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Sagem are little-known in this country, but they have been plugging away in their homeland of France producing mobile phones and other gizmos for many years. The My V-76 is a culmination of this know-how, and for a semi-budget handset we have to say we were very impressed.
The MyV-76 is based on the internationally available My X6-2, and has been rebadged by Vodafone to form part of their Live! range. It’s white, lightweight, and a decent pocket-size. More importantly, it’s a user friendly device, and its bright, colourful 256k screen makes it easy to navigate.
The interface is very similar to the one used by Sony Ericsson, but in some ways better. We’ve never been fans of the Sony joystick – it’s difficult to press in correctly and that can make navigation tricky. Sagem solves this by making the joypad a separate, raised button surrounding the OK button. It’s very intuitive and makes navigation almost fun. It’s a bit fiddly for games but that’s a very minor problem.
The main screen includes a button to access Vodafone Live! which is a WAP utility, giving you access to ringtones, news and the like. The keypad buttons are a little spongy, but the side volume buttons and camera button are firmer, and well placed.
The camera is good for a phone of this type at 1.3MP. It’s not a true-colour camera and it had a lot of trouble with colour gradations in the picture we took of a sunset, turning it into a psychedelic blob. However, for quick, easy snaps it’s more than adequate.
The phone also comes with software to sync your phone and load MP3s etc – it incorporates basic image editing software that will transform those dull shots very quickly. But installing the USB software wasn’t much fun. One of the screens asks you to choose your connection – modem or COM port – which is strange for a USB cable driver. Both are selected by default, but we found that unclicking the COM driver gets it to work. Not very logical, but then they’re wacky, those French!
One of the phone’s main attractions is its MP3 ability. And for this it embarrasses many of its competitors. It has a set of earphones which are – quelle suprise! – quite comfortable. The sound is pretty good and the crashing beats of The White Stripes actually came across rather well.
The phone ships with a 32MB TransFlash (or mini-SD) card but, as this is one of the cheapest and smallest, memory types, it’s no big deal to expand this to accommodate more of your tunes. To get at the memory slot, you basically have to dismantle the phone to retrieve the flash card, as it’s burrowed in like a tick beneath the front cover.
The competition for this device is quite fierce; if you shop around you’ll find that Sony Ericsson’s K700i is available for less than the RRP of the My V-76, and has a better look and feel – despite its inferior navigation. Plus Samsung, and newcomers like BenQ, are coming out with capable multimedia phones. And the fact this is only available on the Vodafone network is another limiting facet of the My V-76.
However, despite some of its little foibles, at a price of $499 this phone is still pretty hard to beat. It provides access to the increasingly popular MP3 format, comes with several games, and is lots of fun to use. Vive la France! 

SAGEM My V-76 | $499 |
VF Live! Mobile Handset

For: A 1.3MP camera; MP3 player; fun and very capable.

Against: Frustrating software. Hard to reach memory slot.

Verdict: A great phone that’s decently priced with features that challenge some of the best.

 


 

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