Technophile

Easyfone Shield: One tough phone

Mala Bharghava | | Updated on: Dec 29, 2021

A throwback to yesteryears but rugged and basic for those who need just that

Easyfone is a brand of phones from Seniorworld — a company which makes products specifically with the elderly in mind, as is evident by the name. A recently introduced Easyfone is the Shield which is not just good for seniors who want to keep things simple but also for those in situations that call for a rugged device. And that’s what the Shield is. At the same time, it may be too simple for some. Let’s look at the mix of things it brings.

One look at the Easyfone Shield and you’ll think back to the years when everyone only had ‘feature phones’ to choose from. These still exist and even look quite seductive in their simplicity, but the Shield stands apart for several reasons.

Sturdy build

First, it’s made of a hard plastic and rubber type material which feels very tough and is. There’s extra plastic on the sides as well. You can safely drop this phone and not wince over a shattered screen. It turns out the Shield is actually IP68 waterproof, dust-proof and shockproof, which is why it costs a little more than you might expect. All openings are sealed to ensure it can actually be dipped in water.

The phone isn’t a fly-away weight, but quite surprisingly solid and substantial, though certainly not heavy compared to today’s smartphones. It’s the Shield’s toughness that extends it beyond just a customer base of seniors. Anyone in a situation in which they don’t want to use a smartphone for fear of dropping it, or just to make a device easier to grab and call, could opt for the Shield. You can use it one-handed very easily, so that adds to the use cases. Going on a hike, working in challenging environments, etc could be times when you need to reach for a device that does the basic job of communicating. One could use it as a second phone for specific times.

 

Basic features

The Shield has a 2.8-inch LCD screen. It wasn’t long ago that we reviewed a smartphone with a 6.95-inch display, so this one seems from another world. But it is just right for the type of phone this is. It’s not meant to be for getting on the internet and consuming content or doing some work on. The software on this phone is proprietary — and similar to the old Nokia phones — and allows for basic things like reading messages, making calls, setting an alarm, listening to FM radio, and taking extremely basic pics with an extremely basic rear camera, possibly in an emergency.

You’ll need to insert a memory card if you plan to snap a quick photo to save any images as they won’t save directly on the phone; instead, you get a Not Enough Memory message. You also have a calculator and calendar to use and there’s a big bright torch that can be triggered with one button. There’s a settings section to configure quite a few parameters like time zone and more. Amazingly, you have Bluetooth and, even more surprisingly, the ability to charge another device using the Shield — which has a 2,500mAh battery. Since there isn’t much to do with this phone, the battery will last a few days. The battery actually comes detached in the box and you have a tiny screw driver to open the back and pop it in. If you’re going on a trip somewhere you can’t recharge you phone, getting a backup battery from the manufacturer might be useful.

The device also takes two SIM cards and works on 2G, so it’s not for browsing or anything. In fact, there’s no Wi-Fi or internet at all. One problem is that the SIM cards have to be the old full-sized ones, not the nano SIMs we’re used to. In fact, I couldn’t test it for calls because I haven’t seen a full SIM for many years.

One-button help

One important usage for this phone is that you can press the dedicated SOS button on the top right and your emergency contacts will be contacted. In case there’s no response, the police will be called. The contacts can be saved with their photos, but there’s a limit of twenty to that.

Under the screen is a physical keypad and buttons to navigate the phone and call up the menu just as on feature phones. A central orange button calls up the menu and there are arrows to move about — no swipes or taps on this screen as it isn’t touch-sensitive.

This unique device is a mix of unnecessarily dated features — such as a USB Type A port and short cable, and old-style SIMs — and functional characteristics like toughness, quick access to help and contacts, and a focus on communication.

It costs ₹5,499 and is meant for specific use cases.

Published on December 29, 2021

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