Telstra EasyTouch Discovery

The EasyTouch Discovery is the perfect first phone for people who are not confident with mobile technology. Designed for ease of use, the Discovery has a few extra toys to play with once you've mastered the basics.


8.5
CNET Rating
4.2
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design
Shortly we intend to praise the practical design of the EasyTouch Discovery but it's hard to overlook how ugly this phone is as well. Its boxy shape, the mirror-finished surface smeared with our fingerprints and the way the external buttons and camera protrude awkwardly from the handset create an unappealing aesthetic. Then again, previous collaborations between Telstra and Chinese OEM ZTE have failed to deliver any attractive design, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.

Swallowing our shameful superficiality, we tip our hats to Telstra for putting a phone into stores that meets the demands of people other than iPhone scenesters and BlackBerry-toting business people. Opening the Discovery reveals the largest keypad we can remember seeing on a mobile phone. The size of these keys rivals the size and definition of the buttons on the telephone sitting on the desk in our office. This is fantastic news for people with impaired vision.

In addition to a large, clear keypad, the Discovery features a sharp, colourful display and audible feedback when entering phone numbers, as in the phone speaks the numbers back to you as you type them. The layout of the main menu is simple and easy to decipher, and includes a help option. This help menu features guides to mobile phone basics with text descriptions of how to make calls, send messages and an introduction to using Bluetooth to pair with external devices, like a Bluetooth-enabled hearing aid neckloop.

Features
With its focus on accessibility you might be surprised to discover that the EasyTouch Discovery also features a few high-tech gizmos. As a phone purpose-built for Telstra's Next G network, the Discovery includes 3G connectivity with HSDPA data transmission. Next G services feature prominently of the Home Screen and main menu, giving customers access to Bigpond and mobile Foxtel.

The Discovery also sports a top-mounted 3-megapixel camera and a front-facing camera below the screen for video calling. Headphone connections are made via the micro USB charging port on the side of the handset. The Discovery comes bundled with a 3.5mm headphone attachment which is surprisingly small — only about 5 centimetres in length. An FM radio tuner is included alongside a standard MP3 music player.

Tutorial DVD
In a first in recent memory, the Discovery sales package includes a tutorial DVD with step-by-step instructions on how to use the major features of the phone, with visual aids to make the lessons clearer. Chapters of the DVD include "How to make phone calls", "How to send messages" and an introductory lesson on how to install the SIM card and battery. No lesson is too elementary for this DVD and it will come as a godsend for those buying their first mobile phone.

While we're not interested in critiquing the quality of the disc, it is worth noting that the lessons are produced well, with slow, clear instruction given by its host, Diane Smith of The Great Outdoors. Our only criticism is of the section entitled "Bluetooth Hearing Aid Guide". This is the most complex lesson on the DVD and yet it is the only one without visual aids. If you plan on giving this phone to a loved one who is new to mobile technology we recommend you watch this lesson with them and work out how to follow the guide together.

Performance
At the launch of the EasyTouch Discovery a spokesperson from Telstra explained the attention given to achieving excellent earpiece volume. The evidence of this concern is in the superb volume and clarity of audio during calls. The built-in microphone is also tweaked for increased sensitivity, though this experiment isn't as successful. During calls our friends complained that we sounded like we were in a wind tunnel, with the mic picking up every outward breath from our nose and mouth.

Text messaging couldn't be simpler with the large keypad and predictive text software similar to that found on Sony Ericsson phones. Email is also simple to use but requires you to know your incoming and outgoing server details, rather than the phone searching online to enter these settings automatically, as with phones running Windows Mobile 6.1.

Online services are reasonably good, though the screen size certainly doesn't lend itself to long sessions of browsing or viewing streaming video. ZTE rates the battery life for the Discovery at 3 hours for talk-time and between eight and nine days standby. These figures are pretty standard for an HSDPA capable phone, but not outstanding.

Overall
We've dubbed the EasyTouch Discovery the "Nanna phone" and gladly recommend it for first-time mobile phone owners. The ease-of-use and wealth of instruction are second to none. While the handset design lacks allure, Telstra's pricing is attractive — the EasyTouch Discovery is available for AU$439 or $20-per-month on a 24 month contract.

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"Couldn't find a negative number to rate it - so terrible and stuck with this piece of garbage for another year and a half."

TAZ posted a comment   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything.

Easy? Discovery? Nothing easy about this phone. No discoveries to be made with this phone except how difficult it is to use.I loathe this stupid excuse for a first phone for older people - who were the so called designers? Did they even ask anyone what they wanted in a phone? Did they even check to discover what we wanted. The CD and the instruction book seems to have been written by an idiot. Text is tiny, photos shocking quality and so tiny you need a magnifying glass to see them, even with reading glasses. The plug for the USB port is miniscule as is the cover where the cord plugs into the phone. Predicitve text is now off on mine - why is texting so fiddly and difficult - tiny tiny keys and I need to use the strongest reading glasses just to see it. Its terrible - absolutely useless - I needed a computer technician friend to help me with photo downloading to my computer - no instructions once again - or none that I could follow.
I am not a moron - I've used a PC and have my own website, but this phone is a total waste - can't find how to save photos sent to me or where to save them anywhere in the instruction book. Every question I have isn't answered - I have to go to tech savvy internet techs. to find out how to do things. Apparently we just know instinctively how to use them - I'm an ex-teacher - first rule - assume new users know nothing. Second rule - start at the beginning, and proceed with your instructions step by step. Aaaargh! Such an expensive piece of rubbish.

GregM8 Facebook
1
Rating
 

"battery life charge"

GregM8 posted a review   

The Good:nothging

The Bad:battery charge only last less than 12 hours very poor

poor battery life on phone needs to be better than 12 hours of life in it when fully charged. Returned to used old phone which has a battery life of three or more days when not been used

Helena
2
Rating
 

"Roll on two years so I can get a good phone"

Helena posted a review   
Australia

The Good:There isn't any

The Bad:Everything as mentioned above

I hate this phone. I don't like the predictive text. I don't like that I can't get rid of the sounds it makes when I send text unless it's on silent. I hate that you have to scroll through to get a capital letter after you add a full stop. If anyone can help me rectify these problems please let me know. I hate the way the phone closes down for now apparent reason. I hate it when there is not enough warning that the battery needs recharging.
Helena Campbell helena.campbell@det.nsw.edu.au

awsome
9
Rating
 

awsome posted a review   

The Good:the size of the butons

The Bad:the charge

gooooooood

Blackpepe
1
Rating
 

Blackpepe posted a review   

The Good:Good sound and large keypad - if only it worked

The Bad:Intermittent keypad fault - can't use the phone

After 7 months of reliable use - the keypad stopped working intermittently. I was overseas and logged the fault with Telstra. After returning the phone just before warranty period, Telstra then returned the phone back to me after 4 weeks (after the warranty period) with exactly the same fault saying it had been re-furbished - I asked them what that meant and they could not tell me. I asked for it to be replaced - and you guessed it "sorry - this phone is out of warranty".

Looking at the other reviews there is an obvious manufacturing fault in this phone but, as usual, Telstra is happy to grab the quick money and run. Forget about customer service. I'm off to the TIO....again.

kenny h
3
Rating
 

kenny h posted a review   

The Good:it,s black

The Bad:80% of the time it,s about as usefull as an ashtray on a motorcycle

chews battries,turns itself off and willnot allow you to turn back on unless you remove and replace battery.bluetooth willnot work on car radio. but will work on a cheaper unit in truck and other portable units. no way of finding out what mgz the phone bluetooth uses so a choice of car stereo unit can be made.three months into contract and told by telstra shop its out of warranty and want $ss to repair. may after i bounce it off the wall i will go back to my old motorola till the contract expiers i will take my mobile,home,office,internet and kid, mobiles to a real genuine carrier.

Bebe
3
Rating
 

Bebe posted a review   

The Good:large buttons

The Bad:see below

I agree with Sponge Boy re the upper and lower case. I loathe pre-emptive text, having to re-set with every message. I don't need a voice telling me each number I am punching in, couldn't wait to get rid of that. It's not user friendly. I have gone back to my very old Samsung.

Sponge Boy
3
Rating
 

Sponge Boy posted a review   

The Good:see other posts

The Bad:Camera

Camera is pretty bad.When using a picture as a screen background picture is too small considering overall screen size.

Sponge Boy
3
Rating
 

Sponge Boy posted a review   

The Good:Big buttons and display font

The Bad:Bluetooth, FM Radio, cuts out

Bluetooth in car is really bad compared to my last phone (Nokia6280); doesn't automatically connect, you need to confirm connection manually every time. Sometimes phone conversations in car sounds like Darth Vader and I need to switch off the car and restart to get a propoer sound. Bluetooth will switch off while car in motion for no reason. Sound, during in car use, fades in and out. Cannot make a call while FM radio is on. SMS default setting is predictive text (hate it)and it can't be set to capitals or lower case but needs to be selected every time. Jeez, where do I stop?.......................If I could get a new Nokia 6280 I would.

 

Sponge Boy posted a reply   

Forgot to mention; when in car sound like Darth Vader I need to switch off car, while in motion, and switch on again.
Also, FM reception is poor and has lots of static


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User Reviews / Comments  Telstra EasyTouch Discovery

  • TAZ

    TAZ

    "Easy? Discovery? Nothing easy about this phone. No discoveries to be made with this phone except how difficult it is to use.I loathe this stupid excuse for a first phone for older people - who were..."

  • GregM8

    GregM8

    Rating1

    "poor battery life on phone needs to be better than 12 hours of life in it when fully charged. Returned to used old phone which has a battery life of three or more days when not been used"

  • Helena

    Helena

    Rating2

    "I hate this phone. I don't like the predictive text. I don't like that I can't get rid of the sounds it makes when I send text unless it's on silent. I hate that you have to scroll through to get a..."

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