The Konka U3 is a simple, no-frills flip phone that trades complex features for convenience and accessibility.
From its classic clamshell design to its large physical keypad, the Konka U3 provides an accessible and affordable alternative to the modern feature-packed smartphone.
Classic flip-phone design makes it easy to carry and use
SOS button is an invaluable feature for mitigating emergencies
The Konka U3 takes a lot of inspiration from phones of the early 2000s, and that's immediately apparent in its clamshell design. Hinged halves protect the main 2.4-inch screen and extra-large keypad from accidental contact when stored in your pocket or bag, and you don't even need to open the phone to answer or hang up a call – the top half features a smaller 1.77-inch screen for displaying caller information and the current time, plus there are physical call buttons on the face for managing incoming calls. Alternatively, you can configure the U3 to automatically answer as soon as you flip it open, saving you from fumbling with buttons and accidentally rejecting an important call.
Accessibility is core to the U3's design. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the back side of the phone's bottom half, where there's an SOS button for requesting assistance in the event of an emergency. Holding the SOS button down for three seconds will fire off an SMS to the numbers you've designated as emergency contacts (up to a maximum of five) and then proceed to call each one in turn. For folks with medical conditions or those who spend a lot of time in hazardous environments, this feature can be a literal live-saver.
While the Konka U3 is built for simplicity, it does pack a few extra features beyond its basic call and SMS functionality. A multimedia player allows you to listen to music and watch videos stored on the device, though you won't be able to load the U3 up with all that many files out of the box given its limited 128MB of internal storage. If you want to expand this, the U3 supports microSD cards of up to 32GB in size. Alternatively, the U3 includes an FM radio for tuning into your favourite station. Whichever form of entertainment you prefer, you have the choice of listening through the built-in speaker, by connecting wired headphones to the 3.5mm audio jack or by syncing a pair of wireless headphones over Bluetooth.
In keeping with its traditional design, the Konka U3 features only basic network connectivity. There's no Wi-Fi support, and mobile network compatibility is limited to 3G. This has minimal impact on calls or texts but does mean significantly slower speeds when using mobile data. Of course, while the U3 does include a barebones web browser, it's not intended for any sort of serious surfing. However, should you plan on tethering the U3 to another device over USB and sharing its Internet connection, those slower 3G speeds might be more of an issue.
Basic camera best suited for recording information you don't want to forget
A streamlined phone like the Konka U3 doesn't need a professional-quality camera or a vast suite of photography tools, but having the means to quickly take a snapshot of information you'll need later on or details you don't want to forget is always handy. The U3's basic 0.3MP camera serves just this purpose, allowing for the capture of both static photos and video at low but still usable quality.
Sufficiently powerful for handling its basic functionality
Speed and performance matter less in a phone like the U3 than your typical modern smartphone. Because it's intended primarily for making calls, texts and little else, it doesn't need the raw grunt of an iPhone or a Galaxy S handset. This is how the U3 gets away with only including 64MB and a low-power MediaTek MT6276A processor. So long as you don't expect cutting-edge responsiveness, this should be sufficient for handling your basic day-to-day phone needs.
900mAh battery is small, but should be suitable for infrequent use
At first blush, the 900mAh battery in the Konka U3 might seem rather scrawny compared to the 2,000mAh+ batteries you'll find in most modern smartphones. However, the comparison isn't quite apples to apples. Since the U3 only has to perform relatively simple tasks like fielding calls and powering a simplified operating system, it doesn't chew through battery at the same rate its more capable brethren tend to. Furthermore, the U3 is intended for light and infrequent use while spending most of its time in standby, allowing it to go further on a single charge than a phone under more regular use.
Pricing and availability
A classic phone that covers the basics
If you miss the days when phones were made for talking and little else, the Konka U3 could be the blast from the past you've been waiting for.
The Konka U3 is available from retailers like Catch, Big W and Target for around $80.
Matt Sayer is a writer for Finder, covering all things technology and telecommunications. Along with reporting on events like CES and Mobile World Congress, he has produced comprehensive guides for popular products like smart speakers and graphics cards. He has a Bachelor of Computer Science from RMIT University and is passionate about helping Aussies leverage technology to better their lives.
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