Although smart phones are very popular, not everyone wants one. Some people want a cell phone mainly to make telephone calls. There are some cell phones that do just that. However, even if your main use will be telephone calling, it may be nice to have some simple additional features like texting, a radio, and a flashlight. That’s where the Snapfon ez ONE comes in. It is a simple cell phone that focuses on making calling easy, but has some nice extra features that come in very handy.
As shown in Figure 1, the Snapfon comes in a small box with a picture of the phone on the top.
Inside the box you will find the phone, a small 22 page User Guide, a Black nylon neck lanyard, a brown suede-like case and a pair of ear buds. The phone slides into the case easily, but fits tightly. The ear buds are the hard iPod-type, but have an additional in-line control.
Figure 3 shows the Snapfon next to an iPhone. As you can see the Snapfon is considerably smaller. At 2" x 4" x 0.5" (5.08 x 10.16 x 1.27 cm), the Snapfon is very comfortable in the hand and fits well into just about any pocket.
As you can see, the Snapfon has an attractive bronze body with a very dark chocolate brown face and bezel. Because the number pad is so prominent, it could easily be mistaken for a calculator.
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As you can see in Figure 4, The Snapfon has a very large numeric dialing pad on the front of the phone. The white numbers are especially easy to read on the dark background. When you dial a number, that number appears as large black letters on a lighted amber background, also shown in Figure 4. The numbers on the Snapfon are presented in a large, easy to see, 28-point font. In fact, they are so big and bright that they can be dialed easily in total darkness. The Snapfon can also be set to have the phone speak each number as it is dialed. This is especially useful to low vision users.
The asterisk and the pound sign under the number pad act as Quick Keys. The Asterisk turns on the silent mode with vibration on. The pound key turns on the silent mode with no vibration. The zero key in the middle has a speaker icon indicating that it can be used to turn the speaker phone on and off.
On the top of the front in Figure 4, is the speaker. Just below that is the main display. This uses icons similar to most other cell phones to indicate things like the alarm, amount of battery power available, and strength of the cellular signal.
Under the display is a green answer (OK) key and a red end key. Between them is a large button that is used to navigate up and/or down when making selections.
The Snapfon is an unlocked GSM phone so it can be used with GSM compatible carriers worldwide. In the U.S., both AT&T and T-Mobile provide SIM cards that can be used with the Snapfon. There are also many smaller local carriers whose unlocked SIM cards that can be used by the Snapfon. The Snapfon will also work with pre-paid SIM card providers, as long as their SIM cards are not locked.
Setting up the Snapfon is easy. You simply slide the back off and remove the battery. Then you insert the SIM card. In Figure 5, you can see the back and battery removed, and the blue and white SIM card in place.
[nextpage title=”Additional Hardware and Features”]
The Snapfon has an easy-to-use slider on the right side of the phone to lock and unlock it. Next to that slider is another slider switch that turns the flashlight on and off. The flashlight is located at the top of the phone, which is shown in Figure 7.
The flashlight has a high intensity LED light that is strong enough to help you find you keys or to light the walkway in front of you. The flash light works even when the phone is in the locked position. Next to the flashlight on the top of the phone is the place where you can attach the included neck lanyard or a simple wrist strap.
The left side of the Snapfon is shown in Figure 8. This side has two sliders just like the other side of the phone. The slider on the left controls the volume. The slider on the right turns the FM radio on and off.
The FM radio will start at the last station that you listened to. There are no presets, so if you want to change the station, you use the up and down navigation arrow keys. The bottom of the Snapfon has a standard head phone port and you can use the included ear buds to listen to the radio. Even though the head phone port is a standard size, be aware that it is proprietary. You cannot use other headphones with the Snapfon. Only the included set will work. Unfortunately that means that you will be stuck with the hard ear buds, unless you can find some soft tips for them.
Having an FM radio without an Mp3 player is unique. It will appeal to those who like ease-of-use, those who don’t own a computer but would still like to listen to some music, as well as those who like talk radio.
One minor thing that we didn’t like about the Snapfon was that three of the sliders had a little too much play in them. Although they worked fine, they seemed to be slightly loose and they made a slight noise when the phone was moved around.
The only problem that we had with our Snapfon happened when we tried
to use the ear buds. When we plugged our ear buds into the Snapfon, they didn’t work. Instead, the sound kept coming out of the phone itself. After a quick call to people at Snapfon, they sent me a new headset. Unfortunately, that did not work either. They quickly sent me a new phone with no questions asked and the new phone works like a charm. Customer service was very responsive.
Another unique feature of the Snapfon is the orange S.O.S. button that can be seen in Figure 9, on the back of the phone. This button is recessed, so it won’t be accidently activated, but it can be easily pressed in an emergency. After you activate and program in the numbers that you want the S.O.S. button to call, in an emergency you simply hold the S.O.S. button for 5 seconds. This will sound an alert and will activate the automatic emergency calling. The phone will consecutively call the 4 numbers until it received a response. If you don’t enter any numbers, the phone will call your local emergency response center.
[nextpage title=”Using the Snapfon ez ONE”]
Although the Snapfon uses nested menus, it is fairly easy to navigate. When you press the up arrow key to get the menu, each choice is given in large letters and with a large icon. You then press the green OK button to make further choices. The selection for the Phone Book is shown in Figure 10.
Unfortunately, to make entries in the phone book, you may have to press the number keys several times to get the letter of your choice. While this is time consuming, it is the only way to get letters into a phone that only has a numeric keypad.
The Snapfon has all of the basic features of a cell phone including text messaging, voice mail, call history, conference calling, speakerphone, and one-touch dialing for up to 8 numbers. It also has a calendar, alarm, calculator, and vibration/mute option.
The speakerphone function works very well as the volume can be set to be quite loud. This volume will also be welcome by those who may have some difficulty hearing normal volume. We found it very useful since with the volume turned up, the phone’s ring tone could be heard even when we were in a noisy place or when it was in a purse, pocket, or briefcase. It is also nice because the volume of the call can be adjusted during the call. Also during a call you can press and hold the “0” key for 2 or 3 seconds to switch the speakerphone mode on and/or off.
Since the phone has a minimal number of power-grabbing functions, the battery’s staying power is excellent. The phone is rated for 3-5 hours of talk time and 90-120 hours of standby time. This makes it perfect for someone who only wants to recharge it a few times a week. Another nice feature is that the phone sounds a tone and displays a low battery message when the power is nearly depleted to alert you to charge the phone.
Unfortunately, this phone does not pick up the date and time from the cellular network as many other cell phones do. Instead, when you get the phone or when daylight savings time begins or ends, you must reset the time manually in the phones settings.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
Snapfon ez ONE cell phone main features are:
- Dimensions: 2" x 4" x 0.5" (10.4 cm x 4.9 cm x 1.5 cm)
- Screen: 1.6 inch amber LCD 128×48
- SMS memory: 100 records
- Phonebook memory: 200 records
- Call record: last 10
- Language: English
- Ringtones: 6 polyphonic
- Alarm Tones: 6 polyphonic
- SMS Tones: 5 polyphonic
- Battery: Lithium-ion battery
- Talking keypad
- Emergency S.O.S. button
- High intensity LED flashlight
- Built-in FM radio with headset
- More information: https://www.snapfon.com
- Suggested Retail Price in the US: USD 100
The Snapfon is made by a division of VisiKey, a company long known for their large print keyboards. Certainly, the large numbers on the Snapfon will be welcome to the vision impaired as will the talking keypad feature. The loud volume will be welcome by those with hearing impairments. And both of these features will be welcome by seniors. Yet, the Snapfon is a perfectly capable phone for anyone who wants a simple-to-use cell phone. Anyone who is looking for a cell phone as a wireless lifeline to emergency help will find the Snapfon quite capable and the S.O. S. feature quite compelling.
The Snapfon totally lives up to its advertising – it is easy to see and easy to use. Because the cell phone is unlocked, you can choose your own service and service plan. If you are purchasing this phone for a senior or someone with disabilities, it can be set up with the proper numbers and settings and be given to that person. They will be thrilled with the ease of everyday use. And it offers them an emergency lifeline without an additional monthly fee.
Even baby boomers who are not interested in a smart phone may be happy to have a phone that doesn’t require them to put on their glasses just to see the buttons. At USD 100, this is also a fairly inexpensive way to get a good cell phone. All-in-all, this is a very capable phone with some nice features that could be used by anyone who just wants a phone for everyday communications and to use in emergency situations.
- Very good size and shape
- Big, bright keypad buttons
- Large, 28-point screen font with large text
- Large clear text on screen
- Talking keypad
- Long battery life
- S.O.S. button
- Useful LED flashlight
- FM Radio
- No radio presets
- Proprietary headset
- Sliders on side seam loose