Mobile phone with no camera

If you are a Singaporean male who is serving National Service or going through reservist training, chances are you have had the problem of not able to bring mobile phone with camera into the military compound. In fact, certain work places with strict security measures also forbid the possession of mobile phone with camera device.

There are of course, the older generation phones which typically do not come with an attached camera. However, as much as these older phones are functional, they don’t come with many of the convenient features of a smartphone. Fortunately, phone markers have come up with several smart phones with no camera to cater to this niche market. In this article, we will talk about one such phone – the INO One phone.

Non-camera Smart Phone - INO OneCredit: INO Mobile

The Brand - INO Mobile

INO Mobile is a Singapore mobile phone maker incorporated since 2008. From its product lines, it is apparent that the company is targeting on several smart phone‘s niche markets. This includes a series of phones for the elderly which features a large font size; a smartphone with a very easy and simple interface for the less technological inclined and lastly INO one, the non-camera smart phone that we are discussing today.

Launch of INO One - Non-camera smart phone

INO One was officially launched in 2012 and was cleared by the Singapore’s Ministry of Defence in October 2012 as a certified non-camera phone that can be brought into military camp and bases in Singapore without an additional security sticker. Its relative inexpensive price of S$268 has won popularity among locals who have the need for such non-camera mobile devices. Prior to the launch of non-camera smartphones like the INO One, many have had to purchase a smartphone like the iPhone and pay an additional sum of money to remove the camera component from the phone.

My review of INO One – the non-camera Android smartphone

Price: S$268. The price is relatively inexpensive compared to other smartphones. For S$268, you also get an 8GB Micro SD card which can typically last quite long unless you have the need for heavy storage in your smartphone.

Color: Only two colors are available for the INO One model, namely the “classy black” or the “stylish white”.

Size and weight: At 150g and the size of 12.4cm (length) x 6.4cm (width) x 1.1cm (thickness), the INO One is slightly heavier and larger than an iPhone. If you intend to get a phone cover (which you should) to protect against scratches and dirt, the phone will get even bulkier. Having said this, I generally face no problem in bringing my INO One around.

Battery life: The INO One phone needs to be recharged daily. From experience, the phone depletes 75% of its battery life in around 16 hours through a day of normal usage (less than an hour of talk time and texting with the rest of time on standby mode). Battery time can be increased by removing the Micro SD card, using only one SIM card, and switching off Bluetooth, WIFI, or 3G functions when not required.

If you are an excessive app user, you will probably need to recharge the phone more often. For myself, I bought an extra INO One phone battery just in case my INO one phone battery runs out in the middle of the day. Alternatively, you can get yourself a battery charger and bring it along to your office if your company permits it.

Active Dual Sim: The INO One phone features a dual SIM card capabilities which means you can insert up to 2 SIM cards at any one time into your phone. You can then configure which SIM card you want to use for the various phone functions.

The current 3G mobile plan offered by SingTel has a limitation of 2GB for its data usage with additional data chargeable by the company. Since the INO One allows you to have two SIM cards, you can actually bypass this limit with a broadband mobile SIM that typically comes free with a SingTel home broadband plan. I personally use this combination of a regular non-3G mobile SIM and a mobile broadband SIM and this gives me unlimited data usage as well as saves me a few bucks with the cheaper mobile plan.

Warranty: The INO One phone comes with a 1 year local warranty and repair service. There is only one service center and it is located as 1 Sims Lane, Singapore near Aljunied MRT station.

When I first bought my INO One phone, there was some problem with the WIFI capability and I made a trip down to the service centre.  The queue there was pretty long because it was a small service center with only a few staff. However, the staff was friendly and they quickly replaced my faulty phone.

Other than the initial fault with the WIFI, I have not experienced any other major problem that hinders the functionality of the phone. There is however, one minor bug that occurs occasionally whereby a white screen is displayed instead of the phone interface when the phone is unlocked from idle mode. The bug can be easily bypassed by turning the screen off and on again. Kind of annoying when it happens but it’s no big deal.

 Accessories: There are several accessories available for separate purchase at S$10 each.

  • Battery: This is a must-have due to the short battery life. If you are a heavy-app user, watch a lot of videos or listen to music, you might want to consider getting more than one battery.
  • Phone cover: This is a generally good-to-have to minimise your phone exposure to dust and scratches. If you don’t mind waiting a few weeks for shipping, these phone covers can be gotten cheaper online at TaoBao or Aliexpress.
  • Chargers: The INO one phone comes together with a charger that connects to a detachable USB cable. I recommend getting a spare one to bring to work if your company permits the usage of chargers. Otherwise, a spare battery is your best option.

Summary of INO One review

The INO One phone is an inexpensive and functional non-camera smartphone that does not require a security sticker. It’s good enough if you need a non-camera smartphone to bring to work or camp but without a spare battery or regular charging, it’s definitely not suitable for heavy usage. There are also a few bugs but nothing that would break the phone.