- TDMA tri-mode technology
- Protective flip keypad cover
- Intuitive menus and call management features
- Built-in vibrating call alert
- Up to 4 hours digital talk time and 80 hours digital standby time; includes NiMH battery, rapid charger, and belt clip
The Ericsson Go Everywhere T18LX phone may not represent the pinnacle of wireless technology, but it's a substantial, relatively lightweight phone that is packed with personalized call management options. If you simply can't live without wireless Internet access, you will want to look elsewhere. But if you are looking for an otherwise versatile, feature-rich phone that can act as an extension of your office, read on.
The T18LX is a TDMA tri-mode phone that offers both dual-mode and dual-band capabilities. We were immediately impressed with its solid construction, flip keypad cover, and efficient design. Weighing in at 5.4 ounces (including battery), the T18LX measures 4.2 by 1.9 by 0.9 inches, not counting a stubby antenna that extends another 1.2 inches. This moderate-weight, ultracompact design makes the T18LX easy to carry. Its solid construction should also hold up well to a variety of daily traumas.
The uncluttered keypad features yes/no buttons, which, along with the up/down arrows, allow for seamless menu navigation. The CLR button corrects mistakes and brings you back to the main screen when you are done cruising the menus. The flip keypad cover, side volume keys, and backlight and contrast controls add to the T18LX's well-planned design and ease of use. However, the screen itself is tiny--we mean, really tiny. While it's fine for making calls and even receiving short text messages, any complex text entry or navigation would be unpleasant. Perhaps, then, Ericsson did us all a favor by not equipping the T18LX with a minibrowser.
The 250-name phone book has 10 group lists, including three customized lists. The 25 different ringers are standard. You can also assign a ringer to any group, so you'll know right away if someone from work, school, or one of your friends is trying to get in touch with you.
As any good cellular phone should, the T18LX supports carrier-dependent services such as short text messaging (15 message capacity), caller ID, and voice mail. The "1" key provides one-touch access to your voice mail, and the phone allows for one- touch callback to numbers imbedded in text messages or pages. Standard 40-number call logs, both incoming and outgoing, are a useful reference, while the two calling-card slots will prove valuable to anyone who makes a lot of long- distance calls. Other features that will please mobile professionals and other busy people are auto area, which lets you program a default area code, speed dial, one- or two-digit calling that corresponds to the positions of your phone book entries, and super dial, one-touch access to your first nine phone book entries. Auto retry, when enabled, repeats a call every 15 seconds for three minutes if the cellular system could not connect the call. Throw in any-key answering, muting capabilities, scads of standard customizable tones and alerts, and built-in vibrating call alert, and the T18LX can do battle with just about any rival.
While the T18LX doesn't incorporate any truly unusual features, digging into the phone's options reveals some clever user preferences to play with. The profiles menu lets you customize phone settings for nine different environments, so the phone will ring quietly at work, or loudly at the airport. And, if your carrier supports it, system select lets you prioritize and select the systems from which you can obtain service. This can be especially handy while roaming or if you have access to more than one mobile system. Normally while roaming, the T18LX first looks for service on a public network, then private, and finally residential. However, system select lets you change the priority of the system for which your phone searches.
The T18LX offers the usual security settings, including PowerOn lock, keypad lock, and lock dial, which limits outgoing calls to your specifications. SecurityCode, which lets you restrict access to calling-card numbers and other functions, and erase all, which wipes out all your saved text messages, offer additional peace of mind. You can also restrict access to phone book entries, although you can't erase the phone book memory in one fell swoop. The T18LX also supports digital voice encryption, to ensure that only you and the person you're talking to can hear the conversation. This feature is carrier-dependent as well, so check with your service provider to make sure it is supported.
The T18LX doesn't feature a minibrowser, which may cause some to lose interest. However, you can use the phone as a wireless modem with your PC or PDA to swap phone book information, as well as send or receive data faxes, upload or download files, and make Internet calls on the mobile network. Your carrier and plan must support these features, but if they do, all you need to do is spend some time with the user's manual and you'll be ready to use your phone as an extension of your office.
The T18LX's NiMH battery is rated to last for a maximum of four hours digital talk time and 80 hours digital standby time. In our testing, the phone held a call for 3.5 hours, and ran for an impressive 95.75 hours in standby. The audible low-battery alarm was loud enough for us to hear when the phone was about to die, and the included rapid charger brought the T18LX back to full power in just over one hour.
With its ultracompact design, highly customizable call management features, and vibrating call alert, the Ericsson T18LX is well suited for frequent travelers and those who need to manage a lot of names and numbers. If you don't need advanced features like voice-activated dialing or Internet access, it's a solid choice. --Thom Arno, edited by Tom Mace
- Efficient design and navigation
- Highly personalized call management options
- Built-in vibrating call alert
- Tiny screen
- Not Web-enabled
How We Tested Battery Talk/Standby Time
When reading our reviews, you should view the test results of mobile-phone battery talk time and standby time as relative information only. Many variables, including carrier signal strength at your location, signal consistency (including incoming and outgoing calls), display and ringer settings, and battery charging methods and history, will affect performance. When handset manufacturers and mobile phone carriers list talk-time and standby-time ratings, they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Some quote expected battery life ranges, and in this case you're probably safe to assume you'll experience at least the minimum rated range. Note that manufacturers of dual-mode digital and analog handsets publish battery-life rates for both digital and analog modes, as analog mode consumes much more power than digital mode.
Our Tests: We tested digital-mode talk and standby times with each phone. Prior to each test, we fully charged the phone's battery according to the manufacturer's directions. To test digital-phone talk time, we turned the phone on, established a digital carrier signal, dialed a number in our test lab, and, when the call rang through, took the receiving phone's handset off the hook. When all went well, we didn't do anything else except record the time when the phone died. In a couple of cases, the phones lost the signal and dropped the calls. If we were right there and could redial, we did so immediately and continued running the test. Otherwise, we halted the test, recharged the battery, and started the test over. Assuming consistent carrier-signal strength, this test should represent best-case talk time. And it's worth noting that several phones' talk-time performance significantly exceeded the manufacturers' ratings.
To test digital-phone standby time, we turned the phone on, established a carrier signal, and left the phone in standby mode. We checked the phone every few hours (for what was often days on end) until the phone finally cut out. Since no outgoing or incoming calls occurred during testing and because the phone was not moved, this method should represent best-case standby time, again assuming consistent carrier signal strength.