Not every smartphone needs to have piles of RAM an inhumanly fast quad-core CPU and a comically large 1080p display. For some niches of the market those things are not only unnecessary, but potentially a huge negative. Fujitsu's Stylistic S01 is one of those phones that eschews high-end specs for practical features aimed at a particular segment of the market -- namely, your grandparents. The four-inch WVGA display and dual-core 1.4GHz Snapdragon would have been par for the course a year or two ago, now they're getting a bit dated. But that's ok, they're serve up the heavily skinned Ice Cream Sandwich here just fine.
The UI has large buttons and simplified widgets that are carefully crafted to be easy to manipulate for those with less dexterity in their digits. And, unlike most phones, a glancing touch wont be enough to accidentally launch the camera or maps. While an initial touch wil temporarily select an option, you'll have to actually press just a bit harder than you're accustomed to in order to confirm your selection. In addition to minimizing accidental app launches, it also gets a little bit closer to recreating the tactile sensation of dialing on a physical numeric pad.
Fujitsu Stylistic S01 hands-on: a smartphone even grandma can use
The handset itself is waterproof and has lovely soft-touch finish. While it's certainly not going to win any design awards, it's not offensive to our aesthetic sensibilities either. The slightly bulky body makes it much easier to grip and the large home button is quite easy to find. Interestingly, Fujitsu actually saw fit to put a dedicated camera button on the right side of the device, again, something we wish would be standard on any smartphone. The 8.1 megapixel rear shooter and 0.3-megapixel front-facing one are fine for quick snapshots and the occasional Skype session, but they obviously struggled with the artificial light and constant motion of the show-room floor. Our favorite feature, though, is the emergency buzzer. With the proper settings, a tab at the back of the device can set off an alarm and sent out text messages when pulled out, perfect for those who have fallen and can't get up. It's not quite as easy to active as the home button, but it should prevent accidental activation.
The one questionable design decision was the choice to put the charging port behind a plastic door at the top of the handset. The flap keeps the handset waterproof, but it's also quite difficult to pry open, and we can imagine many of the intended targets of the device struggling to get connected. (Update: Fujitsu just let us know that the device ships with a cradle that you simply slip the phone into for charging -- the covered micro USB port is a secondary option.) Unfortunately, we're no closer to knowing when the S01 will land on Orange or for how much.
Sean Cooper contributed to this report.