Before I start this op, be under no illusions on my feelings about Sagem - Im less than impressed. Its nothing personal - I feel the same way about Marmite. Sagem make a wide variety of technological products - most telecommunications based, but the two things Ive encountered bearing the Sagem logo - a mobile phone and some French traffic lights, both functioned with the same level of woeful inadequacy as to make me doubt the efficiency of Sagem. A couple of years ago I bought a Sagem 920 mobile because I liked the colour. I know that is really sad but it was a really fantastic shade of iridescent green. However despite its cute look it was fiddly and difficult to use and kept breaking down so after that experience I swore nothing would ever tempt me to buy a Sagem mobile again. Last year however, I won a Sagem myX 5 in a bonus incentive at work. I cant say I was exactly over the moon about this, in fact I never even took it out of the box, but I just never got round to selling it or giving it away either. Then, a few weeks ago, my regular mobile was in for repair, so I got the Sagem out to use as a backup. I wasnt expecting much, but in the few years that have passed since my encounters with the 920 and French traffic lights it seems Sagem have finally got their act together. The myX 5 is a really great little phone. Just looking at the phone you can see the improvements over earlier models. As well as being compact with a square shape, it is light (92g) and it feels nice to hold. Where the keypad on previous Sagems was small, unclear and rather messy looking, this one has a clear layout, not unlike a Nokia. The buttons are large and well spaced out. But the obvious benefit is the screen. As well as being larger than an average screen, it is in full colour. You can download screensavers and icons to personalise it, or you can just use the ones provided - there is a choice of about 10 although I cant r
eally see why anyone would want to personalise their phone with a close up photo of a very green frog! (This is the bit where mobile geeks will want the specs but as I find that all a bit baffling Im not going to embarrass myself by spouting facts and figures I dont actually understand - the Sagem web site is a minefield of this sort of information for anyone who actually wants to know it!) The basic bit and all that most people will really need to know is the fact that the screen holds 8 lines of text and is in 256 colours. Using it is very easy too, unlike earlier models. If you have ever used a Nokia then you are laughing. The menu system is very similar. It is simple enough for a first time mobile user to fathom out very quickly, providing they arent too intimidated by all the functions. It is feature packed, theres no doubt about that, but someone wanting a phone just for making calls can use it just as easily. Sagem make a big selling point of the ability to individualise and personalise this phone. As well as choosing your own screen saver and icons you can also buy different covers for it and change them to match your outfit if you so chose (another idea 'borrowed' from Nokia.) The changeable covers are now much more widely availably than they were when the phone was launched last year although they are still quite expensive, retailing at between £10 and £20. Another feature of this phone is its ring tones, which are polyphonic (full chord to sound more like music than a tinny 'ring ring' sound.) The ring tones do sound good and the music ones are certainly an improvement on the ones you get on standard mobiles. Im not really interested in how a phone rings as long as it rings so I have to admit that I havent downloaded any ring tones from the internet, but in my book any tones that are slightly less offensive on the ear than the cacophony of noise I have to put up with on the train every night from mobile
phones has to be a good thing! I was particularly amused with some of the tones that come with the phone, my favourite being a very realistic cow mooing. Im not sure why you would want your phone to ring like a cow (unless it was to alert you of an incoming call your mother-in-law.) I got some very bemused looks in the street when my phone started to moo! Others include a dog barking and a cock crowing. I had quite a lot of fun just listening to all the sound effects (but then I am very easily amused.) The phone also has WAP, which was at one time hailed as the next big thing. It is like a mobile Internet, but it isnt very good. I dont know anybody who would buy a mobile just for it WAP facility, it is slow, can be expensive and very often the information it provides is fairly useless. Sagem obviously dont think the WAP facility is much of a selling point either, because it is mentioned almost as an afterthought in the description of the phone. Now I have my trusty Nokia back from repair, the Sagem will be relegated to my bit of fun phone - Ive put a bright pink cover on it and it has a silly ring tone. Of the two, I still prefer the Nokia but this Sagem is trying so hard to be a Nokia its hard not to like it too. I can see how this phone would especially appeal to teenagers because it can be made completely individual and it has all the features that would appeal - games, SMS text messaging and a colour screen. Its not unlike a mini games console in that respect. When I was in France it was all the rage (the French don?t seem to have a problem with Sagem like I do, they are quite happy with the standard of their traffic lights too I assume.) I like the fact that despite all its features it never loses sight of the fact it is a phone. It holds it charge well and is very reliable. This phone is not available on all networks and of course as new phones come onto the market, price and availability will vary. Mine i
s on the Virgin network on a Pay as You Talk option, but it is available on a contract through Orange and on Pay as You Talk through Orange and T-Mobile. Prices for Pay as You Talk are between £100 and £140 depending on which network you select. All in all, top marks to Sagem for trying. Now if you just want to put that same amount of effort into your traffic lights, French roads might actually be safe to venture out on...