Telstra EasyTouch Discovery

Designed for seniors and first-time mobile users.

Designed in collaboration with a seniors group, Telstra's EasyTouch Discovery is a mobile phone targeted at first-time and elderly users. Featuring extra large buttons and straightforward menus, the EasyTouch Discovery still manages to pack in a reasonable number of features.

It is a plain and rather dull handset. Manufactured by ZTE, which produces most Telstra-branded phones, this phone's build quality doesn't feel the best. The flip hinge feels flimsy and the front of the handset sways slightly from side to side when closed. A mirrored-style finish attempts to add a bit of class, but you will spend most of your time cleaning fingerprints from it.

Flipping open the EasyTouch Discovery reveals a fairly large display and one of the largest keypads we've seen on a mobile phone to date. The keys are slightly smaller than those of the KF300, but they provide excellent tactile feedback. The rest of the controls are also quite large: a five-way navigational pad is flanked by dual selection buttons, video call, speakerphone and clear keys and answer/end call buttons. If you're constantly frustrated by phones with tiny buttons and keypads, then the EasyTouch Discovery will be a godsend.

Ease of use is the name of the game, and Telstra has obliged by providing a straightforward and simple menu. The phone speaks the numbers you type on the keypad out loud, which ideal for people who are vision-impaired. In addition, a tutorial DVD is included in the sales package. The DVD includes instructions even for basic functions such as sending messages and making calls. There is a help file in the main menu that also explains how to perform basic tasks.

The EasyTouch Discovery is a Next G phone and therefore comes with all the extra features of the network, including the full suite of BigPond services and Mobile FOXTEL. A 3-megapixel camera (with no flash) that doubles as a video recorder, e-mail messaging, Bluetooth with A2DP, an FM radio, A-GPS, a media player and a full range of PIM functions such as an alarm, calendar, stopwatch and a calculator are included. Conveniently, a small adapter in the sales package allows the connection of a regular 3.5mm headphone jack.

Perhaps the best feature of the EasyTouch Discovery is the call quality — it is among the best we've heard from a mobile phone. Incoming audio is superb and outgoing audio is loud, although it does tend to pick up a bit too much background and wind noise. The EasyTouch is available on Telstra's $20 per month plan over a 24 month contract.

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