Wednesday, 23 January 2008

New Weaponry Review – Nokia 22-20 Gunphone

In a world in which mobile telephones come with built-in mp3 players, cameras and clothes irons, and when just about everything – from motorised wheelchairs to defibrillators – comes with a built-in phone, it was only a matter of time before the combination gun/cell phone was developed.

Designed by Nokia working in tandem with British Aerospace and with funding from the Disney Corporation, the 22-20 Gunphone was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. It will go on sale in the U.S. in the summer, with anticipated releases in Sierra Leone, Dubai, Wales and the Congo at the end of the year. The Imaginary Review managed to sneak a prototype out of the exhibition using a combination of guile, cunning and a knee to the groin. We’ve been testing it ever since, from morning to night, just to give you the lowdown on 2008’s next essential piece of kit.

On first appearance the 22-20 looks a little larger than most current cell phones, and its bulky look may put off some prospective buyers. In addition, the barrel of the gun sticks out of the top of the gadget, and could be mistaken on first glance for the type of aerial that mobile phones used to have in the 1990s. The extra space required by the ammunition does allow the phone to have a screen that is 25% larger than its rivals, however.

The phone’s specs are fairly average; certainly they are among the weakest for a phone in this price range. However, it should be noted that no other phones in this price range can shoot the face off someone who is stealing your hub caps. The 22-20 is Internet-ready, and can browse the Internet with some ease. Indeed, the larger screen helps in this regard.

But the main talking point is the .22 calibre gun that is built into the casing, fired by a small button next to the mouthpiece. From my own experimentation, it has a range of around thirty feet and can penetrate the windscreen of an oncoming Subaru. Aiming the weapon is not an easy process, however, as I find the sights can lose their accuracy after being bashed around in my coat pocket.

My major gripe with the Gunphone is its failure to deter criminals. Show a potential mugger your .48 Magnum and they’ll run a mile. Threaten someone with your cellphone and they’ll laugh at you, forcing you to blow their brains out in irrational fury. It is possible to download threatening mp3 voices warning the criminal to back off, but until it becomes common knowledge that this phone is a gun, no perp will take you seriously while you wave your phone at them.

Also, there needs to be a slightly more effective locking mechanism on the weapon. I let a friend borrow the 22-20 to make an emergency call, and they accidentally shot their chin off, forcing me to make another emergency call on their behalf. I imagine that some people may also forget to lock the gun mechanism after using it, put the phone in their pocket and end up literally shooting themselves in the foot.

All grips aside, this is a great gizmo that comes highly recommended for anyone who has to make a lot of calls in dangerous areas and who doesn’t have enough room in their pockets for both a gun and a phone. Anyone buying the 22-20 just for the phone or the gun, however, will be disappointed, as there are much better examples of each out there, albeit separately.

The Nokia 22-20 Gunphone will be released June 2008 in the US. Phone will come with hands free kit, battery charger and 100 bullets. Not for sale to minors. Nokia will not be held responsible for any injuries caused by the vibrate function.

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