Sagem MyX-8

7 Sep 2005

Product: Mobile phone
Price: €449 SIM-free
French phone maker Sagem positions its latest handset as a high-end video phone, which suggests it must be 3G. In fact, it operates on the slower GPRS network and so might more accurately be described as a hi-tech multimedia phone with features ranging from picture messaging and 1.3 megapixel (MP) CCD camera to Mpeg video, MP3 player, Java games and Wap web browsing (though, alas,
no radio).

The handset has been created by up-and-coming French designer Ora Ito (yes, that’s him pictured on the phone’s display) and, while its white and silver metal casing is admittedly fetching, the MyX-8 is surprisingly big and heavy — a bit of a brick actually. This is both good and bad. Bad because it is a throwback to early mobiles that felt like a dead weight in your coat pocket; good because it leaves plenty of space for its roomy 2.2-inch TFT display, which really comes into its own with messaging and gaming, rendering graphics in stunning colour and reducing the need for scrolling down text messages.

The MyX-8 also scores well on overall useability. The control buttons are simple and intuitive and arranged around the nifty navigation stick in the middle. However, the silver alphanumeric keys, arranged in grid fashion below these, are tightly bunched and also highly reflective making it sometimes difficult to see which letter is on which key when texting — irritating.

Flip over the handset and you find the 1.3MP camera, which comes with built-in flash and x8 digital zoom. The zoom is a bit of a gimmick to be honest — grainy pictures just become more grainy. We also found it hard to capture a subject sharply unless it was stock still. If you want more than the 40MB onboard memory, you can add extra capacity via the mini-SD card slot at the base of the handset or offload images to your PC via USB data connection (cable not supplied). Bluetooth is also supported. To-do list, contact and calendar information can also be moved to your PC courtesy of the software CD supplied with the handset.

Multimedia functions will take their toll on any battery but even so we found the MyX-8 a bit of a battery buster, with frequent recharging required. One annoyance is the over-zealous sleep mode, which kicks in after 25 seconds of inactivity or less leaving a totally blank display — energy saving maybe but also patience sapping.

Despite this and other minor niggles, the MyX-8 has lots of pluses. And yes, it’s bulky but its appeal grows over time so although users may agree it’s a bit of a brick, it’ll be their brick.

The Sagem MyX-8 is €449 SIM-free including hands-free headset or €99 on contract with Meteor.

By Brian Skelly