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...
ORA PERSONAL HANDS FREE KIT
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
hands-free kit with integrated earphone and boom microphone
To fit most popular makes and models
Electronics. telephone (01296) 415445
WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT %
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
silent vibrating call alert
To fit Ericsson 200 and 300 series
Images, telephone 0171-636 7127
WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT 85%
INTELLIGENT HOLDER CHARGER
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
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
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
chard nicad, NiMh & lithium batteries, two-colour LED charge progress
indicator, short circuit and polarity inversion protection
To fit most popular makes and models
Accessories, telephone (01323) 731100
WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT 82%
CELLULAR PHONE CADDY
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
loaded, foam covered gripper, adjustable angle, silver finish
To fit most makes and models
UK Ltd., telephone (01386) 559663
WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT 80%
PHONEY OF THE MONTH
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
fitted with water resistant voice chip,
To fit any bucket of soapy water
local branch of Halfords
WHAT CELLPHONE VERDICT 60%
” R. Maybury 1998 1201