Tesco claims that their VX1i "party phone" is proving a popular choice with customers, who are attracted to its SIM-free simplicity. At £18.99, it is a bit of a bargain, but you don't get much in the way of functionality.

A 450mAh battery gives you up to 5hrs of talk time and is charged via Mini-USB - the only connection on the handset. A small mono LCD display will give you a couple of lines of text, whilst a four-way controller gives you shortcut access to alarms, your calling list, address book and messages.

Tesco thinks it's a party phone. We think it can be so much more. Who really needs the VX1i? Read on to find out.

The Party Goer

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We're not sure what sort of parties the folk at Tesco go to, but you won't be snapping photos to post to Facebook on the VX1i as there is no camera, so it's likely to be some sort of illegal gathering. There's no music player either, but that doesn't matter: you're at a rave in a deserted warehouse, with bass blending your internal organs.

The Covert Operative

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CIA and MI6 have a healthy budget, sure, but in these credit crunch times, flipping over to the VX1i for dead drops saves tax payer's money. Next time you're putting a phone in the hands of a professional killer to give him the "green light", before he crushes it under his heel, why not use the VX1i? Besides, you could always pretend the VX in the name refers to the nerve agent…

The Triathlete

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Your other half is always hassling you to take your phone on those long morning runs and rides, but having your BlackBerry jumping around in a pocket on the back of your Lycra running pants is a pain in the arse. Enter the VX1i. It will cover you for emergency calls or text updates to your Iron Widow, without you having to worry about the bulk. You won't be tracking your progress as there is no GPS, or apps, but you've got a Garmin Forerunner, right?

The Kids

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"You'll always be able to reach me". How many times has that been the killer sell in a kid's battle for the latest phone? Get your own back by giving them all they really need with the VX1i. They'll be able to call you for those late night pick-ups and text their friends, but may not look that cool at the school gates.

The Prone to Mugging

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You live in a rough neighbourhood. It's not your fault, just a fact of life. You've had your phone stolen a couple of times and you are worried about your data. Fret not. Get yourself a VX1i and you'll worry no more. Sure, you might have your address book stolen, but with no online services plugged right in, you won't find miscreants putting pictures of their genitals on your Flickr stream once they've nicked your phone. They may decide they don't want it in the first place.

Still not convinced?

Is £18.99 such a bargain? A quick scan of eBay shows up over 1000 handsets at the time of writing that are unlocked and ready to rock, including some classic pieces of hardware for around the same price. Yes, they have been used, but it's always worth looking. You might try looking around your house too, because you probably have an old handset somewhere, but it won't necessarily be as small.

Don't like the silly pictures? We've included a whole gallery below so you can see what you get for your money.