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How we test simple mobile phones

By Jessica Moreton

We reveal how we test simple mobile phones to find the models that are easiest to use with the clearest call quality.

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What makes a Best Buy simple mobile phone? 

We only recommend the phones that offer crystal clear call quality to rival a home phone, easy to use buttons that help prevent misdialing and clear screens that are comfortable to read. 

We put every simple mobile phone through the same set of rigorous tests to find out which one is best. Our tests include practical assessments carried out by our ease-of-use specialists and technical measurements to ensure that each of our simple mobile phone reviews answers all the key questions you might have, including:

• How easy is this phone to use?
• How long does the battery last?
• How clear are phone calls?
• Are any extra features useful?
• Should I buy it? 

Head straight to our simple mobile phone reviews - or read on to find out more about how we test to answer each of these questions.

How easy is this phone to use? 

We use trained ergonomic assessors to conduct our tests. They look for well-spaced keys and how easy it is to tap in numbers and texts. They set the phone up from scratch too, and rate how fiddly it is to insert the SIM card and how helpful the instructions are in getting the phone up and running.

How long does the battery last? 

It’s no use having a phone that’s easy to use, if its battery can’t last the day. That’s why we charge the phone up to full capacity and measure how long it lasts when making continuous calls. And because we know that many people want a simple mobile phone to keep in a handbag or car for use in an emergency, we also test how long it will last on standby; we monitor the handsets for up to three weeks to see if they can keep their charge even when dormant.

How clear are phone calls? 

We run two tests so that we can judge the sound quality of simple mobiles. First, we make calls with no background noise. We use both male and female assessors to judge how the phone handles differences in pitch. We then make further calls but with a noisy background track playing to simulate making a call on a bustling road or in a busy café.

Are there any extra features, and are they worth having? 

Some simple mobile phones come with extras such as a camera or basic internet connectivity. We put these to the test too to see whether they are worth spending the extra money or whether they make the phone tricky to use.

Should I buy it? 

All of the assessments above are then combined to generate a total test score. The scores enable us to rank the phones from best to worst, awarding Best Buys and Don’t Buys to help make your buying decision as straight forward as possible. The total score ignores price and concentrates on ease-of-use, battery life, sound quality and features, with the results breaking down as follows:

Ease of use…..55%
Battery life…..20%
Sound quality…20%
Features……….5%

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