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(Pocket-lint) - Handsets are supposed to be getting smaller aren't they. We take a look at the Phobile, the mobile handset that seems to be breaking all the rules, to see whether retro really can be cool and useful.

Following on from the huge success and notoriety of the Pokia handsets, online store Firebox.com has jumped on the bandwagon and released a cheaper version it calls the Phobile.

Unlike their Pokia brethen which are custom made from original handsets and then sold for vast amounts of money on eBay, the Phobile is a mass produced and therefore considerably cheaper handset.

The premise is simple. Create an exact replica of a Western Electric 500-series model phone handset from the 1940, bung on a mobile phone connection and you’ve got the latest retro headset - well handset to be more precise.

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The handset is standard and you plug in different adapters depending on your phone; with most Nokia, Siemens, Sony Ericsson and Motorola models supported.

The handset just like the original back in the 40s is basic and the main annoyance we have is that the makers haven’t even added an answer or hang-up button. Not a problem if you’re a “candy bar” phone user, but a pain if you’ve got to open up your clamshell just to answer the call. Perhaps it was cost, but it wouldn’t have been hard to add a button on the accompanying cable rather than the handset.

Build quality however along with the speaker and earpiece is superb with the people we talked to saying they could hear just loud and we had no reception problems either.


Okay, as the press release we got in the post with the handset says, this is like attaching a typewriter to your computer.

It’s obvious that the Phobile is just for fits and giggles, but then this is gadgetry at its finest - pointless but funny. Combine this with the amount of comments we got when using it - not all good we have to be fair - certainly made us the talk of the office. If you’ve got £35 to spare and looking for a five minute wonder then this fits the bill nicely but doesn’t break the bank

We love it.

This product was kindly loaned to us by

Writing by Stuart Miles.