Another commentary by James Ormiston (@MacJim)
The order was placed for the Punkt MP02 mobile phone, and the UPS app installed on my iPad Pro to follow the progress of the package as it travelled from Umkirch, Germany. It moved onwards to Frankfurt where it sat over the New Year holidays before continuing the journey to Tamworth, Preston and Glasgow before it finally was shipped to a local collection point from where I collected it from. The unopened box then sat wantonly willing me to open her up but I held my resolve to do the phone justice – and to have a photo opportunity too – when the weekend arrived.
So a few days later with some trepidation and excitement, I opened the box to begin the unveiling of my new toy. Inside lay a black box that was well protected with paper to cushion it during the journey from Germany. It was reminiscent of the time when I had bought a Blackberry mobile phone, as the packaging was very much the same – black exterior and interior – with the only splash of colour provided by the minimalist instruction book.
The MP02 is a small basic mobile phone… solid in the hand and well made, and a comfortable size too. It really does look and feel like a mobile phone from the days of the Nokia phones, solid and relatively easy to use. The display is monochrome in normal use and very clear to read ( I understand it does display a colour when certain messages are displayed but I haven’t yet seen that) and the menu is okay too, but like any other device, it has its foibles with some features buried deep in the menu list. There are shortcuts in the menu but it’s a case of experimentation to find them as the instructions are a bit lacking for all the but the basic uses.
Charging is via a wall plug which has a fold out third pin, which reduces its size for transportation but you do not need the wall plug as the cable is of a USB-C variety allowing charging to be done via a computer, USB plug or an external battery… very useful (as long as you remember to take the USB-C cable with you). Also included in the box is a USB-C hands-free earphone.
The MP02 is the first device that I’ve come across that is Blackberry Secure… the idea of this is to ensure that during the manufacturing process, whether its hardware or software, the device is manufactured in a way that can’t be interfered with giving you the peace of mind that there hasn’t been any software or hardware installed that could be used to spy on you, or to steal your data. The question has to be asked how well this works especially when the product is manufactured in China but it at least provides a little peace of mind if you’re coming from an iPhone world.
Set up was, to put it mildly, a pain in the derrière… but most mobiles or tablets are the same (admittedly Apple devices are much easier if your going from one model to another where the data and setup is transferred from one device to the other easily) with only the contacts from the SIM being saved (Virgin Mobile help contacts). The instructions to transfer contacts to the MP02 is clear enough to follow but the process not at all simple, as you were left to figure out how to transfer contact details from your device of choice, to the MP02.
One way, was to connect via the USB-C cable with the phone plugged into the computer and transferring the contact list (saved as a .vcf file). The instructions said ‘used the file transfer app of your choice’ but this way proved unproductive and unreliable. The other option was via Bluetooth but again, proved to be totally frustrating, too the point where I gave up and left it for another day.
So, another attempt was made the next morning, where after a little experimentation, I discovered that if I connected the MP02 to my MacBook Pro via Bluetooth, I was able to select the .vcf file and send it to the MP02 that way, and that was successfully done… but, on checking I couldn’t find the ‘saved’ contacts on the MP02!
Now, remember I said the menu can be a little confusing, and the instructions too, reading the instructions and testing them on the phone, I finally managed to find the .vcf file on the phone: selecting it, it installed all contact details… phew! Now came the chance to use the MP02 in anger. A trip into Glasgow to recover from my day oot with my pals in Glasgow the day before… yes, a few beers were consumed but not to the point of being befuddled or hungover the next day. My iPad, and iPhone (now being used as an iPod), were connected to the MP02 to the Bluetooth list. Then came the linking to the phones WiFi to tether each device when out and about,
Every so often, the password is changed automatically – which is a good idea, but slightly frustrating too, and it connected okay… but, after a few minutes use I noticed that the web browser would not load up the page saying the server wasn’t available. Checking the settings, it appeared to be connected correctly but when I looked at the mobile settings, it said ‘Virgin Mobile not available’? But, the odd thing was it was connected as I tried calling my home number and that rang through so why wasn’t the data side not working correctly. Maybe it was a poor signal or it was something else that I couldn’t figure out. On returning home, I tried to connect again as described above but I still had the same issues and, even after a factory reset, I still couldn’t get the tethering to work and the same message about not being connected to Virgin Mobile displayed yet again so that made up my mind to return the MP02 for a full refund and keep using my iPhone 7 Plus for the time being.
Don’t be put off by my experiences as yours may be much better than mine as the MP02 is a very nice device, especially if you only want a mobile phone that does calls and text messages, in that situation, I can recommend it but for my use, I can’t recommend it.