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Review of the Firefly mobile phone for kids


Review by Michael Oryl on Thursday June 16, 2005.

cell phone reviews · cell phone news · michael oryl

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We first spoke of the Firefly mobile phone for kids back in February when Firefly Mobile, the company, first introduced the device. The Firefly is a device that has been designed from the ground up for kids aged 8 to 12. It lacks a lot of traditional mobile phone features, including a numeric keypad, in the name of cost control and safety. For more background on the Firefly, and its intended purposes, check out our original news story.

The Firefly's Design

Physically, the Firefly has to be one of the smallest and lightest phones available. Our review unit weighed a mere 58.5g (2.06oz) - including the SIM card. Few devices available anywhere can match that low weight. Physically, the Firefly measures up at 88mm x 44mm x 20mm (3.46" x 1.73" x .79"), making it smaller than a typically sized business card. Making a handset that small is not so much a huge engineering feat when you consider that the Firefly has only 5 buttons and a small display on its front. There are dedicated buttons for calling "Mom" and "Dad", a phonebook button, and the red and green call control buttons. On the left hand side of the Firefly you will find 3 more rubber buttons: two that control volume, and a dedicated "fireworks" button. The fireworks button activates a multi-color light show (see a video here) that runs for 30 seconds or so. It does nothing practical, but looks cool anyway. Lastly, you'll find a dedicated 911 button on the right hand side, the charger socket and hands free jack are on the bottom, next to a lanyard loop, and a cover release on the back of the phone.

The display that the Firefly uses is a small monochrome LCD unit that has multiple backlight colors. The colors can be assigned to particular callers, such as Mom or Dad, and are also part of the fireworks display. The Firefly's body is made of clear, blue plastic. This allows you to see some of the internal components of the device, such as the SIM card, and also let the light from a pair of internal LEDs shine through. Other color covers (green, pink, red, and clear) are available and are reasonably easy to swap out. Firefly Mobile also offers an optional glow-in-the-dark protective over-cover that is made of rubber. All kids love anything glow-in-the-dark.

Overall, the construction of the Firefly seems pretty solid. I do worry that perhaps the clear plastic covers might be susceptible to scratching and might crack during the normal abuse a 10 year old's phone is likely to suffer. That's just a hunch, though, as I have seen nothing that actually suggests there will be a problem.

 

About the author

Michael Oryl
Michael is the Philadelphia based owner and former editor-in-chief of MobileBurn.com. You can follow him on Twitter as @MichaelOryl

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