Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lenovo A588T Android Flip Phone

I purchased a Lenovo A588T Android Flip Phone. This is a low cost Android smart phone, with a 4 inch touch screen. What makes it different to many others on the Australian market is a mechanical keypad hinged to the bottom. It looks large and a little odd, like two regular 4 inch smart phones joined end-to-end, but works well.

My phone is from from DX.com in Hong Kong and cost US$103, including delivery. I ordered it 4 October, it was shipped 10 October and arrived 6 November (I did not pay the extra for express delivery). The phone arrived in a small box with a earphone/microphone, USB/micro-USB cable and a very small USB mains charger (with US power pins).

There was a brief guide in English and a manual in Chinese. The diagrams in the Chinese manual were sufficient to see how to open the back of the phone to insert a SIM card.

The phone is dual SIM and a handy, unusual, feature is two different size SIM slots: one for an older style larger mini-SIM, the other for a newer smaller micro-SIM. You can use a micro-SIM card in the mini-SIM slot, using an adapter, but I happened to have an Australasian Vodafone mini-SIM card, put it in and the phone worked fine. The phone booted in English, not Chinese, and was easy to set up.

The phone is in black plastic with gold highlights. It has a 360 hinge between the mechanical keypad part and the 4 inch touch screen. It is reasonably easy to hold, if a bit big. The 4 inch touch screen is very easy to read and type on, but shows smudges from my ear (when used for calls). The phone keypad is very large and has a good mechanical "click"

You can use this phone for calls, with the flip open flat at 180 degrees (call quality is excellent). You can fold the screen further back 360 degrees over the keyboard, to just use the touch screen (it is easier to use than explain). Some marketing photos show the hinge at about 60 degrees with the phone tent-like, but it does not lock in that position (nor could I see any point in doing so). In practice the balance is such that the touch screen is usable in the 180 degree flip mode. Some of the android functions are reproduced on the top of the mechanical keyboard and there is a a cursor keypad. These keys are very handy to use.

The Lenovo logo on the front of the phone lights to indicate charging. The phone has a relatively large battery, with a standby time of more than a week (I am not sure I believe the official specification claiming more than a month).

While being big and a bit clunky, the phone fits my pocket and my needs. I wanted something good for making phone calls, with a protected screen of the smallest practical smart-phone size (4 inches) and dual SIMs.

There are some quirks with the phone. While there are the usual letters on the numeric keypad these do not function for typing SMS messages (you have to use the QWERTY keypad on the touch screen). The marketing material refers to the "leather-like texture" of the back of the case, but it is just hard plastic with a pattern embossed on.

One change I would suggest for the phone would be to round the corners, so it does not look so big, slides into a pocket more easily and sits in the hand more comfortably. Another change would be to make both SIM slots mini size (micro cards could still be used with an adapter). Apart from that there is little to improve. There are a small number of other Android flip phones from Korean and Chinese companies. These have multiple and higher resolution screens, but this increases the cost, power consumption and fragility of the phones. The Lenovo A588T provides a  low cost, usable unit.

TypeBrand New
Power AdapterUS Plug
Housing Case MaterialPlastic
Released Time2014
Network Type2G , 3G
Band DetailsTD-SCDMA 1880-1920/2010-2025 GSM 900/1800/1900MHz
Data TransferGPRS
Network ConversationOne-Party Conversation Only
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b,g,n
SIM Card TypeStandard
SIM Card Quantity2
Network StandbyDual Network Standby
Infrared PortNo
Bluetooth VersionV4.0
Operating SystemAndroid 4.4.2
CPU ProcessorMT6582 1G-1.2GHz
CPU Core QuantityQuad-Core
LanguageEnglish, Afrikaans, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malay, Bosnian, Catalan, Cestina, Dansk, Deutsche, Eesti, Espanol, Filipino, French, Hrvatski, IsiZulu, Italiano, Khmer, Kiswahili, Latviesu, Lietuviu, Macedonian, Magyar, Nederlands, Norsk, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Rumantsch, Slovenian, Slovenscina, Suomi, Svenska, Vietnamese, Turkish, Urdu, Greek, Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Ukranian, Arabic, Persian, Hindi, Thai, Bengali, Korean, Japanese, Simplified/Traditional Chinese
Available Memoryabout 2GB
Memory CardMicroSD(TF)
Max. Expansion Supported32GB
Touch ScreenCapacitive Screen
Screen Resolution800*480
Screen Size ( inches)4.0
Camera Pixel5.0 MP
Touch FocusYes
Talk Time27Hour
Standby Time760Hour
Battery Capacity2250mAh
Battery TypeReplacement
Other Features
featuresWi-Fi , GPS , FM , Bluetooth
Waterproof LevelIPX0 (Not Protected)
Dust-proof LevelNO
I/O InterfaceMicro USB , 3.5mm
USBmicroUSB v2.0
Format Supported3GP, MPEG4, H.264, MP3, AAC, MIDI, WAV, AMR
TV TunerNo
Radio TunerFM
Wireless ChargingNo
Dimensions & Weight
Dimensions 4.75 in x 2.46 in x 0.66 in (12.06 cm x 6.25 cm x 1.68 cm)
Weight 6.29 oz (178.4 g)
Packing List
1 x Phone
1 x Travel Charger(100~240V /2-flat-pin plug)
1 x Battery(2250mAh)
1 x Earphone (90cm-cable / 3.5mm plug)
1 x Data cable (90cm)
1 x English user manual
1 x Warranty card

 ps: At the moment I am a student of mobile learning: that is learning how to design courses delivered using smart phones and tablet computers. I did not own a smart phone or  tablet computer when I enrolled in the course (just a laptop with a wireless modem). So I purchased a 7 inch Google Android Tablet (XO Tablet) and the smart phone. Learning to use these devices has been an education in itself, even before seeing how to use them for teaching.

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