As phones get smarter every day, some of us long for peace of mind and abandonment of the days before the mobile revolution. That does not mean we do not want to be connected. It’s just that we do not want to be so connected, almost as if we are on the thread. But there may be ways to stay connected and still find peace in nature or solitude. Easyfone Shield tries to cater to this category and of course those who want to take their phone with them everywhere. And with a recent update, it has also become more appealing to those who find a smartphone or even a smaller feature phone difficult to use due to their advanced age.
Easyfone Shield + is a waterproof, shockproof and dustproof phone with an IP68 certification. It looks like a hard phone with screws that hold the back panel in place and bumpers that protect the entire phone case. I did not try it, but I’m pretty sure the phone would have withstood a fall from my fifth floor apartment.
But another way of looking at the phone would be to think of it as a Nokia-type phone in armor – I hope at least some of the readers would be from the era when Nokia was the top of what a phone could achieve. So this is not an Android phone and there is no large touch screen that you can navigate around. Instead, there is a 2.8-inch IPS screen that is larger than what you would get on a feature phone , but still nowhere near what most of us are used to now. For older users, this means they do not have to worry about what happens if the phone falls off the nightstand.
Below the screen is a fully numeric keypad, but with larger numbers that make more sense for seniors. It also works if you want to use it underwater or in the snow. There is a prominent SOS button on the right that can be set to a number you trust. The 3.5 mm audio jack above and the micro-USB port below are both protected by flaps. The power port here can be used to charge other devices, which is a good feature.
I struggled to set up the phone because both slots on this phone need old size SIM cards that I no longer had. I had to fish an old SIM converter out of one of my suitcases to make it work. The second battle was to get back to using a keyboard. The frustration started with just unlocking the phone, which is as simple as it gets, but something we just are not used to doing anymore. So a few hours after tinkering with this phone, I was convinced that this may not be my primary phone anyway, but it could be a good backup phone that also supports my main unit.
For those who like to go hiking or need to visit places where connection and power can be an issue, this phone will be a blessing. The power backup on this phone’s not so large 2500mAh battery can last up to three weeks and can help build other devices also during this time. The other interesting feature is the flashlight, which is powerful enough that you can find your way in a forest at night and is not on the back panel as we expect on phones.
Interestingly, this phone comes with a unique charging station which makes it almost like a landline phone for those who have limited need for a phone outside their home. Since the phone can also be configured to only allow calls from some trusted numbers, it acts as a great device for seniors to keep in touch with their family wherever they are and avoid unnecessary calls.
The Symbian-like operating system offers some cool features like a music player, the ability to store files on a 32GB external card, Bluetooth connectivity and a camera. The camera is very old-fashioned and is again at best a backup. One feature that works well for this phone is the built-in FM radio tuner.
At Rs 5,499, Easyfone Shield + is a great backup phone for those who are more in sync with nature than city life, and for those who no longer need a smartphone. No, this is not a phone you would otherwise use unless you have turned a corner in life and have devices to leave all the comforts. Even for those who drive around a lot, this is a great device to have in the glove compartment of your car for emergencies. And that is clearly the purpose of this phone, to be a robust partner for those who like the hard life. Only buy this if you have a specific use case for a phone that does not die with a fall and does not die on you when you need it most.