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Almost everything you wanted to know about the zzzPhone

The zzzPhone: The first mass-consumer customisable mobile handset.

I can’t tell you how exciting it was, a few months ago, flicking through the zzzPhone order form and choosing the specification of my new handset. GPS or no? How much memory? Size of camera? Did you say 7 megapixel? Heh. It was brilliant.

I ended up just buying a standard handset at $149 (70 odd quid) just to begin with.

And it arrived. I had it shipped to my US address despite the fact that this version wasn’t meant to work in the States.

And what, ho, Brabantio? It’s arrived.

I got back to the hotel room, switched off everything and took a deep breath. Right, then. Let’s open it up.

First, let’s be clear: zzzPhone isn’t a fraud, it isn’t make believe. They’re a team of committed people and I’ve been talking with Jesse, their US representative, regularly. So if you’ve any questions about the device, go ahead and post them below and I’ll get answers pronto.

Thank you to the custom chappies who saw fit to rip open the package and resealing it with an elastic band:



And the box, let’s have a look at that:


There’s a bit too much of that spongey fat font for my liking. I’d like to see something a little bit more ‘branded’. Still.

Dual SIM? I forgot! And it’s got a touch screen. Forgot about that too. Replete with stylus, I might add. I won’t be using that myself.

And the specifications on the side? Let’s have a look:




And a closer look at the device picture:


Always time for a bit of an arty shot:


And now, let’s open the box!


Woosh. A manual! I wasn’t really expecting a manual — your average purchaser of a zzzPhone, I reckon, could probably get by without one. I suppose it’s a necessary addition.

Under the manual? Here’s the phone itself:




Yes those are chinesey looking characters — or are they Arabic? — on each of the keys. Interesting.

And two batteries:


Smart. They’re big mothers too.

Speaking of big — that’s the zzzPhone too. It’s a big device. It fits lightly in your hand, but it’s a little bigger than your average Nokia.



It’s actually Sony Ericsson P990 sized. That’ll be your camera there:


3.2 mega pixel, Carl Zeiss?


This zzzPhone would definitely double as a useful anti-mugger device too:


Here it is next to my Blackberry Curve:



I opened up the back. There’s the two sim card slots:


Plus a 256mb (supplied) SD card:


The stylus is bottom right…



It’s a non-standard (at least, to me, anyway) port. I was hoping for standard mini-USB so that I only need to continue to carry one lead. Slightly different with the zzzPhone:


You get a USB cable and charger in the box.

And I got this handy ‘cell phone flash light’ that you tape/glue to the back of your phone:


A wee gift!


The battery is a huge mother. I’m pleased you get two. Here it is pictured next to the Samsung BlackJack II battery:


Let’s switch it on, eh? I spoke to Jesse earlier wondering why the device was able to operate even when I’d taken the battery out. That really confused me. “It’s got a 20 minute integrated backup battery,” he replies, “Although the newer version we’re about to launch doesn’t,”. That’s a brilliant offering, a 20-min bit of extra juice to rely on, he goes on, “I was watching a movie on that little battery alone.”



I’m liking the idea of having two ‘call’ buttons to press — button 1 calls, I imagine, with your primary sim card and vice versa:


If the device itself is big, then so is the screen. Massive. Bright. Nice:


I set up the clock:


It’s running an operating system by the name of Nucleus (website). I haven’t come across that myself. The next version of the device (available soon) will work everywhere (including America) and it’ll be running Windows Mobile 6.0 (no word on 6.1 upgrade as yet).

It doesn’t, alas, work in the States yet so I’m getting SIM Access Error messages together with ‘activating’ messages. I’ll try it properly when I hit the UK later this week.


So. Well, it’s definitely real. For quite a while a lot of readers have been emailing and commenting on the site wondering when the device was going to arrive. You can go ahead and place orders now via for the next version of the device. I’ll see if I can get hold of one of those to look at shortly.

It’d be inappropriate to comment on the day to day usability of the device at this stage. I’ve not really had much of an opportunity to use the device as yet since it’s not US compatible. But I will definitely be giving it a run-through this week and I will report back.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

17 replies on “Almost everything you wanted to know about the zzzPhone”

Yay finally! Don’t think I will be placing my order for it just yet. It’s a shame you went for the bog standard one, would be nice to see how it operates with wifi/gps….

will be looking forward to seeing more screen shots of the os and hopefully a more rugged review!

Interesting. So who actually makes it? Which factory?

Can it multitask? How much RAM does it have? Does it YouTube?


How about asking Jesse why they feel it’s OK to rip off Nokia’s hands image for the device picture on the box? And why it looks so much like a 6500 Slider? I thought they were a serious company offering a unique customisable mobile phone, not a cheap Chinese company knocking out copies of Nokia handsets.

Ric’s last blog post..Spamalot

Hand on heart I haven’t actually clicked on ANY of your ZzzPhone stories as yet as I thought that that was what you had started calling the more than less exciting iPhone stories…

Device looks alright!

James Whatley’s last blog post..CTIA Sneak Peak!

The handset looks very Nokia 6500 classic-ish with a SE K800 earpiece! I notice on their website they are now displaying a different basic model (which I don’t think looks as good)…

Ewan when you get this back to the UK will you see how it works on your BLYK sim? Looks quite a cheap/ good deal I am looking forward to the review. 80 quid seems a bargain!

Nice, what can I say. It may do this, it may do that, but…perhaps it’s too much alike the Nokia 6500 Slide (no “r” there, guys!). And the Carl Zeiss thing is doubtful. I thought they had an exclusive deal with Nokia. It may work wonderfully, but it still looks like a Chinese ripoff. A good one, nonetheless, but…the back plate with all those “Dual GSm, Bluetooth” and whatnot signs…gave it away. It is however interesting that someone is actually pushing such a device to anywhere outside of China.

Vlad’s last blog post..Any chance you missed this? (1)

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