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Sagem at MWC – fancy but powerless
Sagem, a French phone maker, wasn't one of the centerpieces at MWC with only a handful of new models on offer. While their place sported a lot of phones here and there, the bulk of them had long been available on the market and playing around with them didn’t exactly require the visitors to attend the event in Barcelona – local phone shops were almost just as good in this sense.
Despite the abundance of “dated” handsets at Sagem’s booth, some pretty interesting new offerings made it to the floor as well. The handset we would like to investigate first is the Sagem my721X, a tiny device measuring up at 106x52x12.6 mm and weighting 90 grams, employing the candy-bar type form-factor. Interestingly, part of its casing is made of plastic, while the other one enjoys metallic coating. The maker’s designers did a good job shaping this phone up and lent it a pretty appealing looks, while keeping the generic styling of Sagem-branded handsets. Another thing of note is the handset’s keypad that seems to be a conventional RAZR-esque single-slab unit at a glimpse; however its sizable separators put in between the buttons make the my721X worth a glance or two.
Unfortunately, Sagem has been cranking out phones with fancy design yet weak functionality of late. It is a pity that the my721X isn’t an exception – that is, it comes equipped with a 176x220-pixel TFT display that can show up to 262 K colors. While it packs in a 3.2 Mpix camera, it still lacks autofocus, so expect no summersaults from it. The phone comes with support for microSD memory cards that are hot-swappable on top of that (the slot is mounted on the right-hand spine behind a flap). As far as entertainment functionality goes, the my721X boasts an MP3-palyer along with RDS-enabled FM-radio, note that for music sessions you are bound to use the bundled headset that connects to the phone via a proprietary socket.
As the manufacturer claims, the handset offers up to 3 hours of talk time and 200 hours of standby, or 6 hours of music, which is not the best performance we’ve been, but it is still something.
Supposedly, the my721X will arrive already in April with a price tag of 200 Euro tacked onto it.
Apart from that, the maker also rolled out a modified version of the my850C – this iteration goes by the name of “my855C”. Being not the smallest phone around at 96.52x48.26x15.24 mm and 112 grams, it has its features packed into the folder-type form-factor and can tap in 3G networks, allowing the user to choose between GPRS, EDGE or HSDPA for data at that.
The my855C’s design is a mixed bag however – while it is not without a certain charm to it, the flip-open my855C it doesn’t make a strong impression. Nearly all buttons mounted on the surface are quite unsophisticated in style and placement. I, for one, find its interior extremely boring – there is absolutely nothing to write home about.
Functionality-wise, this phone is identical to the Sagem myMovieBox, barring 3G connectivity. The my855C shows off a large and bright inner TFT display with a resolution of 240x320 pixels, showing up to 262 K colors. It also deals with microSD memory cards and features three music-minded buttons on the top portion. Sadly, it comes only with a proprietary socket for headsets.
The follow up to the my511X, to be more specific, the my519X is another newsworthy offering, designed after its predecessor and boasting a glossy smooth decking. Curiously, it has no touch-sensitive keys onboard, contrary to what you might assume after having a glimpse of this phone – the thing is, the my519X’s mechanical buttons are hidden under a well-polished surface. Another noteworthy feature of the 519X is its sizable QVGA (240x320 pixels) display.
What’s interesting, the Sagem my511X was present at the booth as well, however it didn’t make much sense, for the my519X was also there.
The next phone to get into the spotlight is the relatively affordable and feature-packed candy-bar Sagem my411X along with its clamshell-styled counterpart, the my411C. Both house small cSTM-displays with a resolution of 128x160 pixels, capable of displaying up to 65 K colors. Other options on their spec sheets include microSD memory cards, Bluetooth connectivity, MP3, Java MIDP 2.0 and VGA camera.
Another newcomer we ran into was the Sagem my312X that picked up the line where the my301X left off. Interestingly, it takes design cues from the senior my700X, which was a pretty sought-after offering in its day. The fact is, such carryovers of designs aren’t rare occasions in the mobile phone market these days – why would they need to come up with an all-round new looks for some budget handset, when the shapes and curves of a popular model that is already off the production line are in their disposal? The only thing we didn’t like is three vertical bulgy stripes running across the rear – in my opinion they somewhat spoil the my312X’s looks, lending it a somewhat toyish feel.
As far as functionality goes, this phone is little different from the my301X. The 312X is already being offered in some regions for 120 Euro.
Also, we can’t overlook the entry-level clamshell Sagem my300C notable for its off-the-wall design of the front fascia. The handset comes armed with a 128x128-pixel cSTN display, showing up to 65 K colors, a VGA camera and support for Java MIDP 2.0.
On top of all that, the maker had some more devices and accessories in stock, specifically those co-designed with fashion houses (for instance, Lulu Castagnette).
The booth also had some room reserved for modifications of Sagem-branded offerings bearing logos of sporting events on them, like Roland Garros.
Or Oxbow (kitesurfing cup).
Regrettably, the successor to the famous my700X, the 3G-enabled Samsung my750X was showcased only behind thick glass. What we know about this handset is that it will come with a QVGA display and 3.2 Mpix camera, as well as a memory expansion slot for microSD cards.
Published 20 February 2008
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