S302 not ideal for older users

Johannesburg, 18 Dec 2009
Read time 2min 30sec

The first difficulty that one encounters with the ZTE-G S302 is that no one believes that it's a phone. The green and red call and cancel buttons are, at first glance, the only indication that it's not just a calculator.

Vodacom was the first to release this phone, from Chinese company ZTE Corporation, and says that it's meant for older users or users with special needs. This is evident in the large buttons and font used for the keypad. The only problem is that where the large keypad makes it easier for a user with bad eyesight to punch in a phone number, the tiny space left for the screen cancels out this advantage when they try to read a message.

The S302 also has an emergency SOS button at the back. One can store up to four emergency numbers into the phone and when the SOS button is pressed it will send messages to the enlisted numbers, saying “Emergency, please call me!”

It will also sound off a loud alarm that could be helpful in alerting people in close vicinity of the emergency if the user is unable to call out or move on their own. But the wail is also so loud that if the first emergency is that the stove was left on, the second is likely to be a heart attack. I also have yet to discover how to turn off the sound without resorting to switching off the phone.

Other additional features include a torch light, SMS function, fm radio, keypad lock switch on the side of the phone, a birthday reminder and speed dial keys.

In this case the simplicity of the phone could actually hamper functionality. I had to do some guessing and 'trial and error' work before I figured out which was the menu button, how to select and how to cancel. There are no helpful text icons saying 'select' or 'back'. It takes only a few seconds to figure it out but again, for the audience it's aimed at this isn't ideal.

There are cheaper phones with better functionality available. Whether the large keypad and the SOS button (the two features that are essentiality different about the phone) are worth the step back in time (which is all it is otherwise), would depend on individual needs and abilities.

I say: Not practical for older users or users with special needs.
Plus: Large keypad, SOS button.
Minus: Not user-friendly.
Contact: Vodacom SA/ TechSmart.
Price: R399.


Weight: 79g
Display: 1.6 inch, monochrome, resolution 128h48 pixels
Sound: 16 tone polyphony
Battery: Li-Ion, 1000 mA/h
Dimensions: 103h49h14, 8mm
Support Communication standards: GSM 900/1800 or 850/1900 MHz

See also