Telstra Explorer (T165+) Review

Welcome to the 2010 Telstra Explorer T165+ mobile phone review.  The Telstra Explorer was released in mid-2010 specifically for the Telstra 3G network.  It is a rare style of phone and one we where strangely attracted to based on the design.  This is a modern mobile phone yet has a retractable antenna that doubles as a FM radio antenna as well.

The Explorer T165+ is a mix of modern electronics in a physical case which is clearly retro and for those to dedicated to live outdoors. As a bonus you can use it as a FM radio without needing to attach a wired headset.  It is not a Telstra T90 competitor since that phone has a ‘toughness’ rating.

However like most of the Telstra branded phones the quality of materials in particular plastics used on the phone feels cheap.  Even the rubber surround could be made of better stuff likewise the keypad.  However the screen looks good.  Overall it feels like half hearted effort to replace the last T165i model.

The network reception should be very good due to the design and it also has a external antenna plug which is very rare these days. We also do not know if the extendable antenna actually improves reception or whether it is a gimmick.  It also has a A-GPS receiver but no dedicated software which means you can only use Google Maps hence need a data plan to go with the phone.  Technically the Explorer has multiple 3G and GSM frequencies so it will work in most countries when traveling overseas.

The Explorer T165+ can do all the basics you need voice, video calls, text, picture messaging and emails. With the built in browser you can get mobile versions of Facebook, Myspace and so forth. However due to the small screen (although good image quality) and lack of a proper qwerty keypad you can’t do very much. You can also purchase apps from the pricey Telstra online store.

The Explorer 165+ is not currently available as a pre-paid package thus not cost effective.  Why? There are lots of better phones you can get for the same plan level.  Put it on pre-paid guys


All up the Telstra/ZTE Explorer T165+ is yet another typical phone for the brand.  Its selling point is network reception.  Apart from that there is nothing to commend it.  The older T165i is a better quality phone only lacking a few up to date features.


  • Telstra Explorer T165+
  • Network
    Quad-band GSM 850/900/1800 /1900 MHz
    Tri-band UMTS 850/1900/2100 MHz
    3G HSDPA 3.6
  • Design
    Touch screen
    115.4mm x 51.5mm x 15.5mm
    Weight 110 grams
  • Display/s
    2.4inch 240 x 320 pixel TFT
  • Camera
    3MP main camera
    2nd video call camera
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth V2
  • CPU
  • Memory
    130MB available to user
    Up to 4Gig MicroSD or Trans Flash cards
  • Ring tones
    MP3, MMF, MIDI, Vibration
  • Features
    CTM (Hearing impaired)
    External antenna plug
    JAVA MIDP 2.0
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Customizable backgrounds
    Picture Viewer
    Voice memos
    Calender and organizer
    400Hrs Standby
    240Mins Talk Time
    1300mAh Li-ion battery
  • Package contents
    XP/Vista Compatible PC suite
    Mac OSX Compatible software
    Personal hands free kit
    Travel charger
    USB cable
  • Price history
    Available on a monthly plan only.
    Less than $xxx AUS 2010 (Outright)