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Berlin and Tokyo – Orange’s city slickers

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Berlin and Tokyo might sound like the names of cities to you, but to Orange they clearly sound like suitable names for mobile phones.

Berlin and Tokyo are the first two handsets to appear in what could end up being quite a range for Orange. After all, there are plenty of cities in the world to choose from, and no shortage of different designs and specifications for mobiles.

Hold on, though. What’s Orange doing branding its own mobiles rather than going with phones from the likes of any one of the names we cover regularly here at KYM?

It is a tricky business, branding your own mobile. We’ve seen O2 do it in the past with the likes of the Cocoon and the Ice, so it is not an unprecedented move. But if a network operator is going to avoid looking like a bit of an idiot it has to be pretty careful that it gets things right. There a little ‘tut tut, stick to what you are good at’ comment just waiting to be made if operator-branded mobiles don’t cut the mustard.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at Berlin and Tokyo, both available on Pay As You Go from the aforementioned operator, and consider their mustard-cutting potential.

Berlin is the less expensive, better specified and less pretty of the two handsets. Yes, we know those statements sound odd together, but there it is.

Berlin is a 3G handset with FM radio and a 2-megapixel camera among its features. It has 80Mb of built-in memory and support for microSD cards if you want to add more. It’ll synchronise Outlook with your PC and comes with the software and cable you need to do the job.

This is a neat little black number, with a rubberised casing that feels comfortable in the hand. It is a slider. It sports Orange’s nifty little menu-based Home screen, though there’s also a Menu key that’ll take you out to a standard icon-based menu if you’d rather use that.

As far as mustard-cutting is concerned it isn’t going to win any prizes for features or design, but it does a reasonable job and ticks a fair range of features boxes. Berlin will set you back £49.99 (currently down from £59.99).

Tokyo is a dual-band handset with a mere 1.3 megapixels to its camera. It has just 0.7MB of built-in memory, but comes with a 512MB microSD card. It does mobile email, but Orange is cheeky to mention the fact, really, because the screen is so tiny that it is hard to read much beyond the odd incoming SMS message.

In fact, the key selling point of Tokyo is its tiny size. At 68g and just 92x35x14.5mm it is weeny. It is no problem to stash in a pocket, and the designers have come up with a number pad which, while small, is relatively easy to use thanks to its individually designed and very well marked keys.

The overall look of this mobile is great. The silver metal and black casing is stylish, and we just wanted to cradle it in our hands and stroke it for the longest time.

But back to that screen for a moment. It measures 1.3 inches corner to corner and delivers 128×160 pixels. That’s eye-squinty-wateringly small. In the end, the small screen weighs against this mobile, though probably not as much as the similarly eye-watering list price of £159.99; fortunately Orange has reduced this to a palatable £79.99.

Mustard cutting? If looks are what matter to you the Tokyo has them in spades. But on the features side we find it a little blunt even for the runniest of mustards.

Find out more about Orange’s Tokyo and Berlin PAYG phones

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