The first mobiles were externally large “bricks” that did not last long, were charged ten times longer than they worked, and could perform only one function – to receive and send calls. With the development of technology, the devices became smaller and gradually began to fit into handbags, pockets, and they could be worn on a cord around the neck.
But they were replaced by smartphones with ever increasing screens and, as a result, sizes. There was nothing left to do but reinvent the miniature mobile phone. There are already quite a few of them on the market, and one such instance came to us. Elari Cardphone is about the size of a credit card or travel card, but, of course, thicker. It looks like a toy, but thanks to its weight and capabilities, the illusion disappears.
The main issue of using Cardphone and its analogs is practicality. Someone calls the device “anti-smartphone”, although in reality it is an ordinary miniature mobile phone that can also work in Bluetooth headset mode with its “elder brothers” – iOS, Android and WP smartphones or tablets. However, it is possible to connect an earphone with a microphone to the device itself.
The gadget is pleasant to the touch: the keyboard unit (without backlight) takes up two-thirds of the free space and is completely covered with a solid piece of rubber with a soft-touch coating with small grooves around the buttons. One third is reserved for a monochrome two-line 1.1-inch screen. The back panel is made of matte plastic.
Along the perimeter there are six screws, at the top center – the contact pad for the charger. There are no connectors, at the top there is only a vintage mechanical automatic keylock switch, on the right is a SIM card slot.
The dimensions of the phone are 86 × 48 × 5.5 mm, the weight is 42 g. Due to this, the gadget can be carried in a shirt pocket without fear that it will sag. But the battery pumped up – its capacity is only 220 mAh. Obviously, the dimensions of the Cardphone dictate certain conditions, so the engineers had to compromise: a battery is enough for three days of battery life in standby mode or for three hours of talk in a benign mode. Of course, I would like to “as before” – at least a week without recharging, but …
In practice, this time is enough, but the charging method is depressing: for this, you need to attach a cradle to the phone, which is connected via miniUSB to a power source. That is, in the first place turned up without an additional “body kit” you can not charge the Cardphone. You have to accept the fact that the charger should always be with you. However, together with a mobile phone, it takes up at least two times less space than any modern phone, let alone a smartphone.
The device can work as a pair with a smartphone, and as an independent unit. For this, there is a slot for microSIM, hidden behind a plastic cap. The design of the slot is impractical, and there are fears that the fasteners may not withstand and break at some point. The panel has a little backlash and, if you shake the phone, it makes a subtle sound. The silicone bumper supplied in the kit saves the day. The body itself feels durable.
The speaker of the model is placed in a standard place, but the microphone is located on the side, just below the middle of the device. At a certain position of the device, you can close it with your cheek and the dialogue will not work, even if you scream louder. The sound quality can not be called high – the interlocutor sometimes has to be asked again, and the microphone is not very sensitive.
When transmitting via Bluetooth 3.0, the situation is similar. By the way, if you leave its coverage area, your mobile phone will not restore communication with the “parent” smartphone. The incoming call goes to both devices: Cardphone has a “polyphony” in the form of a single melody, but at a high level, the speaker wheezes and “chokes”.
To effectively use the keys of a digital block, a certain skill and habituation is required: the buttons are placed under a protective coating in a certain recess and you will need effort to press them.
For navigation, there are special keys with which you can select a source, for example, recently dialed phones or an address book: from a Cardphone or an “external” smartphone. In spite of the fact that iOS and Android devices are mentioned as compatible on the official website, the Elari mobile phone successfully worked with a WP device.
Using the phone, you can also control the audio player of the smartphone, there are a voice recorder (taking into account the amount of internal memory it is useless), an alarm clock, a calculator, several sound profiles for different environments, basic settings and the Anti-lost function (the signal will notify you of a Bluetooth connection). If you wish, you can read and send SMS, but because of the small screen it is not very convenient. The graphical menu is intuitively clear in a few minutes after getting acquainted with the phone, even the absence of signatures does not interfere. At the same time, the interface cannot be called fully thought out: access to some functions requires taking too many steps. True, they look obvious.
Are additional features needed? Probably not. Before us is a companion phone or a device for special cases, for example, when the battery of the main unit has sat down. Due to the small size of the device fits in a purse or wallet, it is convenient to take it with you on a trip. And for iPhone owners, there is a special case for mounting the Cardphone in it.
The mobile phone has noticeable advantages, but it could not avoid weaknesses. For example, we liked the “designer” look and compactness, but the price of the phone can scare away – it is about $ 70 equivalent. Accustomed to HD Voice and high-quality communications will be disappointed, and a proprietary charger deprives the Cardphone of mobility. Nevertheless, the final decision on the acquisition of such a device should be made only after you hold it in your hand.
- stylish appearance;
- miniature size – fit in your wallet;
- low weight;
- loud bell.
- high price;
- Low quality of communication when working via Bluetooth;
- weak battery (with a reservation: considering the size of the phone, its capacity is enough);
- inconvenient charging;
- no backlight keys.