The Orange Vegas is certainly playing for different stakes than other high-rolling touchscreen models like the Apple iPhone, LG Arena, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Samsug Tocco Ultra Edition.

It's nowhere near as sophisticated as the best touchscreen models, and has a modest level of features. The nearest touchscreen competitor is probably the LG Cookie, which costs around the £100 mark on pre-pay, though there are plenty of conventional budget phones around at the £50 mark.

The Cookie offers a more sophisticated touchscreen experience, albeit still limited compared to the high-enders, but there isn't such a low-grade feel about the features or control system.

The bargain-basement price for this touchscreen-equipped mobile will undoubtedly attract some potential touchphone interest, as will its compact design.

Its sub-£50 pre-pay price tag, though should prepare you for the compromises that the handset makes to deliver touch control gadgetry on a shoestring.

Its operating system isn't particularly sophisticated for a touch-operated phone, and it isn't really used to expand the usability of the phone – something that has been placed firmly in the spotlight for touchscreen phones since the iPhone arrived.

We liked:

Getting your fingers on a touchscreen phone at this price is eyebrow-raising in itself, and the compact design and finish does give the Vegas some additional appeal.

The user interface does its jobs functionally – though if you prefer, the navigation pad and other manual keys can take care of most feature business without tapping.

Graphics are unexceptional but decently sorted to make menus accessible and controls usable – though there are times when the stylus is essential for accurate tapping.

We disliked:

The user interface though is limited, particularly with the screen being so petite for a touch device. We'd have preferred a more consistent use of haptic feedback throughout the menus too.

Texting is not as smoothly casual as on a regular phone, and accurate text-tapping can be tricky for the larger-fingered unless the stylus is used.

We were disappointed by the media features such as the low-grade imaging action and underwhelming music player performance. In addition, the low internal storage necessitates the purchase of a MicroSD card.

The lack of 3G limits the multimedia activities of the handset too and the browsing experience is limited. In essence, it's very much an entry-level apart from the touch interface.

Verdict

The limitations of the Orange Vegas should, however, be taken in context of the low-cost price-tag. It provides a taster of fashionable touch control, albeit in a very limited way, and has few pretensions in the additional features department.

Its interface is functional, but won't make you feel you're experiencing anything particularly novel or essential.

User interface aside, you could get more functionality for your cash in a conventional handset, but for any cash-conscious buyers considering the Orange Vegas, touch control – however limited – will be the deal-maker.

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