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Telstra Essential Smart 2 review

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Quick verdict: The Telstra Essential Smart 2 is almost insanely cheap, and that's the point.

  • It's really cheap
  • Android Go onboard
  • Blue Tick capable
  • Removable battery
  • Did we mention it was cheap?
  • Everything else

5 inches

Display size

960 x 480px

16GB

Internal storage

5 MP

Rear camera

2,000 mAh

Battery size

Finder rated as Average vs similar phones

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Details

Display

Display Size
5 inches
Resolution
960 x 480px

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
5MP
Video recording
N/A
Front camera megapixels
2MP

Physical Dimensions

Dimensions
137.35mm x 67.5mm x 10.55mm
Weight
144g

Connectivity

NFC
No
Wi-Fi
802.11 b/g/n
Network category speed
N/A

Power, storage and battery

Processor
Quad Core
RAM
1GB
Operating system
Android 9
Internal storage
16GB
External storage support
Up to 256GB
Battery capacity
2,000mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Water resistance rating
N/A
Launch price (RRP)$0
Telstra Essential Smart 2

Telstra's own-brand phones have nearly always targeted the value section of the market. The Telstra Essential Smart 2 is no exception because this is a remarkably inexpensive handset.

Actually, I'll go one further than that. The only factor worth remarking on this particular phone is how cheap it is.

That might sound like a slam dunk on the poor Telstra Essential Smart 2, but it's not. This is a super-cheap phone, and it's only appropriate to view it in that context. If you're after a very low-cost phone for the absolute primary basics of smartphone operation, it would meet that remit, although not in any way that is particularly fun or appealing.


Design

Design

  • Cheap plastic build
  • 5-inch display is awful
  • Removable battery
Telstra Essential Smart 2

Camera

Camera

  • Single rear and front cameras are terrible
Telstra Essential Smart 2

Performance

Performance

  • Unisoc SC9832E with 1GB of RAM
  • Android 9 Go makes it work – just
Telstra Essential Smart 2

Battery life

Battery life

  • 2,000mAh battery is a poor performer
  • Removable battery
Telstra Essential Smart 2

Should you buy the Telstra Essential Smart 2?

  • Buy it if you're looking for an ultra-cheap phone.
  • Don't buy it if you want decent performance.
Finder score: 3.5
How we score our reviews

The Telstra Essential Smart 2 sells at a price that at one point would have seemed astonishing. Telstra retails it for $69, although I've seen it offered online for even less. To put that in some kind of context, this is a phone that costs basically the same as one month of Telstra's Medium Plan coverage at the time of writing or less if you can score a bargain.

That's a super important selling point because there's definitely a market for this kind of device. If you don't use a smartphone a lot, but want a basic level of app access as well as calling and messaging, then it will get the job done, although not in any kind of attractive way. It's going to be a decent match for the generally tech-phobic or clumsy because while it's not especially robust, you're also not risking a lot of money picking one up.

At the same time, you should put it in comparative context. Add a few months of phone access to the price and you're very close to some really exceptional budget phones like the Alcatel 3L 2020 or Nokia 2.3 for example. Those are phones that are miles better than the Telstra Essential Smart 2 in every way that counts, and if you're looking at the longer term and want a phone you use every day, they'd be a better bet.


Pricing and availability

Price

RRP: $69

Where to buy


Specifications

Display

Display Size
5 inches
Resolution
960 x 480px

Camera

Rear camera megapixels
5MP
Video recording
N/A
Front camera megapixels
2MP

Physical Dimensions

Dimensions
137.35mm x 67.5mm x 10.55mm
Weight
144g

Connectivity

NFC
No
Wi-Fi
802.11 b/g/n
Network category speed
N/A

Power, storage and battery

Processor
Quad Core
RAM
1GB
Operating system
Android 9
Internal storage
16GB
External storage support
Up to 256GB
Battery capacity
2,000mAh

Device features

Headphone jack
Yes
Water resistance rating
N/A

Images: Alex Kidman

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