Fly Mobile Fly SL 399e in-depth review -

Look and feel

Only available in a garish pink hue, the Fly SL399e may prove to be an acquired taste. The clamshell is impressively light due to its waif-like build, but despite its petite structure, the SL399e feels robust enough to withstand the odd knock.

Ease of use

The wheel-key can be pressed in four directions for shortcuts to various functions. Due to the tiny screen, text appears small and the menu icons are squashed together, which means you'll have to concentrate on finding your way around.

Features

With a 1.3-megapixel camera with a couple of editing options, the SL 399e also offers a built-in MP3 player, FM radio, Bluetooth and video recording capabilities.

Performance

While the SL399e offers some decent features, none will take your breath away. The camera is a mere 1.3 megapixels and takes an age to load. There's no 3.5mm headphone jack and only 0.5MB of onboard memory, though there is a microSD card slot. The radio recording feature is rather appealing.

Battery life

A miserly 120 minutes of talktime and 160 hours of standby time means you'll be forever recharging.

 Fly Mobile Fly SL 399e Review -
2

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:51:17 PM

4

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

6

out of 5

Ease of use

4

out of 5

Features

2

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Being able to pre-record the radio is a real novelty and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of results.

Cons:

The economic cost fails to mask the poor quality of the features on offer.

 

Slim, light and erm, pink. The Fly SL399e resembles something of a camp Motorola RAZR2 V8, minus the external screen. Although smaller than Motorola's cutting-edge handset, the Fly's new clamshell certainly bears some resemblance.

Female suitor?

Stereotypical it might be, but one would assume that Fly is aiming the SL399e at the female market, with its pink colour scheme. However, look beyond the garish hue and the SL399e is not a badly crafted handset. Weighing in at only 68g, the phone is incredibly thin, yet it feels as though it could withstand the odd knock.


Flip open the clamshell and you are greeted with the 176x220-pixel screen. Measuring only 1.8 inches, text on the display is minute and the menu icons are squashed together on a dreary grey background. Above the numeric keypad are two soft keys, and the Send and End key surround the wheel-key used to navigate around menu icons. When in idle mode the wheel-key also offers shortcuts to various functions: press the wheel up to access the camera; right for the radio; down for the audio player; and left for SMS options.

Pre-record radio

For a low-end handset, the SL399e manages to pack in a good array of features. As with the SLT100, Fly has included a capable radio, complete with recording functionality. We actually found this worked better on the SL399e than on its more equipped sibling, the SLT100. On the SL399e you can preset the phone to record automatically at four given times. Simply type in the date, time and radio frequency and it will start recording. However, the provided headphones will have to be plugged in first.


Unfortunately, there's no 3.5mm headphone jack, so you'll have to make do with those provided. However, the SL399e is Bluetooth enabled, so you should be able to pair up a wireless listening device. The SL399e also houses an MP3 player with 0.5MB of onboard memory, but if you find this isn't enough to house your multimedia gubbins, there is a microSD card slot underneath the battery.


Despite only housing a 1.3-megapixel camera, there are a few picture-editing features to play around with, such as adding text or icons. However, the SL399e is not designed for the keen snapper. We also found that the camera was slow to load, which means you'll have little chance of catching an impromptu pic. While the SL399e also sports a video camera, the maximum recording length is only 28 seconds, which is short enough to send via MMS, but that's about it.

Sluggish internet

The SL399e is GPRS enabled so you can surf the net, but with 3G and increasingly HSDPA becoming such a mainstay on popular handsets, loading times are comparatively slow. The small screen also means your thumbs will be busy trying to scroll through all the content.


As with the SLT100, when comparing the Fly SL399e to other handsets, it's important to consider the price. £39.99 is certainly an attractive proposition, but we can't help but feel it would be well worth spending the extra tenner on the more-equipped Fly SLT100, which incidentally comes in both a black and pink variety.