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I wanted to buy a cheap, cheerful but reliable mobile phone for my son, primarily for keeping tabs on him but also so he had his own phone and would then hopefully leave my blackberry alone! He initially wanted a blackberry but I would not and could not agree to it or justify the cost considering it would be a first phone and this caused the usual ‘it’s not fair’ tantrums and he refused to look at any other cheaper phones I suggested that would be a more suitable price.
It was a few weeks before Christmas and I noticed that the Orange network had a mobile phone called Rio on sale which seemingly resembled the Blackberry almost identically, I was curious so I travelled to my nearest orange shop to take a closer look and was firstly surprised by the cheap price and the additional content on offer at the time of purchase, as a Christmas deal you could buy the pay and go Rio in a large oblong gift box which included a set of headphones (worth £60), an orange transparent piggy bank, and a few little accessories, all for an amazing price of £34.99 if you topped up by £10 on purchasing.
For a total price of £44.99 I thought it looked much more expensive, the phone did look so much like a blackberry I knew it would be perfect, it also seemed to have everything (except the blackberry messenger of course) that a blackberry had and looked stylish, light and shiny, the freebies were a fantastic bonus so I bought this package, I was very pleased with myself having got such a great deal.
I would like to point out I am only reviewing the Rio mobile phone and not the accessories with which it came with.
==WHAT’S IN THE BOX?==
* Rio Mobile Phone GSM Dual-band Digital
* User Manual
* Hands Free Kit
* USB Cable
* Quick Start Guide
* Orange Services Guide
First impressions count for a lot these days and this phone did not fail to impress…
Length 107 mm
Width 61 mm
Depth 12 mm
The Rio has a very attractive design and is like I have already stated very similar to the Blackberry curve in style and design, it is very sleek with a glossy black and chrome outer case, very streamlined with no sharp corners, it is very smooth, slim and curved and also extremely light, the screen size is a decent size and measures 2.4 inch.
It has a qwerty key pad with very small thin buttons which are raised in a curved bubble type shape and it has a 2 mega pixel camera, the battery was easy to install and I find that the back which covers the battery on mobile phones can sometimes be fiddly to take on and off but this one is really easy and smooth to do and little raised arrows in the back remind you which way to push the back when you need access to the sim or battery, a plus in my book.
Pictures of Orange Rio
* FM Radio and MP3 Player
* 2 Mega Pixel Camera
* Qwerty Keypad
* Expandable Memory with 16GB Micro SD
* USB Compatible
* Internal Memory of 6MB
* Dual Band
* Video Messaging Enabled
* Photo Messaging Enabled
* Pop 3 / mop 4 Email
* Touch Screen Control
* Predictive text input
* Wap Enabled
* Video Record
* Video Download
* Loud speaker
* Java Capable
* Vibration Alerts
The ability to customise this phone is very good, we found it was quick and easy to set-up following the quick set-up guide which has easy and clear instructions of how to do so, you can customise what shortcuts are displayed on the home screen for quick access of the apps used most, in my sons case it is messages and email, the shortcuts redisplayed on a widget drawer to the left of the screen and can be controlled by the touch screen ability.
The home screen links all the services you use the most as well as your preferences, it displays the usual received or missed messages or calls and any pending appointments you have coming up via the task bar across the bottom of the screen, and to get more details you just touch to scroll to the corresponding icon, each time you do this you get a list of options of directly where you want to go next, it is very quick and simple to navigate and easy to get the hang of.
The menu consists of…
Orange World----Allows you to accesses the internet
Messenger---- Allows you to chat to friends
Games & Applications--Allows you to play games
More----Allows you to access the orange features
Orange Widgets---Access to the widget preferences and favourites
Call History----Allows you to see all your call history
Contacts----Allows you to view and manage all your contacts
Multimedia----Access to play music and watch videos
Organiser----Access to a calendar, alarms and alerts
Settings----Allows phone customisation
Music----Allows you to listen to music
Messaging----Allows you to send, view and reply to text messaging and emails
The menu is easy to navigate and each option has its own icon, they quickly become familiar as you get to know the phone, the lay out is simple, I have seen many complicated phones and I would not describe this as one.
==MAKING A CALL==
This is easy and simple, you just open your contacts tab on the home screen and scroll down to the contact you wish to phone, you press the call button and hey presto, you can change the volume during a call by using the volume keys to the left and on the edge of the phone.
I would say this is the most used method of keeping in touch in our family and communicating with others so it was important that this feature is a good one, and it is, very simple quick and easy (although we do prefer to switch of the predictive text as it is annoying!).
You open messaging from the home screen menu and simply select weather you want to send an SMS or MMS then type your message and send, you also have the option to receive delivery alerts and to keep all sent and received messages, which for a child’s phone I think is good so you are able to keep tabs on appropriate communications.
==TAKING PHOTO’S & VIDEO’S==
Admittedly the quality or the resolution of photos or videos is not great on this phone and there is no flash but it is acceptable and satisfactory for what it is and good practice for a new user, the phone seems to have a huge memory and can hold a lot of pictures.
It is easy to take a photo or record a video, you simply press the camera icon from the home screen menu or you can press the key on the phone that has a little camera icon on it and these will automatically bring the camera view straight up ready to either take a snap shot or record a video, the photos and videos are automatically saved in multimedia, there is a zoom but to be honest this reduces the quality of the images even more when you use this so I would not recommend using the zoom if your looking for a satisfactory image result.
==SENDING & RECEIVING EMAIL==
This is done by the GPRS network and the manual explains that in order to use this feature you need to set up an account then connect it to your phone, there are step-by-step instructions on how to do this and it is pretty simple really following the email account set up tab on the settings menu.
To send an email you select the option from the home screen in the same way as you do for messaging, type your email with the address you are sending it to then send, it’s as easy as that, very pleased with this feature as it works really well.
This feature works very well also, you get the kit with the phone which consists of a set of earphones that have a remote control adapted into the wire enabling you to make and answer calls basically hands free, you simply press the H-FREE key to either enter or leave the hands free function, to be honest this is not a function we will be using this phone for but for the review purpose we tested it out and this works just as it should with clear volume and good control.
==FM RADIO & MP3 PLAYER==
Both these functions work as they should do, the mp3 player holds a lot of songs, this one currently holds 8 songs and there is room for plenty more, the sound quality is not fantastic and does not capture the bass or tone very well but it is loud and usable and easy to use by selecting the music icon from the home screen menu.
The radio is very temperamental and depends very much on location as to weather you get a good enough signal to be able to listen without it making cackle noises, and that is when you can actually find the a radio signal to listen to, bit disappointed with this feature as it is a bit of a let down.
The web browser loads surprisingly quick and we are impressed with this feature, you can access browsing from the home screen when you explore orange world, the entertainment and download area’s are free to browse and there is a vast choice of apps to download such as the usual social network apps, you can also access news and weather reports.
The battery life on this Rio phone is brilliant, it seems it needs an overnight charge maybe once or twice a week but we have found that this does depend on how you use the phone, the battery life is excellent when your just using it for texts and web browsing but when used for making a lot of calls it runs down faster, a full charge with normal usage usually lasts 3-4 days.
The volume of the ring tones and speaker volume is a little on the low side when using for alerts or alarms and we have experienced some missed calls when outside in public due to not hearing the ring tone but we found by changing the settings to vibrate we could actually hear the vibration as well as feel it, however the volume on the speaker whilst listening to music is considerably louder.
The Rio comes with the standard answer phone that you have the ability to activate or de-activate; we choose not to use this feature though.
We have found that the phone locks an awful lot and is sometimes a pain to keep un-locking as you have simultaneously press two keys with precision timing to un lock and there is annoyingly a knack to this which takes some getting used to.
The keys are small and more rounded than those on a Blackberry curve and they are slightly more fiddly to use if you’re an adult or have wide fingers, ideal for a child’s fingers though.
The touch screen is a great idea to have but I would not say it is very sensitive on this phone and we have resigned to using the phone normally due to the constant hit and miss accuracy of the touch screen.
* Easy to use
* Qwerty Key pad
* Good Sized Screen
* Price/ Good Value for money
* Not Great Camera Quality
* No Camera Flash
* Small Thin Key pad
* Lack of Accessories / cases
* Touch Screen not Super Sensitive
* Frequently have to unlock
My initial thoughts on this phone were that you got a whole lot of phone for your money; I still stand by that thought for the following reasons..
Although there are some good and low points to this phone I believe the good out weigh the bad and taking into consideration the price was only £44.99 with £10 worth of phone credit I still think this is an excellent price to pay for a phone with so many features, albeit some need working on but they all work to a satisfactory level and that I think is what makes this phone a brilliant buy for a first time user or as a starter phone.
The design and style of the phone is very appealing and is often mistaken for the Blackberry curve which is a bonus in my son’s eyes.
The qwerty keypad is definitely its best feature and the phone also comes with some good game demo’s, its slim sleek and lightweight appearance gets the big thumbs up from me and my son and at such a cheap price I would recommend this phone as long as you are willing to compromise on the quality of some of it’s features, personally at this price you cannot complain, it’s a good all rounder.
I have rated this phone a good all rounder 3 out of 5
Make sure that your phone is always fully charged with this handy in-car charger. Simply ... more
fit it into the cigarette lighter port in your car, plug the tangle proof cable into your phone and away you go. You'll never run out of power again - great for business trips or long journeys! Solid robust moulding with CE / ROHS certification. ORANGE RIO PHONE CAR CHARGER / MINI USB