Updated: November 8, 2021 3:33:05 pm
If I ask you to put down your smartphone for a week and switch to a feature phone, how would you react? You either come up with excuses for not switching to a feature phone or simply end the conversation. Well, the real issue is that a majority of people believe that feature phones are forced upon them in the name of “digital detox” and to some extent they are right. Because brands pitch feature phones in a certain way, the core message gets lost and the end device feels purposeless. But Seniorworld, a homegrown company, is clear what its Easyfone Shield stands for and who should buy the rugged feature phone.
I’ve been testing out this device for the past few weeks, which I feel has a use case in the real world. Here is our review of the Easyfone Shield.
Easyfone Shield price in India: Rs 5399
Easyfone Shield review: Design and aesthetics
I have tried rugged smartphones at various conventions, but never used a rough and tough feature phone. The Easyfone Shield follows the design language of a rugged smartphone but is adapted in a feature phone form factor with similar design capabilities and features. The phone is built to last and it really shows in the way it has been designed. It has a hulk-like look with a mix of plastic and rubber exterior that gives it a tough look. On the top of the phone is a 3.5mm audio jack and a built-in flashlight which is a life-saver if you are camping and forgot a hand-held torch at night. The left and right sides of the phone have a slightly thicker rubberized edge. This edge gives the phone some extra protection if it falls from a height. The left edge has an SOS button when activated helps you feel more secure in the case of an emergency. Finally, the bottom edge of the device is where you’ll find the USB Type-A charging port which is completely sealed.
The good thing about the Easyfone Shield is that it has a 2500mAh removable battery which can be swapped out for an extra if you need it. Sure most people won’t need it, but if you are working in extreme conditions or plan to go to a mountainous terrain for a few weeks where access to power is an issue, an extra battery could be a boon. The back comes off to expose the removable battery, SIM, and microSD card slot. Yes, the back cover snaps on easily with the help of four screws. The cover feels tight, which is needed given the phone is also IP68 rated. The Shield is fascinating because you can run it under water or throw it on the rock, it will still survive. The brand claims the Easyfone Shield is India’s first IP68 proof feature phone, making it waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. Let me also tell you that this phone looks beefy and bulky..but doesn’t feel heavy in the hands.
Easyfone Shield review: Display and software
Don’t expect the screen to be wonderful. It’s a 2.8-inch IPS screen, which is fine for reading text messages outdoors. It’s not even a touchscreen, and that’s okay. A slightly larger screen is handy for a rugged feature phone, which can also be used for consuming content. But do you really want to watch a movie on a 2.8-inch screen in the middle of a jungle? Below the screen have an old-school keyboard, including a D-pad, select, two menu buttons, call and hang-up buttons and 12 numeric keys. Typing a text message can be tedious as I did struggle a lot going back to this style of keyboard. Thankfully, your interaction with this phone won’t be as high as your smartphone, and I get the point why the brand keeps insisting that this Easyfone Shield is not designed to replace your current phone.
The Easyfone Shield runs on a proprietary operating system, which has a retro user interface and is completely basic. This doesn’t run KaiOS, which is trying to bridge the gap between a feature phone and a smartphone. That means there is no access to the app store, Google Assistant, YouTube, or WhatsApp.
Easyfone Shield review: Performance and battery
Be warned: this is a 2G feature phone but has dual-SIM support. There’s nothing much to rave about specifications or features as it is clearly designed just for texts and calls. One of the features that caught my attention is the whitelist feature which when enabled lets you select contacts that can send messages and make calls to you with the maximum number of contacts being 20. There are no games preloaded on the phone but you do get an FM radio, a music player, a calendar, and a calculator. And yes, the phone also supports Bluetooth, plus it can also be used as a power bank. You can insert a microSD card for more storage if you really want to listen to music and save photos. You will also find a single speaker at the back. It is tinny sounding and has no bass.
Battery life is about four to five days with my heavy usage, or 21 days on standby according to the company. It has one camera on the back, but don’t expect much. It also records video too, but there’s no selfie camera.
Easyfone Shield review: Who should buy it?
The whole idea of a rugged feature phone is to have a tough device for those who work in demanding/or extreme environments or someone who is going on a long trip to the Himalayas and needs peace of mind. This is clearly not designed to be used every day, unless you are a senior citizen who really doesn’t care about social media. But yes, by building a rugged device, SeniorWorld is trying to increase the appeal of feature phones which are merely seen as dumbphones and mostly excluded from being discussed in tech conversations. Having water and shock resistance is a clever way to introduce those rugged features to mainstream users via a feature phone.
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