Geeks’Phone ONE is the first offering from the Spanish based start-up operating out of Madrid. The phone comes ready to roll, with root access, unlocked and network free. It is priced as a mid-range handset (285€ or $425) and offers a hybrid Android 1.5/1.6 operating system with a modestly customized user-interface. Android Authority has been following the development of the Geeks’Phone since early May this year, and we encourage you to read on to find out whether this device is a good option for your holiday spending.
The Geeks’Phone ONE appears to be a rather standard slider-phone, but in the flesh the device looks much more attractive than online mug-shots would suggest. It comes in just one color, which is a glossy black, and when ‘opened’, the device reveals sleek reflective silver contours around the keyboard, and this certainly gives it a classy edge which underpins the general impression you are left with after using the device for a few days. Overall, it is a stylish device, especially when considering the price point, and why shouldn’t it be?
Given that the ONE comes in a high-gloss black finish, it is understandable that it suffers from the same issue other handsets with this finish also suffer from; oily fingerprints. I much prefer a matte finish with a Teflon coating to help keep things clean, but the ONE does not provide in this department. In comparison to any other device with this finish, it actually brushed up rather nicely. The Samsung i8910HD you see in some of the comparison photos requires more wiping more often to keep things looking tidy.
The Geeks’Phone ONE is a compact phone by today’s benchmarks, and it is certainly forgettable when in one’s pocket. Overall, it is slightly smaller than the HTC Hero, as it measures up as 110mm x 55m x 14mm. I find that it is a well proportioned piece of kit, and given that there is a slide out keypad, the thickness of the device is very good. The actual slide mechanism is spring loaded and is very satisfying and well-built. Remember, you do not have to pay premium prices to get your hands on one of these. Furthermore, it weighs in at 123g, an acceptable number, as I am sure you’ll agree. Nonetheless, despite the relative weightlessness of the device, it feels robust and sturdy in your hand, as though you are holding something of value, without it being over the top. Now, personally, I am a fan of screens that push right up to the boundaries of the device’s front fascia. The ONE leaves something be desired here, but only at the top and bottom. Around the sides, the fascia borders are slight and unimposing.
The display itself is a 3.2-inch touchscreen WQVGA (400 x 240 pixel) TFT-MVA new-gen resistive panel. The screen is the same physical size as that on the HTC Hero, but offers less in terms of resolution. Reading the display in bright sunlight was decent and comparable to an AMOLED display. However, the colors were far from as vivid as any of Samsung’s AMOLED offerings, and to the touch the screen felt slightly soft. This is to be expected, as a resistive touchscreens require far more pressure than capacitive touchscreen, and I personally do not enjoy using them as much.
Moving away from the touch-aspect of the phone, there are a number of different hardware keys on the device. Starting at the front, along the top you find a slit for the speaker, along with a VGA camera for video calling. Across the bottom and below the screen there are three keys: green, white, and red. The green and red make and end calls, respectively. The white key is used for menu and also acts as the home key. One the right side of the device, there is an interesting jog button which adjusts the volume, along with a dedicated camera button for taking photos.
At the back of the device we find a recessed hole where the obligatory 3.1MP autofocus camera resides. There is no flash, which effectively rules out any night-time action man shots unless you have an alternative lighting source. At the top end of the device you’ll find a microSD card slot offering up to 32GB of memory expansion, along with a 3.5mm headset minijack. This is an excellent addition to this device and is certainly a selling point as far as I am concerned. To get things to and from the device, and for charging, there is a micro-USB 2.0 port that is protected by a plastic cover. The left hand side of the phone is totally devoid of things to press and fiddle with. Finally, the stylus slots in the top side of the device, towards the right-hand-side.
The keyboard itself is actually quite nice, although somewhat different from other physical QWERTY keyboards. It uses a membrane finish, whereby each key does not have its own recessed place holder. Instead, a membrane layer appears to covers the keys, which are then underneath. I did not find this difficult to use, and actually quite liked the feel on my fingers after prolonged typing. Each key is emphasised by a mixture of yellow, white, and blue lights. The yellow lights designate numbers, while the blue lighting reveals the FN characters, such as those accessed by a SHIFT key on a computer. Finally, the white light is for the alphabetic characters and the space bar, along with delete and return. The keyboard has four rows, not five. I did not find this to be a problem, although productivity would surely be increased on a five row keyboard. Overall, I enjoyed using the keyboard and found it very easy to use and to send text messages from.