CNET First Look
Sagem Puma PhoneWe'd change a few things about the Puma Phone, but it delivers a fun user experience that no phone can match. Just make sure your area has the proper coverage and enough sun.
-Hi, I'm Kent German, Senior Editor for CNET.com. Today, we'll take a first look at the Puma Phone. Now, this is an interesting device because a year ago at Mobile World Congress, a lot of people lined up to see this phone. Even with all the other fancy smartphones there from Sony Ericsson, Samsung, HTC, people wanted to see this. A few reasons why. Now, it's not the first phone to have corporate theming. We've seen that before. It's the first time Puma's done it. Also, it does have a lot of apps that are themed to sports and recreation, and it has a solar panel. Turn that around, you'll see the solar panel takes up the whole rear of the phone. Now, we haven't actually had a good chance to use this. We need a bright, sunny day to do that. But when you're using the phone, when you're carrying it around, maybe have it on your-- you're talking, you just have it in your hand, you're texting, it should be able to suck up the sun to get a little extra juice. Of course, it does accommodate a normal wall charger as well. So, if-- if it's raining, if it's night, you can always power the phone that way. A couple of things to note about the user interface of this phone, there are a couple of things that are very Android-like. There's a status bar at the top of the phone. You pull that down. You can access a few different settings like the number of messages you have, how many-- what your voice mail is, your battery percentage. Also, you can-- when you slide screens back and forth, you'll see that there's 3 home screens. There are icons to take you to certain features. And when you press and hold an icon, it will go to the center screen, which is your favorites menu. Besides the 3 home screens, there's a settings menu. To activate that, you just hit the corner down here. You'll see a few lines. Drag up the screen so you kind of curl it back like a curtain, and then you can look at your display. You can adjust the brightness. You can't adjust the backlighting time, which is unfortunate. You can adjust the ringtones and a few other functions. The phone also has a screen saver that actually shows a puma. He's called Dylan. After the backlighting clicks out, the puma will come up. He kind of prowls around and then disappears, but to keep him around, you can keep pressing the screen. There's no physical keyboard on this phone, so you will have to use a virtual keyboard. Now, it is pretty small given the phone's small display. I have bigger hands and so, I had a little trouble using it, and it doesn't help that the phone's accuracy isn't great unless you're right, right, right on that spot. That can be a little tricky. As I said, the features on this phone are pretty basic. There's a 3-megapixel camera. There is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can get some Web-based e-mail. You can get messaging and your basic organizer settings. There are some sports themes as I said. They're over on one side on the home screens. They're pretty unique and they're kinda fun. The thing I like best was this GPS tracker. Actually you can go for a run, you can find out how far you went. I do need to note that this phone is only tri-band, so it only has the 900, 1800, and 1900 bands. That means, one band that we use in North America, and so Canada and the US, 850 is not gonna be on this phone. You can use this phone with either T-Mobile or AT&T, but those carriers will switch between bands in different regions. So, some places where maybe only 850 is available, you're not gonna be able to use this phone. Overall, I think the Puma Phone is pretty cool. I do like the features. It's got a unique style, like, little red slashes down here and a little bit of an angled design below the screen. It has a nice construction, feels a little slippery in the hands. So, you do wanna be wary of that. And the solar power is a nice touch. The phone is only gonna be available unlocked. It's not offered by a US carrier. And again, it is really optimized for the European market. But if you're looking for something unique that has a sports theme that is a little bit eco-friendly as well, the Puma Phone delivers. I'm Kent German and this is the Puma Phone.