Hands On The $4 Freedom 251 Smartphone

We finally managed to catch hold of the Ringing Bells Freedom 251 phone that will be delivered to 5000 consumers from 8 July onwards. The phone was supposed to be priced at $4 (Rs 251), but now you’ll have to spend another 40 bucks (courier charges) to actually own it.

So what’s to like or dislike about a phone which costs less than a 2GB 4G data pack?

The final consumer ready Freedom 251 phone looks a lot more polished than the prototype which was shared with us few months back. As you can see, the present phone model doesn’t have any marker spots or abrasive finishing.

The prototype Freedom 251 (Right) and the final product (Left)

The back of the phone (thankfully) does not have the Indian flag. Instead, what you get is a textured finish which ensures that the phone doesn’t attract fingerprints. Having said that, the phone is a definite dust magnet.

Textured back finish on the Freedom 251 phone.

They have also replaced the physical Home button underneath the display with a soft touch button for navigation. We like the fact that the company has stayed true to its promise by managing to offer Android 5.1 Lollipop out-of-box.

Android 5.1 out-of-box on the Freedom 251.

The phone has a 4-inch qHD display and offers 960×540 pixels in resolution. To be fair, we found the quality lower than advertised, but then again for $4 we can hardly complain.

Pre-loaded apps is never a good thing.

The phone is equipped with 1GB RAM paired with a quad-core processor and 8GB of on-board storage. The number of pre-loaded apps on the phone could perhaps hamper the overall performance of the phone. And as expected, our brief interaction with the phone didn’t change our opinion on that front.

Soft buttons on the Freedom 251 phone.

With regards to the camera however, Ringing Bells has given us the clearest indication that they’ve cut costs on a phone that actually cost them $16. With a 3.2-megapixel camera at the back, and a 0.3-megapixel or VGA shooter in the front, there’s not much we need to emphasise, as far as its quality is concerned.

You’ll be able to use 2 SIMs on the phone, WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G for connectivity purposes.

3.2-MP camera at the back of Freedom 251 phone.

And finally, the phone has a 1450 mAh removable battery that should easily last you a day.

The removable battery on the Freedom 251 phone.

Freedom 251 is All About the Price

More than anything else, it’s fair to say that the obvious appeal about the phone is its price. There is nothing in the market right now with the aforementioned features available for anything close to what the Freedom 251 costs.

The company has highlighted its business model (which is still sketchy) to assure consumers that they’ve got something special up their sleeves.

Freedom 251 badge on the phone.

Sadly, the phone will be harder to get hold of than you would have imagined. Ringing Bells has decided to organise lucky draws to decide which of their registered customers will get the phone.

The company will be delivering only 5000 units right now. Customers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradhesh will be the first ones to receive the phone.