Uniden Modro 35 Review

The Modro 35 is a retro styled phone. Not a smartphone or a feature phone. A phone. Remember those? The Modro 35 certainly wants you to remember them.
It’s only just struck me writing this that I’ve never reviewed a phone before. Hundreds of smartphones, more than a few feature phones, but actual phones? Aren’t they a relic of a bygone age by now?
Uniden’s $79.95 Modro 35 certainly tries quite hard to evoke a retro feel with what at first glimpse appears to be a rotary phone dial on the front. I’m old enough to recall rotary dial phones, and while there’s a certain nostalgic glow about the whole period, the plain truth was that dialling with a rotary phone absolutely sucked. Yes, it was the style at the time, but for longer phone numbers it was pure torture, especially if your recipient’s phone number had lots of numbers over about three in it.

It only looks rotary. Also, with my pedant hat on, the numbers on a rotary phone were never arranged in that order.
It only looks rotary. Also, with my pedant hat on, the numbers on a rotary phone were never arranged in that order.

Thankfully it’s just designed for resemblance purposes, as while it’s arranged in a rotary fashion, they’re still just pushbuttons surrounding a small LCD display that shows current time and message status. The Modro 35 incorporates a digital answering machine with the choice of either preset or personally recorded messages. None of this is new technology, of course, but it’s kind of fun to see in such a retro styled phone.
Uniden sells the Modro line in two variants. There’s the $49.95 Modro 15, which goes the whole hog with a curly phone cord and the promise of phone operation in the case of a blackout, something that the cordless Modro 35, which is what I’ve reviewed cannot do. That’s probably going to appeal to the core market for straight cordless phones, which I think I’m safe in suggesting steers more towards the older segments of the population than the younger.
It’s available in a variety of colours, and has a definite eye catching look, although the downside there is that like many shiny plastic products, it attracts fingerprints and dust like nobody’s business.
Best to budget for a polishing cloth as well.
Best to budget for a polishing cloth as well.

The handset for the Modro 35 includes its own LCD display and buttons, making it more of a straight digital handset. In order to fit on the Modro 35, it’s rather long, however, and that can be something of a downside depending on the size of your head.
I don't have freakishly small hands or anything. The Modro 35 handset really is extremely long.
I don’t have freakishly small hands or anything. The Modro 35 handset really is extremely long.

If you’re particularly used to using a smartphone to make calls, having this rather long wand of a handset up to your head for extended periods of time feels distinctly odd. I used the Modro 35, as it happens, for my epically long Microsoft scam call recently, and can attest that the battery will last for quite lengthy conversations, but also that you’ll most definitely feel it if you’re holding it for a length of time. It does support a speakerphone option as well, which mitigates that issue somewhat.
Still, the core reason to buy a retro styled cordless phone such as the Modro 35 is undeniably because you like the style more than anything else. There’s growing evidence that a number of Australians are ditching landlines altogether for communications purposes, and if that’s you then clearly there’s little to see here. If a landline is still a primary form of communication for you, however, and you like the cute look of the Modro 35, it’s a solid, if not all that little phone.

Author: Alex

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

1 thought on “Uniden Modro 35 Review

  1. I picked up one of these just yesterday at a thrift store with a whole bunch of other items for a good (cheap) price. Your review pretty much sums it up. Its really just for the look of it. I’m wondering if the one I picked up succumbed to being discarded due to the handset battery no longer holding charge and probably not worth getting a replacement battery… Still in saying this I do wonder in more years to come will it become a bit of a collectable? I like it for that reason, so I may just keep it along side the real rotary phone that already is a collectable item.

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