Just like feature phones, camera-less phones are a dying breed. Walk into any mobile retail store and ask for a camera-less phone and watch the reaction. The expectation would be dropped immediately because it’s a low-end phone but more than that there aren’t many options for camera-less phones. If you are lucky you will have 2 or 3 different models available. That’s the case everywhere.
I have earlier argued that enabling Windows Phone for camera less phones is an useless option. I was dead wrong. There is need for camera-less phones. There are quite a few establishments and places where camera phones are not allowed. I’m not talking about temples in India. To give a broader example, Singapore military doesn’t allow camera phones. What did they do? Someone ripped of the cameras on iPhone 4S and started selling those.
Camera-less phones are needed but are in short-supply. If you are on the lookout for a camera-less smartphone though, I wish you luck. If you find anything please let me know. I need one to. But if you want something immediately, here are your 5 options.
Samsung Hero Music E1232
Samsung Hero Music with its Titanium Silver build feels nice to hold. Its body doesn’t give you the feeling that you are holding cheap plastic. Hero Music is a dual SIM phone, comes with 11 hours of talk time, reads 4GB micro SD card and costs you Rs. 1600 (on Flipkart). It has music player (of course) and a FM radio. Torch on the phone comes in handy.
The phone comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack. But the earphones that come along with the phone go into the proprietary port which is also used for charging. The only downside.
Hero Music has a Fake call feature which could come in very handy if you are in a boring meeting. Samsung Hero Music E1232 costs Rs. 1600.
Samsung Guru FM E1220
The key difference between E1220 and E1232 is the number of SIM’s. E1220 is a single SIM phone, gives a talk time of 8 hours, has FM radio, and torch. The keypad is alphanumeric and is dust resistant. E1220 comes with a 1.8 inch QVGA resolution.
The downside of E1220 when compared with E1232 is E1220 can’t read SD cards and can’t play music.
Samsung Guru FM E1220 is a phone with FM as the main attraction.
Samsung Guru FM E1220 costs your Rs. 1290.
Nokia 101 runs Series 30 operating system, comes with a flash light, FM radio and a mega battery providing 25 days standby time and 6.7 hours talk time. The memory can be expanded to 16GB.
Nokia 101 is a dual SIM phone and has an mp3 player. It is equipped with 5 address books for easy phone sharing between family members. Nokia 101 also allows personalization for up to 5 SIM cards.
Nokia 101 is priced at Rs. 1445.
There’s a Nokia 100 available which isn’t a dual SIM phone like Nokia 101. Nokia 100 runs un Series 30 operating system, comes with a flash light, FM radio and a mega battery providing 25 days standby time and 6.7 hours talk time. The memory can be expanded to 16GB.
Nokia 100 is priced at Rs. 1160.
Nokia went hard at work with its X1 phone. X1-01 is a dual-SIM phone aimed for music lovers.
It has a big speaker on the back which can deliver 106 phon. How loud is that? Loud enough to piss off your neighbors or fellow travelers on a bus or train. Nokia is very proud of this fact. It is the loudest and clearest speaker Nokia has ever produced. In addition to the loud speaker, X1 supports 16 GB storage through SD card slot, FM radio, music player and dedicated music keys. A playlist can be created in just a click. X1-01 has torch light on top, in case you are out of power, which happens almost every other other hour in India. Nokia X1-00 runs Series 30 operating system.
Special feature of Nokia X1-01 is the assignment of logo, music signature or ringtone to each SIM’s, upto five separate SIM cards. A cool feature for someone juggling with multiple mobile numbers.
Nokia X1-01 is priced at Rs. 1830
The phones listed above are what are available in the current market as on 22 Feb, 2012. There are other camera-less phones like Intex Vision, iBall Aasaan, iBall Floater, and Karbonn Jumbo K7 which are perfectly good options, if you can get a hold of them. Nokia C1-02 is another good phone which is permanently discontinued.
My pick would be Samsung Hero Music E1232. It is slim, feels good in hands and has a good display. The battery life is good too. Nokia is never known for its designs until the N9 and Lumia. Nokia phones fall in the same category. They are functional but score low on aesthetics.
The time is ripe to introduce is a camera-less Smartphone. It’s a niche but a compelling one. Who’s up for it?