Monday 10 January 2011

The Vodafone 543 Review - Part one UPDATED

Well howdy!

It's my first tech review of the year!
My son bought himself a phone the other day and the geek inside me want's to see if it's any good.

The Vodafone 543 is a colourful budget touchscreen device tailor made for Vodafone by Alcatel.

So before we talk tech let's get down to basics

What's in the box.
  • The phone itself
  • Battery (3.7V 750mAh rated 2.78Wh)
  • Interchangeable covers (in this case blue and black)
  • Micro USB charger (yes, on a £25 device)
  • 3.5mm Headphones
  • Sim Card
  • Manual
The features of this device are very impressive, even for a basic device aimed at beginners to touchscreen.
  • 1.3Megapixel camera (no button, just a shortcut)
  • Music Player
  • FM Radio
  • 2 inch resistive touchscreen
  • Physical call and end button
  • Joystick
  • media player keys
  • slim package
  • Basic user interface
  • 2.5g only GSM, EDGE and GPRS (not compatible with the sure signal)
The handset seems to be of a high build quality, even at the sub £30 bracket. But it seems that's where the good side ends.

I was going to do a more in depth review this week. But, sadly I'll be taking it back to the shop for replacement tomorrow.

Unfortunately the touch screen has stopped responding properly. Now I had read reviews on the Vodafone's reviews pages and between myself and others on a few forums came to the conclusion this was an issue affecting only a handful of devices.
This ties in with another problem I have observed other touchscreen strangeness too, which I will explain further down.

Here are the pros of the handset (there is plenty of goodness here.)

A really sensitive FM reciever, meaning it'll even pick up the pirate stations with ease.
A simple UI
MicroUSB connectivity and charging.
3.5mm jack - top banana
It's clear. even in patchy areas a clear voice can be heard.
Healthy battery life.

Cons some minor some major!

  • Double Tap on many menus. Oh dear, Symbian^1 here we go again
  • Apps listed as installed in the literature on many sites is not installed. including The PC suite, Facebook and Opera mini.
  • No WMA Playback (my Media library is in WMA MP3 and OGG
  • Touchscreen requires calibration every few days, sometimes taking 7 or 8 attempts with a stylus or finger
  • Poor handsfree kit making the iPhone headset sound glorious.
  • Flakey blue-tooth connectivity with my Motorola headset!

So, In current conclusion. The device promises so much, but fails on many levels too!

We shall now review Vodafone Luton's Customer Service. and see if they are as accommodating with a faulty 2 week old device

At the moment. The Vodafone 543 picks up 2 out of 5 stars. hopefully they will make the situation better tomorrow.
The handset has gone for repair, at two weeks old. I will be blogging about this later.

Update 2:

The first member of staff was really nice, and tried to see about swapping it for a new device. for him (i'll hopefully get his name soon) you get 5 stars for trying.

For the rest of the staff i'll reserve my Judgement until I get home.

For now. It's sleepy time. New painkillers mean sleepy paul!
Paul :)

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