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Brick by name: Massive mobile phone boasts epic standby time

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September 10, 2013

Binatone's Brick mobile phone (Photo: Gizmag)

Binatone's Brick mobile phone (Photo: Gizmag)

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In what is surely the mobile phone handset story of the day, UK electronics company Binatone has unveiled the aptly named Brick (strictly speaking, The Brick) mobile phone which boasts up to 3 months of standby time, 28 hours of talk time and an integrated flashlight, all wrapped up in an extremely compact form factor … for 1991.

Clearly Binatone's tongue is wedged firmly in its cheek (and hoping that prospective buyers will be poised to do the same) by offering a mobile phone design similar to 1992's Motorola International 3200, which just predates the first mass produced mobile handsets.

Specification, too, is straight out of the 1990s. This is a 2G GSM/GPRS handset complete with a 1.8-in TFT display with a (don't laugh) 128 x 160 resolution.

There are one or two slightly less ancient characteristics about the thing, though. Bluetooth is built in, so that the device can be used as a handset for an iPhone or Android smartphone should you too embarrassed to pull something so diminutive out of your pocket. There's also a Micro-USB port for connecting peripherals such as headsets and a Micro SD card slot for the playback of music in MP3, AAC, AMR or WAV formats which, alas, can be played out loud from the phone's speaker.

Oh, and you can play Snake on it.

As for its main selling point, the extensive 3-month standby time and 28-hour talk time, that depends on your opting for the Power addition with its 2,000-mAh battery. This version of the phone can be used to charge another mobile device via the Micro-USB connection. The regular Brick instead comes with a 1,000-mAh battery good for a month's standby and 14 hours of yak. A separate XXL Brick battery is said to extend standby time to 6 months.

The Brick is set to hit the UK market in early October, with the regular version priced at £50 and the Power edition at £80 (which translate to US$78 and $126 respectively). A similarly-styled Brick4Home home telephone, with a claimed range of up to 1 km from the base station, is planned for launch at the same time.

Stay tuned, though, on the off chance that some other mobile phone news does emerge today.

Product page: The Brick

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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18 Comments

LOL. In a year it'll be half the size.

Fairly Reasoner
10th September, 2013 @ 07:30 am PDT

Fairly Reasoner, perhaps in a year it will be even bigger? I remember earlier phones the size of a small hand bag. With the bigger size would be a longer battery life? (like standby for year and use it to charge / run tablet computers and laptops?).

I think it is cool since it is totally retro. It would be neat if one could tether it to a tablet computer or laptop computer.

I wonder will it will come to the USA?

BigWarpGuy
10th September, 2013 @ 11:31 am PDT

Not a bad idea really. I can think of many applications where a 3 month standby time would be useful. My phone last a couple days, maybe three on standby and so would be useless if I had to travel for any length of time. You could leave this thing in a bush fire shelter or "cabin by the lake" and know you can make that call if you need to even after a week or more without power. Plus it may just be trendy to use if the fashion for massive headphones is anything to go by.

Scion
10th September, 2013 @ 09:22 pm PDT

Hang on. 1000mAh? So it has 60% of the battery size of an iphone...and its eleven hundred times the size.

Why not give it 5000mAh and a years standby time. in the same chassis.

Tony Smale
10th September, 2013 @ 11:44 pm PDT

It's a great home phone alternative! One can have it as an emergency backup.

Avinash Venkata
11th September, 2013 @ 02:23 am PDT

Buying such a brick with its large battery is not the only solution to extended usage - get some spare batteries for your phone, charge them up and take them with you!

Something else I have done was to make a dummy battery with flying leads which I can insert into my phone - I then connect the leads to a higher capacity battery (of the correct voltage!). When I get some time I'll fit a jack socket to obviate the wires.

Sheldon Cooper
11th September, 2013 @ 02:27 am PDT

Fashion is all about being different and standing out from the crowd.

The crowd all have Iphones or Galaxys. In addition, the size of this thing plays into the hands of those who like to show off/stand out.

So how do they sell millions of them? Simple, bling it up to the nines, with gold, some diamonds and a designer name.

JPAR
11th September, 2013 @ 05:19 am PDT

It's not as if alternatives, and much more compact alternatives, exist. External battery packs, hand dynamos, solar back packs. This is something that answers a question nobody asked

Tom Phoghat Sobieski
11th September, 2013 @ 06:06 am PDT

I'm pretty certain they didn't have 1.8" TFT displays in the 90's!

ClubDoug
11th September, 2013 @ 06:23 am PDT

Ah, the 1990's. Where phones were big and hair was still bigger.

Rogan Rattray
11th September, 2013 @ 09:28 am PDT

I like the size but I want a competent smart phone as well just fill the extra space with batteries or an inertial generator.

Slowburn
11th September, 2013 @ 09:57 am PDT

@Sheldon Cooper has it right: replacement batteries for 21st century phones are ridiculously cheap, light weight and easy to recharge, including with solar chargers.

Rather than packing the brick you'll be better off adding pre-charged batteries and/or a solar charger.

Amicably,

Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler

moreover
11th September, 2013 @ 11:17 am PDT

I'd LOVE one - for when I take my motorbike into really out of the way places. No need to keep charging the thing every day.

Only snag - with all that (contemporary) space and (ulp!) antenna, they didn't mention a 100km-from-nearest-tower-but-still-gets-signal-capability... So why not, eh?

Ian Woodiwiss
11th September, 2013 @ 11:32 am PDT

Why not buy the rights to the case design for the original brick phone then pack it 90% full of battery and have a year standby or a week's worth of talk time?

Another 90's phone design I'd like to see come back is the Star TAC. Update it so the upper half is all touchscreen and the lower half a QWERTY thumb keyboard. Even better would be to make it so it can use original Star TAC NiMH batteries and new LiPo batteries, with the contacts in a different location.

Gregg Eshelman
11th September, 2013 @ 05:04 pm PDT

Better yet - for the size it should work as a satellite phone so it would have capacity everywhere. Try going hiking or camping and finding a signal for your mobile phone.

dsiple
12th September, 2013 @ 01:06 pm PDT

OR someone could buy a used smartphone plus multiple battery backups for the same money.

John Gochnauer
12th September, 2013 @ 02:48 pm PDT

A familiar sight in airports are the hordes of people looking for a plug to charge their phone/tablet. What the market could use is a phone that provides 2-3 days of hard use with one battery.

Bruce H. Anderson
13th September, 2013 @ 11:24 am PDT

Or you just get this nokia 105, smaller cheaper and it fits in your shirt pocket http://www.gizmag.com/nokia-105-mobile-phone-month-long-battery-life/26413/

supernova
14th September, 2013 @ 02:53 am PDT
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