Ericsson GA628 Review: Announced in 1996 and made available to the public in 1997, the Ericsson GA628 mobile phone was the updated version of the GA 318. Although there were other models available at the time, these phones tended to appeal more to the business users, and this left the GA models to cater towards the growing leisure segment.
By 1996, choice of phones had opened up a little but was still fairly restrictive. Early Nokia models such as the Nokia 1610 were released in this year, but were quite big and cumbersome. The very famous Motorola StarTac models were also around by this point. These were much smaller, but at a price tag which was much greater.
The GA628 made some steps forward. It featured a similar removable front panel to the GA318 – the precursor to mobile phone fascias. These were available in several different colours, allowing users to personalise their phone to some degree. However it was in the weight department where the phone excelled: a slimmer design and changed battery brought the weight down to 160g – thus bringing the phone into the pocket-sized league.
This phone was popular, with affordability really starting to make it accessible. The successor to this phone was the Ericsson A1018s. Released in 1999 this phone offered few improvements aside from a larger screen but was available at a massively reduced cost, and was one of the first real budget phones.
Ericsson GA628 Review Pros:
- The phone was much more light than its previous model, and at 80g lighter the difference was really noticeable. The overall size of the phone was sufficient that it could be carried in a pocket rather comfortably.
- Changeable faceplates gave the phone a fun appeal. These were simply bits of plastic which snapped onto the handset and also had a matching aerial hoop. They required no tools to fit and were available cheaply, and in some cases bundled with the phone.
- The phone accepted the newer mini SIM card instead of the much older larger ones, allowing users a greater degree of flexibility when using different models.
- A variety of batteries were accepted in the handset to suit the user talktime.
Ericsson GA628 Review Cons:
- The phone featured much the same design as the GA318 in terms of dimensions, there was no change to the overall size of the handset. This came at a time when the trend was to make things smaller.
- Similarly there was no increase in the size of the screen, which was a tad small compared to some of the Nokia models coming out which featured the ability to display more lines.
- The standard battery came at a lower capacity and also a reduced talk-time relative to the capacity.
- This was still a relatively expensive model; even in these early days cheaper alternatives were available which had much the same features.
Current Pricing and Future Prospects:
Pretty much a classic handset, the phone is quite recognisable, although many older phones are hard to use as the batteries degrade. Price for the phones vary, with ones in their original packaging being particularly valuable.
Where can I get one?
Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.