Telstra F158

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Telstra F158
  • Telstra F158
  • Telstra F158
  • Telstra F158

Pros

  • Shock, dust and water resistant ruggedised design; impressive layout and implementation of controls; HSDPA-capable; loud ringtones

Cons

  • No outstanding features, large and chunky size, average multimedia performance, no memory card slot for extra storage

Bottom Line

The Telstra F158 will definitely appeal to tradesmen who require their mobile phone take a beating, but if you look past the ruggedised design, there isn't much else on offer.

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Sporting a rubber design and targeted specifically at tradesmen, Telstra's F158 has been built to take a beating. Shock, dust and water resistant, the F158 may be a worthy option to throw into your toolbox, but its large size and the fact that it has little to offer in terms of features means there is plenty of room for improvement.

The ruggedised candy bar design of the F158 certainly isn't very attractive, but it does the job. Although we can't formally test these claims, we did drop the handset a few times on various surfaces (including concrete) and splashed water on it. It passed both of these tests with flying colours.

The design itself is notable, but the sheer size of this handset may be a hindrance. It's especially chunky and feels quite heavy in the palm of our hand. But despite the size, the display is quite small and there aren't really many other outstanding features. The controls are impressive though – they are well spaced, comfortable and easy to press, making general browsing and messaging a pleasant affair.

Being a Next G handset, the F158 is naturally a HSDPA capable device, and supports speeds of up to 3.6Mbps on the Telstra network. Running on Next G means the F158 has access to the full range of Telstra content, including Mobile FOXTEL, Yellow Pages and WhereIs mobile. Unfortunately though, the F158 really hasn't been designed with entertainment or multimedia in mind. The small display is low specified and has a poor viewing angle, there is no standard 3.5mm headphone jack and the media player is as basic as they come. There is also just 64MB of internal storage and no memory card slot.

Thankfully, ease of use is excellent. Once again, the main menu features colourful icons in a simple grid layout, with a list format for most sub-menus. The F158 supports standard SMS, MMS and e-mail messaging, all with standard T9 predictive text input, while Bluetooth 1.2 supports wireless handsfree headsets but can't stream music to a wireless set of headphones. PIM features include an alarm, calendar, stopwatch, calculator and world time and Telstra includes a USB cable in the sales package for file transfers and connection to a PC.

A 1.3-megapixel camera on the rear is included and photos are about what we'd expect – colour reproduction is quite poor and image noise is an issue, but they look quite good on the F158's display. A front-mounted VGA camera is also present to allow for video calling over the Next G network.

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