Sagem my511x review: Sagem my511x

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The front face is covered in a smudge-prone layer of plastic. As with the my411x, reflections from fluorescent lights were visible on the display and its surrounding frame, as well as on the keypad.

About that keypad. It's bad. Really bad. Perhaps seeking to buck trends -- in this case, the trend of usability -- Sagem's designers have decided to submerge the buttons beneath a sheet of plastic. As a result, pressing the number keys is an operation akin to an archaeological dig: you know that there's something of value down there, but the stratified junk makes it quite the effort to get to. In other words, you'll need to press hard and with accuracy. Making matters even more taxing is the fact that there is no tactile separation between the keys, which gives you no physical guide for which one you're pressing.

Being a budget phone, the my511x has a predictably short list of features. A 1.3-megapixel camera joins a music player (MP3 and AAC), WAP browser and five games including Lego Star Wars. (Well there you go -- turns out our Star Wars comparison wasn't gratuitous after all.)

Also on the specs list is Bluetooth, which you will probably be using for file transfer given the lack of a USB cable.

It's not all bad news for the my511x. In contrast to the my411x, call quality was great -- no drop-outs, crackling or volume issues to speak of.

Where the my511x came unstuck was in the details. Text messaging, for example, ignited a simmering rage within us that threatened to boil over at any moment. Other than the aforementioned trapped keys, there were two big issues. First complaint: when typing in T9 mode, new sentences do not automatically begin with a capital letter. Fast and furious texters with a healthy disdain for the rules of English grammar will be unfazed by this glaring omission, but to our Strunk-and-White-reading selves, the quirk borders on traumatic. Second complaint: if you're composing a message and decide to exit mid-way -- perhaps you're chickening out of an amorous text -- there is no option to quit without saving. You must either save your unfinished text or stay in the message composition window. A small thing, perhaps, but irritating all the same.

At an RRP of AU$149, we weren't exactly expecting stellar things from the my511x, but with better buttons it could have been a decent bargain model. As for that "object of desire" claim? Well, if your desires include developing calluses on your fingertips, then sure. Otherwise give the my511x and its subterranean buttons a miss.

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