second green LED, on the front of the holder, shows power is connected.


Allís well with the charger electricís, at least as far as nicad and NiMh batteries are concerned; it took just under an hour to charge the 600mA nicad pack on our test phone, after which the charge current dropped away to just a few milliamps. Weíre not so sure of itís abilities to handle lithium ion battery packs, they have special needs and need to be charged properly. The locking action is fast and positive and it only takes a couple of seconds to load and unload the phone from its holder. Pretend wood aside itís well built and feels as though it should last the course. The mounting arrangements are a bit basic though, and we suspect some users will end up having to shell for a hinged bracket; even so, itís still not a bad deal.



Typical Price            £20

Features            fast chard nicad, NiMh & lithium batteries, two-colour LED charge progress indicator, short circuit and polarity inversion protection

To fit                 most popular makes and models

Contact Cell-Kit Accessories, telephone (01323) 731100




For some inexplicable reason most cellular phone accessory manufacturers appear to subscribe to the view that you can have their products in any colour you wish, as long as it is black. Perfect Solutions are one of the very rare exceptions and their Cellular Phone Caddy has a silver finish, which actually looks quite smart next to a black handset. The spring-loaded gripper that holds the phone in place is mounted on a curved slider, that allows the holder to be set at the most comfortable angle. Once positioned it can be locked in place. Strangely the holder is fixed and cannot be rotated, so once itís in position, thatís it.


The phone is held by the left-hand gripper, the inside faces of the holder are covered in foam rubber, to prevent scratching. The bottom bracket, which stops the phone falling out, is hinged and can be moved out of the way, to allow it hold longer models.


The fixing method is simple, not to say a little crude. On the base of the mount thereís a pad of double-sided sticky tape. The trouble is adhesives weaken and soften, especially in Summer, when the interior temperature inside a car can soar. It would probably be a lot happier as a table-top or desk mount. Thereís no option for a more permanent fixing, though thereís nothing to stop you drilling a couple of holes and keeping it place with screws or bolts.


The Caddy isnít an especially innovative or radical design but the silver colour does make it a look a bit special, and it is good value for money.



Typical Price            £5.00

Features            spring loaded, foam covered gripper, adjustable angle, silver finish

To fit                 most makes and models

Contact            Starcase UK Ltd., telephone (01386) 559663




We canít even begin to imagine what substances the person who though this one up had been abusing. Itís a sponge, got up to look like a big cellphone, which is fair enough, but inside thereís an audio microchip that Ďringsí when you press the ON button.  On the back of the card it is attached to it says, Ďwater resistant voice chip, prolonged immersion in water may damage voice chipí.  We didnít have the heart to find out...



Typical Price            £1.99

Features            sponge fitted with water resistant voice chip,

To fit                 any bucket of soapy water

Contact your local branch of Halfords




R. Maybury 1998 1201



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