Sagem my400v review: Sagem my400v

The Good Stylish slimline chrome appearance. VGA camera with video function.

The Bad Poor menu navigation. Unreliable battery time. Chrome face lacks durability.

The Bottom Line Sagem's my400V is a slimline phone that has attempted to combine style with just a few extra features. While it is flashy from a distance, its frustrating interface and lack of durability leaves us wanting more.

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4.2 Overall

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The Sagem my400v's best features are its snappy slimline design and modern appearance. Its gloss and glamour and has a certain "je ne sais quois" coming with a standard chrome face and sleek lines. It measures 105 x 46 x 14mm with an adequate screen size. Unfortunately the soft plastic face lacks durability; keeping your phone in mint condition means either regular face replacements or using a phone sock/protector because it is easily scuffed. This is a real issue when the design seems to be the phone's most alluring feature.

The screen is decent with 65K colours (128 x 160 pixels) but lacks definition and struggles in sunlight. The chrome modern look comes with a reasonably sized numerical keypad and backlit buttons for easy navigation. Below the screen, four shortcut keys surround a circular navigation pad and selection key.

The number keys are relatively difficult to press as all are set level with the phone and the corner keys are at times unresponsive. This is particularly frustrating for the text obsessed and you can kiss easy smiley faces goodbye.

The menu navigator at the base of the display is also a little tricky to get used to with the four-way directional pad flush with the flat select button in the centre. This leads to all kinds of annoying message aborts and accidental selecting. Same is true of the position of the Vodaphone live! access button (see features below) right above the power button. This position combined with the fact that the button occasionally acts as the back button means that the phone is forever dropping what its doing to try to connect to Vodafone's services page.

All that said, once the dialing is done, the Sagem my400v is a comfortable phone to hold -- the ergonomics are something the French phone maker got right. While its comfortable in your hand, it's also small enough to sit in a jeans pocket or handbag with no chunky antennas or odd angles. With its light weight of 85 grams you hardly know it's there.

The my400v has a VGA camera with four zoom settings and a short video function. This works well for the most part and comes complete with a timer function for self-portraits and a few photo effects such as Black & White and Sepia. Photos can be attached to caller IDs or compiled into screensavers.

The camera turns out a relatively good quality picture that should be downloaded to a PC through USB as the phone's display does not do them justice. Similarly, the videos we took on the my400v tended to be of poor quality when viewed on the phone's screen, and only marginally better on a PC monitor.

Infrared connectivity is built-in, which is of some use in data transfer but not as convenient or as fast as Bluetooth. USB makes the phone far more useful from a multimedia perspective but unfortunately a cable isn't included in the box. Purchasing a cable separately allows you to upload wallpapers and ring tones from Sagem's mobile content Web site.

The my400v supports the Vodafone live!, which gives you access to news, sport and weather through your phone as well as new sounds such as polyphonic ring tones. This could be considered somewhat of a sly feature as the phone itself comes with very few optional sounds or ring tones, so any customisation is going to come out of the user's pocket. A selection of basic games are available for download for a fee though playing them through the keypad takes some of the fun away.

The phone only sports basic features such as nine speed dialling slots, calendar, organiser, Java support and multimedia messaging. Of some interest is the currency converter where, assuming you know the exchange rates, the my400v will do the maths for you.

The Sagem my400v did not wow us with its performance under normal conditions. Sagem states the phone supports four hours of talk time and 350 hours of standby. While standby time was good lasting around six days, talk time varied between two and four hours in our tests.

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