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Hidden in the free upgrade list on Vodafone's product portfolio is a shiny, attractive clamshell phone that goes by the name of the Sagem my850V Crystal. Sagem's history as an entry-level handset manufacturer might be the reason why Vodafone isn't shouting about this one from the rooftops, but it's actually got surprisingly good features, and it looks pretty nifty too.
Similar to the Motorola Motorazr Maxx V6 and LG KG810, the my850V Crystal features a reflective, glossy front section that hides a small colour screen and touch-sensitive music keys. Even though this shiny plastic cover attracts fingerprints, it looks good when it's clean.
The back of the handset has a satisfying rubbery finish to it and is very minimalist. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for the inside of the my850V. We were definitely disappointed that the slick looks on the outside aren't mirrored on the inside.
The clunky-looking inside of the my850V doesn't do the outer section any justice, but it is functional. The screen is bright and readable, and the keypad is large and easy to press. If you hate small, fiddly keypads, the my850V's keypad could be an option.
Due to Sagem's focus on entry-level kit, we were surprised to find some high-end features on the my850V. You can browse the Internet, make video calls, listen to music using a pair of stereo Bluetooth headphones and take pictures with the 2-megapixel camera.
The my850 also comes with an expandable microSD slot that can store up to 2GB of songs and pictures, among other things. Annoyingly, there isn't a USB port, so we had to use a card reader to transfer all our data.
Interface-wise, the my850V features the standard, eye-pleasing Vodafone icons and is quite straightforward to use. Texting is easy, as is searching through contacts. It's not a revolutionary interface but it does what it says on the tin, which is more than many handsets do.
A slightly gimmicky but useful feature, if you like listening to music on your phone, are the three touch-sensitive keys on the front of the handset that let you play and pause tracks, or fast-forward through them. We appreciated the ability to change tracks without opening the phone, but found the keys a little fiddly -- they didn't always recognise that we were pushing them.
Audio quality during calls wasn't great on our review model -- we could hear a very high-pitched sound in the background -- but we're not sure if that's the case on every my850V. Video calls weren't great either, as the video feed was quite stuttered, but that's reflective of most video-calling phones.
The 2-megapixel camera's picture quality was good, but not as sharp as some other camera phones, such as the Sony Ericsson K810i or Nokia N95. Unfortunately, the my850V has no LED light or flash, so taking good pictures in low light wasn't possible.
Battery life is quoted at 270 minutes of talk time and 300 hours of standby time. Using 3G it's quoted at 150 minutes of talk time. We found we had to recharge it after one day when we browsed the Web moderately and made a few video calls.
The Sagem my850V Crystal is an attractive phone -- definitely one of Sagem's most eye-catching handsets to date. Our only problem with it was that audio quality during calls isn't fantastic, which might well annoy some people.
If you like the Sagem my850V's styling but you want a different brand name glued to your ear, it's worth checking out the Sony Ericsson Z610i, Motorola Krzr K1 or LG KG810, which all feature glossy front sections.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide