ďComparing the Doro PhoneEasy 612 to the Apple iPhone 4S or Samsung GALAXY S III would be like comparing Maroon 5 to MastodonĒ
"The Doro PhoneEasy 612 meets its mission objective"
As my esteemed colleague Anthony Hill wrote when reviewing the Doro PhoneEasy 614 earlier this month, judging the Doro PhoneEasy 612 using the same criteria we use to assess the average smartphone would be ridiculous.
This is because the raison d'Ítre of Swedish mobile manufacturer Doro is to produce handsets for older people that are easy to use, so comparing the Doro PhoneEasy 612 to the Apple iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S III would be like comparing Maroon 5 to Mastodon.
With regards to being easy to use, the Doro PhoneEasy 612 meets its mission objective - it is simple to set-up, finding its features is so straightforward even my old man could do it (sorry Pop) and said features, while basic, will give those still getting to grips with the mobile age everything they need.
Where the PhoneEasy 612 differs from the PhoneEasy 614 is that it comes with a camera. It is as uncomplicated and accessible as youíd expect from a company dedicated to making products that are just that, and the results, close up at least, are passable.
However, while photos can be sent to others via multimedia messaging service (MMS), unlike the PhoneEasy 614, the 612 isnít 3G, meaning they canít be shared online via email, social network or any other web-based platform.
While this may seem unnecessary for a phone aimed at seniors, in an age when silver surfers are increasingly prevalent, the PhoneEasy 612 feels something of a missed opportunity for introducing social media on the move to the older generation, as well as an expensive option considering 3G phones with cameras can cost less.
"Its camera couldnít be easier to operate"
The handsetís camera is obviously about as sophisticated as the cast of The Only Way is Essex compared to that sported by, say, the Nokia 808 PureView, but comparing it to the best cameraphones available is pointless, as the purpose of this camera is to introduce more senior people to taking photos with a phone.
In this respect, the PhoneEasy 612 is a success, as its camera couldnít be easier to operate; accessed through the camera button on the main keypad, it only has two settings to keep things simple - zoom and brightness.
At two megapixels, results are well defined with colours showing up fairly sharply up to a distance of 10in or so, but any further than that the photos begin to look fuzzy and washed out. So, while itís unlikely to turn out fine art photography, itís just the job for taking photos of family and friends.
Aimed as it is at older people, the Doro PhoneEasy 612 has a couple of features not often included with your average mobile phone - an emergency button and an in case of emergency (ICE) section.
The emergency button is a sizeable button on the back of the phone so it can be easily accessed during - you guessed it - an emergency. The button can be set to telephone and send a personalised text message to up to five different numbers when pressed, as well as sounding an alarm.
The button is simple to set-up and offers a number of different options for activation and deactivation, while the alarm is so loud it had several people in the Mobilechoices.co.uk office jumping out of their seats when set off.
A lanyard comes included with the handset, meaning it can be comfortably worn around the neck, making the emergency button easily accessible should it be needed. One small criticism is the size of the button - at under half an inch across is does seem like it could be bigger to make triggering the alarm even easier.
The ICE section enables the user to list personal information that could prove critical to anyone responding in - you guessed it again - an emergency, such as allergies, blood type, medication, existing conditions and so on.
Again, itís easy to set-up, but it seems a little illogical to have it buried in the phoneís phonebook when it would be much more likely to be seen during an emergency if it featured on the homescreen.
Given its target user - those who havenít grown up with a smartphone stuck to their palms - Doroís phones are designed to be simple to use, and the PhoneEasy 612 is no different.
The start-up wizard makes it easy for even the most mobile phobic to get started and the user interface is so basic that losing your way while using this phone would be like getting lost in a wardrobe.
Unlike many modern mobile phones, the PhoneEasy 612 also comes with a large paper instruction manual, rather than giving the user only onboard instructions, making it easier for those new to the mobile game to find their feet.
The phoneís battery seems to last forever compared to those of the smartphones of today, and so it should considering itís not exactly powering a supercomputer - it will last a week or more under low usage.
The battery also charges very quickly, while the handset comes with a charging cradle into which it sits snugly to charge, meaning that those with less steady hands can avoid having to fiddle about with plugging the mini-USB cable directly into the phone.
Speaking of those with less than steady hands, the Doro PhoneEasy 612 feels solid and durable. That, together with it being a clamshell-style phone (the kind that fold shuts), means it should be able to withstand a few more bumps and scrapes than most smartphones.
The phone also features an FM radio, which is easy to operate, and music stored on a MicroSD card can also be played. Confusingly, the music player is only accessible through the File Manager section and can only be played one track at a time.
However, considering playing music isnít exactly the modus operandi of the PhoneEasy 612, the sound quality on offer through the supplied headphones isnít bad at all and can go very, very loud, as can the ring volume for those with hearing loss.
This also means the quality of calls is really clear, which is something of a novelty in an age where most mobile phones arenít manufactured with the idea that theyíll actually be used to make telephone calls in mind.
"The Doro PhoneEasy 612 does what itís designed to do"
The lack of 3G and therefore mobile internet means than the phone is very limited by todayís standards, not to mention expensive as it will set you back over £100 sim-free when 3G handsets with half decent cameras can now be had from around £70.
However, the Doro PhoneEasy 612 does what itís designed to do in solid if unspectacular fashion. Itís an easy to use cameraphone that would be suitable for older people who want to do more with their mobile than just make calls and send texts, but would be lost if they were lumped with a smartphone.
Video coming soon!