Nice price, but does it have wings?

2011-03-31 00:00

Red Bull Mobile has launched in South Africa, piggybacking on the Cell C network and with some of the most competitive prices available in the market. It’s an attractive package, especially if the brand with its mix of high adrenaline sports and nightlife appeals to you. However, going with Red Bull Mobile means using Red Bull’s own smartphone devices. I was given the RBM HD to test and found it stood up favourably against some of the best Android devices on the market.

The RBM HD is manufactured by Chinese company Huawei on behalf of Red Bull Mobile. It runs Android 2.2, has a 5 megapixel camera, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and all the features you’d expect on a modern smartphone. It also has its own set of applications it packages with the device, including some games and tools for tracking sporting events. That’s part of the content stack exclusively available to Red Bull Mobile subscribers, further cornering off its niche in the market. There’s also exclusive access to the Red Bull Mobile portal, with photos, videos and other online content.

The phone itself is very similar to the HTC Desire in its look and feel and its screen offers surprisingly good quality. It’s multi-touch enabled and the Swype system for easy touchscreen typing is pre-installed on the device.

The only glitch with the phone I experienced was that the ringer volume keeps adjusting itself – very annoying. But that may be isolated to the device I was testing.

The Cell C network itself is like the little girl with the little curl – when it’s good it’s very, very good, but when it’s bad it’s horrid. There’s no signal at my home in Johannesburg so I couldn’t make calls or use data on the phone. But when in covered areas the network offers fantastic speeds and stable calls. However, coverage is definitely still an issue. But Cell C assures me it’s working hard on spreading its network.


VERDICT: A fantastic phone on a network that needs better coverage.

COMPLEXITY: Lots of pre-installed software make it quite friendly out of the box.

Price: R250/month.

ALSO CONSIDER: Samsung Galaxy S.