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Playboy & Sharper Image HTC Touch Dual SE Xperia X1 Clarity  

The Clarity is one of a growing number of phones designed specifically for folks enjoying their retirement years.

The Clarity is a huge phone. It's great for a car or purse, but you'd need some very big pockets for it to fit comfortably in them. Of course this size is directly related to the massive keys and massive display. The keys are not only huge, but work well. This is as close as you're going to get to the wireline "grandma phone" you could dial with your fist.

The display is huge and generally easy to read. The company opted for a monochrome LCD with orange backlight for readability. In sunlight, this is the most legible type of display. (Excluding Mirasol, which is still a young technology.) However in lower-light situations, we think a good-quality color display would have actually been easier to read. Perhaps cost is the reason they opted to go monochrome.


There's a special emergency button on the back. Pressing and holding it for three seconds will send text messages to up to five emergency contacts, followed by automatically-dialed phone calls. For example, if your mother had this phone and pressed the button, you'd get a message saying your mother is in trouble and you're about to be connected, followed by your mother's phone calling so you could talk to her and ask what's wrong.

The Clarity has some thoughtful touches like an LED flashlight with dedicated button, plus dedicated buttons on the top for locking the keys and the alarm clock function. On the bottom is a bright alert light, so the hard-of-hearing can see when their phone is ringing.

The battery is a standard LiIon type, but the special battery compartment can also accommodate three AAA batteries in a pinch.

The user interface is unique. I found it confusing, but I'm so used to trying out the most advanced phones that I'm spoiled by modern phone menu systems. Anything else seems foreign. I had the same trouble figuring out Motorola's FONE F3. Any time a manufacturer truly goes back to square one and comes up with a dramatically simpler UI, it often ends up being easy for phone newbies to use, but more difficult for long-time phone users who are used to their phones working a certain way.

Unlike the end-to-end service offered by competitor Jitterbug, Clarity will be sold as an unlocked GSM phone.

Here is a video tour with the Clarity:

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