If you want a handset with a bit of spark, Sagem's myX-8 could be a good phone to consider. It's bright and quirky in many respects, and although it looks all mouth, it has the trousers -- it's pretty clever, both in its own right and when used with your laptop as a modem or to share data and make backups.
Power users might find some features annoyingly absent -- there's no HTML Web browsing or email client, for example. But 40MB of internal memory isn't to be sniffed at by snapshot photographers or music fans.
This handset has not yet been picked up by an operator, but you can get it direct from Sagem if you can stomach the SIM-free price of £300 with a Bluetooth headset. A few other online stores are offering the handset SIM-free for around £250, so it's worth shopping around.
The myX-8's cool white exterior screams 'I am a fashion phone'. If you have a burning need to coordinate every gadget you own with your iPod, this handset does the job, finished in pure white and silver-white brushed metal. Even if you don't feel the need to coordinate, a white handset makes a nice change from all the silver and black out there. The overall build standard is high, with touches like the curved upper back and lower front edges subtly oozing style.
It's not a tiny handset at 47 by 115 by 21mm, but it's not overweight either. The number keys are all very small and squeezed into the bottom third of the casing, and we found them difficult to use one-handed. On the other hand, the shortcut keys, which are about a third smaller than the number keys, are well spaced and easy to prod. Between them sits a tiny joypad which works surprisingly well for getting around the handset's applications, although it's not ideal for gaming.
The white surround makes the screen look vast, though in fact it measures a fairly standard 33x44mm. It's designed for those wanting the very latest specifications, offering 240x320 pixels and 262K colours. It's sharp, bright and clear.
Flip the myX-8 over and you see its camera lens, mirror and flash. The sides are relatively unadorned, with the right edge housing an infrared port and the left a button that doubles as volume control and camera shutter (you can't use it to start the camera, though). With the shutter button in this location you can sit the handset on its side using the button with your right forefinger -- just as you would a conventional digital camera.
The right edge also has a hole for a neck-strap, but Sagem doesn't provide one. A stereo headset with a proprietary connector is included, along with a mains power adaptor and a CD containing PC software.