Looking for something basic yet popping with features? It may sound a bit contradictory - but let’s face it, we all want that little “extra” to make the user experience of having a phone more worthwhile. And sometimes, it should not cost the earth to get some darn good features on a phone either!
Enter the myX-3, Sagem’s latest market-entry level phone that is based on much of the offerings found on their higher-end myX-5 model. In other words, the myX-3 is the black-and-white screen version of a typical myX-5 excluding colour display functionalities. Not bad if you consider features like hi-fi ringing tones and handsfree speakerphone to be available. Now these are those “extras” that are worth having :)
On the outside, it may not be the phone of your dreams - but for the myX-3, it is what’s on the inside that counts. As previously mentioned, features such as the hi-fi ringtones and speakerphone are two things that you won’t find on most entry-level models today (yet!) But the myX-3 also gives its user the ability to exchange front and back covers with another colour of their choice. “Black” was the colour of the unit I got for this review, and I would’ve liked a different coloured cover to show off.
Similar to the myX-5, a “d” version of the myX-3 is available should you want to use the phone as a data or fax modem. The myX-3d can be connected up to an external PC device via an optional data cable accessory or its internal infrared (IR) port.
The myX-3 has a pretty average-sized footprint that should not receive many complaints from its users. If you’re looking for a small-sized phone, the myX-3 may just be a tad bigger than some of those “mini-me” models - while for those hunting for larger handsets (that somehow guarantees their owners not forgetting about them), the myX-3 shouldn’t be too hard to locate if it was at the deep end of a pocket.
Design-wise, I didn’t really find anything fascinating about the look of the myX-3 - probably because of the choice in colour for the front cover. But the dark black areas do contrast with the surrounding silver casing and keypad colour. For those who don’t mind a simple-looking phone, the myX-3 is a possible candidate.
But probably the most dynamic-looking part is the elliptical navigation area located just below the screen. There are numerous buttons which make up the outer ellipse, including the answer/end buttons, two soft keys and the “@” button for quick Internet access via WAP.
User Interface & display
A large, high-resolution black-and-white display is used for the myX-3. It doesn’t waste this resource and the phone’s menus will have graphics displayed wherever possible (for example, on the first-level menu - similar to that of Nokia phones). Throughout the phone menus, each menu item is displayed on a single screen. A circular object is displayed on the top left-hand corner of the screen, which acts as an indicator as to what position you are at in the current menu level. The white dot on the circumference of the ellipse indicates the first menu item, while the black dot is where you currently are.
For the standby screen, the myX-3 uses a very big font size to tell you what network you are on, and a choice of either a digital or analogue clock face is displayed on the top left-hand corner of the screen.
Screen illumination is provided by a blue backlight, which is not commonly found on lower-end phone models. A change from the boring green backlight is a good thing, but the myX-3 doesn’t do away with good old traditions when it came to the keypad backlighting.
Menu navigation on the myX-3 isn’t all that hard, but it differs from how a person would use its 4-way key since it is not really so. Up/down actions would result in literally just that, but the left and right actions will instead result in a “clear” and “OK” operation respectively. It’s okay once you get accustomed to the fact that it is not a 4-way key, but you would also have to consider the two soft keys that are used at various times, which can further confuse!
And alike the myX-5, the ANSWER and END keys are located on the right and left respectively (the other way around when compared to most other phones).
Making and receiving calls
The hi-fi ringtones of the myX-3 are a unique feature for a phone in the entry-level market segment. Polyphonic tones on other models within its class may be able to play more than a single instrument at the same time, but won’t be able to reproduce some of the original sounds within sound tracks - such as the voice of a singer.
A preset number of hi-fi and harmonic tones have been loaded onto the myX-3 by default. Additional tones can be added by using the “My Pictures and Sounds” software, where up to 65 hi-fi tones can be loaded into the myX-3’s memory.
Both the standard phone earpiece and the handsfree speakerphone function can be used for calls. Performance in terms of voice quality, clarity and loudness of the speakerphone all came out good.
Although somewhat flat, the myX-3’s keypad provided a sufficient level of tactility for a good messaging experience. The phone was able to accept keystrokes with little trouble, whether it was a slow or fast user at the keypad.
While using the T9 predictive text feature, I realised that the myX-3 did not support a custom dictionary for adding new words into. This meant that should you have any of your own words that are not in the dictionary but you use on a regular basis, the only alternative is to switch over to normal entry (or tap) mode and key in the word as you would without T9 being available.
The myX-3 is capable of sending both standard text messages as well as EMS messages, which are capable of including specific sounds, pictures and animations along with the basic text.
Apart from some squeaks around the joint areas of the two cases, I found the myX-3 to be quite a solid handset which should have no problem taking those accidental falls and beatings. Unfortunately, there isn’t really much you can do about this - as the squeaks are inherent problems with the design of the case plus (possibly) the choice of material used.
This similar situation occurred on the myX-5 unit that I reviewed previously, and possibly something for Sagem to look into.
On average use, I was able to obtain approximately 2-3 hours talk time and around 3-4 days standby. Battery consumption should be kept to a minimum if you do not have fancy features, such as screen savers, on - even though they do not take up a lot of resources.