Hands on: Sagem Puma Phone review

Budget phone powered by the sun - and a big cat

Puma World is a big part of the experience - we spoke with Jérôme Nadel, executive vice president of marketing and user experience at Sagem, and he told us that while the phone was an important device, it was only one 'layer'.

Accessing Puma World gives information from Twitter, Facebook and also throws in the option to enter the Puma Store and buy specific items from the brand, with things like sportswear as well as accessories for the phone.

Puma phone

We're not totally sold on the concept at this moment in time, as it takes a while to 'move into the cloud' when firing it up - but we'll wait for our full review unit to see whether this is a genuinely useful extra layer.

Other things are a little patchier on the Puma Phone - messaging for example is a bit poor.

Puma phone

Both in portrait and landscape mode the phone seemed to struggle with accuracy - it took a number of attempts to even tap in a word at full speed.

Puma phone

We also struggled to use the web browser compared to other phones - despite being built on the WebKit framework (used on the Android phones and Apple's iPhone) it was slow to operate and a little fiddly.

But the Puma-specific functions seemed pretty cool: the ability to track your runs or bike rides and then upload the data to a server is just the sort of thing we'd be looking for from a phone like this.

Puma phone

And there are things like the large and rolling compass, which makes use of the accelerometer and the internal magnetic device to show off a pretty cool application.

We sadly didn't get to try out the fitness stuff in our early hands on (we would have looked odd running round the room in a swanky club - especially with no GPS to track us) but we're looking forward to such when we get our full review unit.

Puma phone

Another nice touch is the ability to see how much power the solar panel has managed to shove into the phone, and what this has been converted too, be it messages, music played or just general use.

This phone is built on Java, making it an easy device to create and make as a first effort - the good news is that the next iteration is apparently going to be based on Android, according to Nadel, as is most of the future range from Sagem.

We're not sure whether this phone will actually be that useful or just a general gimmick with the solar panel and large sporting focus as a portal to show off Puma - we've had our fingers burned slightly by the likes of the Adidas/Samsung SGH-F110 miCoach sports phone in the past.

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