This made-in-China Philips phone will appeal to the over-70s -- with large buttons, big fonts, an SOS button -- and a 'magnifying glass'.
'Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty four'? The plaintive refrain of that sixties Beatles classic needs a bit of tweaking for the 21st century: like adding ten years to the age of physical challenge. Sixty Four is sprightly these days. But come 74 and you start wishing technology on things like phones, was a bit less demanding.
Philips which sold off its handset business a few years ago, to Sangfei, stills oversees some design and quality aspects and lends its name to a range of handsets made by its Chinese partner. It has introduced a budget model the Philips Xenium X2566 (Rs 5537) which seems tailored for the elderly: the keys are large and chunky; the display of numbers and text and bright and big; the speaker lets you hear music or FM Radio rather louder than most phones.
An SOS button conveniently located on the top, sets off a loud alarm and keeps calling your choice of three numbers till one of them picks up. An LED torch -- which one can easily switch on with the right thumb -- sends out a bright beam. A text-to-speech option reads out the number you are dialing -- or the number of an incoming call.
There is one innovative use of the VGA camera, that the elderly will appreciate: Slide the key next the rear camera and point the phone at any text you want to read -- a newspaper item say or the fine print in a document. The screen becomes a magnifying glass. You can enlarge or reduce the image size with two nicely located buttons and if you want to grab a copy of what you are reading, just press the 'OK' button.
Other phone specs -- tri band GSM, GPRS, 2.4 inch screen, headset socket, Bluetooth, 1630 mAh battery, mini USB data port, dual SIM, audio recorder, FM radio -- are fairly standard for a 2G phone, but older users will find comfort in the half a dozen special features we tried out and described.
Our only gripe is that opening the cover to insert the SIMs is a messy operation -- we didn't see the famed Philips attention to detail here. We trust they'll improve this in the next rollout: it should an easy snap-fit operation.
And keeping its target users in mind, we may be excused for dredging up another Beatles catchline and using this friendly phone to call them with: "I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello!"- Anand Parthasarathy. September 22 2014