A week ago we took a look at one of the cheapest Android phones on the market. Likewise, we’re looking at another phone today. This Mobitel offering is about the size of two USB drives put together. It has Wifi. It has 3G. It even has a USB port so you can connect it to your PC and use it as a wireless router. It does Youtube. It even comes with Opera Mini 10. No, it’s not a smartphone. It’s available for just Rs 9, 990.
It’s the Plum Switch.
Packing a 1.77 inch screen and a keypad you can cover it with your thumb, the Switch is easily the smallest phone we’ve handled. There’s the WiFi on/off button in the center, the two soft keys, the numberpad on a very, very tiny space. The styling is vaguely reminiscent of some of the low-end Micromax phones you see on the streets – black, gloss finish, with small colored bezels along the sides. The backplate has an interesting fingerprint-like design that greatly improves grip and makes it impossible for fingerprints to stay there. The extended bottom is a cover, with a USB port 2.0
Once you power up the phone, you get what seems to be a standard featurephone operating system – that is to say, it looks a lot like Nokia’s old S40 and a lot like the “Chinese” operating systems of today. That’s not surprising. Plum is a US-based company while the phone itself is built in China.
On paper, the Switch has a lot of features you wouldn’t expect it to contain. WiFi and 3G, for a start. Yes, full-fledged 7.2 Mbps 3G. Youtube (yes, there’s a Youtube player built-in).
As you can see, the Switch looks ridiculously small: more like an mp3 player than a phone. It’s exactly the size of the old average broadband dongle. Its small size makes it stand out when you want it to, and completely invisible when you don’t. You can put about three of these in your pocket.
Unfortunately, the Plum Switch’s biggest claim to fame – its small size – is also its biggest weakness. The keypad is often too small to comfortably text on, especially if you’re a male with average-sized hands. The inclusion of Opera Mini and Youtube are offset by the small size of the screen. The Java app support isn’t much of a point. The world moved past java mobile some time ago.
The Switch is great for taking calls and comes in handy as a wireless router for your computer. Battery life, as expected, is epic compared to other Android handsets we know and love. If you travel a lot, I’d recommend a Plum Switch for use as a backup phone and a broadband dongle for your laptop. Or if you don’t need to text, Whatsapp or Google – the Switch is a great buy. It’s tough, durable, and you can always use it as router or USB drive. Mobitel gives this with 1 GB worth of data free for the first 6 months, so broadband dongle it is!