In the big world of budget to expensive smartphones, there are still thousands people out there who still need a basic instrument to just make calls and receive texts. The ones who opt for basic feature phones are the ones who either can’t afford smartphones, or are computer illiterate, or just need something basic for their everyday job. There are many feature phones out there that offer a good battery life, but most sport cameras, data connectivity and a few more for basic use.
Doel International Pvt Ltd, a new entrant into the Indian mobile phone market, has released one of the most basic feature phones ever — the Doel Card ET 106 feature phone. The device is too basic — it only features a 4G-enabled GSM mobile phone for calls and text and additionally has an FM radio and MP3 player. However, the price for this phone seems a little too steep at an MRP of Rs 3,000, especially considering the amount of features it contains. However, the USP of the device is its super-compact size and inter-phone connectivity. The phone is aimed towards the idea of carrying a spare phone which can be almost invisible in your bag or wallet.
The Doel ET 106 is a sleek and ultra-light ultra-compact 4G-enabled feature phone that can be used as a standalone instrument or connect to your existing smartphone, using Bluetooth, as a mate. The company pegs this mate phone as an option for people to enjoy life free of distractions during vacations or personal events. True — we do need a break from our smartphones which has now intruded into pour personal lives.
The credit-card sized, Doel ET 109 Card sports a minimalistic spec-sheet. The 4-band handset has a 1.8-inch 262k-pixel TFT LCD colour display with a touch keyboard. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 3.0+EDR with AVRCP/A2DP support, micro USB port, FM radio, M9 proprietary earphone jack and a single 4G GSM micro SIM option. The user interface is basic, featuring multi-languages (but none are Indian) and 61 types of ringtones with MP4 support. The phone is fuelled by a 500mAh battery and all of the above is packed within a 6.9mm thick shell weighing just 50g. What’s lacking here is a micro SD card slot, standard 3.5mm audio out jack and a replaceable battery option.
The phone is definitely too cute — credit-card sized and can almost disappear in your bag or pocket. The ET 106 has a simple-looking front with just a display, touch buttons and an earpiece with LED notification and proximity sensors besides it. The rear panel does not open and sports just a reset button. The right side has the power button, while the left sports the micro USB earphone/charger slot and a micro SIM card slot. Lastly, the phone has a retractable lanyard eyelet to attach to your bag or keychain too.
The phone is pretty much simple to use and needs absolutely no training. Simply switch on, wait for it to latch on to the network and there you go. UI features include an F1 legacy game, calendar, calculator, alarm and FM radio. You can connect the phone to your existing smartphone using Bluetooth, which allows you to make and receive calls on your Card. In short — the Doel phone works like a Bluetooth headset for your existing smartphone. Pair with Bluetooth, install an app called BT Connect on your smartphone, and you are done. You can now route your calls through your existing phone too— a possible great option for those with single SIM smartphones who need to use a second SIM card too. However, you need to stay in the vicinity of your smartphone for BT connectivity, else route your calls using call-forwarding options. The routed BT audio is loud and clear; however, the calls on the opposite end sound like a noisy background at times. Nevertheless, a great feature to have.
The device has a 500mAh battery and is barely enough for a two-day talk time or a three-day standby time. It would have been be nice to have a larger battery, but the size would take a massive beating. However, on the plus side, the phone charges to full capacity in under 30 minutes with a good 2000mAh charger. The Doel Card is packaged with a stereo headset and a charger cable. You would have to use your existing smartphone charger, but will have to stick with the provided headset, unless you refrain from using it for music.
All-in-all, the Doel is a great little feature phone for use as a standby device and along with your existing smartphone. The phone carries a 1-year warranty period and retails at an MRP of Rs 3,000 in India and for a street price of Rs 1,999. We would recommend opting for this phone if you are looking for an emergency standby or a second phone option.