I’m quite a big fan of Sagem. The company’s mobiles don’t hit the headlines and they don’t have ‘wow’ factor high-end features. But generally they do a solid job for a solid price, and sometimes they really surprise.
For example, the last Sagem mobile I looked at, the my150X, could be had for as little as £10 and I reckoned it was a great mobile for anyone wanting a small handset for just making calls and a bit of texting.
This latest model, the tri-band my511X is a tad more upmarket, and it’ll cost you all of £50 SIM-free from Argos and Woolworths online, both with an Orange PAYG SIM. As I wrote, the Woolworths deal was the better one as this is a price reduction from £70 and includes a 512MB microSD card.
This isn’t, then, a real cheapo-cheapo phone and for that price, even on PAYG, you have the right to expect some reasonably good features. I’ll come to the features in a bit, but first, let’s consider those other all-important factors – look and feel, and usability.
Certainly what you get here is a phone that looks rather good. It is extremely small, light and thin candybar mobile measuring 107mm tall, 46mm wide and 11mm thick, and it weighs a very impressive 81g. These dimensions make it feel very comfortable in the hand and slipping it into a small pocket is no bother. The black and silver colour scheme doesn’t break any new ground, but it is nice enough to look at, and the shiny mirror-like front fascia while again nothing new is easy on the eye.
The 65 thousand colour screen is quite small measuring just 1.8 inches diagonally. It isn’t the sharpest or clearest I’ve ever seen, but it does a reasonably good job.
Beneath the screen are four silver shortcut buttons for Call, End and the soft menus. They are very small, but because they are raised they are easy to hit accurately. The navigation button is a simple ring with a separate select button lying in its centre. Like the shortcut buttons these controls are silver and raised from their surroundings.
The navigation button and select button are marked up for music playback control, with the central select button operating the pause/play functions. A side button starts the music player running when you are on the phone’s main screen, and a long press begins the playback of whatever track you stopped with last time. It is a pity that this button doesn’t function when you’re in an application on the phone, as it would be a great way to get to tunes at any time.