Life with the Cocoon

DISCLAIMER: I was given an O2 Cocoon by a PR firm. I am under no obligation to blog about it at all, nor was I to only mention it if the ‘review’ was favourable. If this post offends you, then feel free to leave. But if you were thinking of buying one… read on.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been playing with the new O2 Cocoon. I’ve been using it as often as I can and ‘living’ with it since then, bar a week away in Spain, and overall I’m reasonably impressed. What a wonderful word “reasonably” is…

It’s not a stunning ‘must have’ gadget, but it does have some nice touches, alongside a few annoying quirks.

The OLED embedded on the ‘outside’ of the phone is a nice idea. Subtle and effective and probably my favourite feature. However it suffers through implementation. There are two possible scenarios, both centred around the use of the display when receiving text messages. One is when an unprompted text message is received, the display lights up and scrolls the name or number, and then the message itself, across the outside of the screen.

Now if I have it in my pocket this is kinda useless. If it is on my desk it is in full view of anyone who looks, again not so good.

However if I’m in ‘text conversation’ mode, sending messages back and forth, then the scrolling is too slow to be useful, and I don’t need the name/number anyway. So, a smart idea that just feels a little like ‘an idea for ideas sake’. But that’s only on the text message front. The other uses – time, alarm, MP3 track details – make more sense.

Hardware-wise it feels nice in your hand, until you open it and answer a call. I’m happy to concede that it might just be that I’ve got a funny shaped face but the phone never felt comfortable when I was on a call. However the call quality was good and clear, as was the signal strength, of course it may just be that I was in particularly good coverage zones for the O2 signal.

As a It has most of the usual features of a mobile phone and, by and large, the software and features are nothing out of the ordinary but, as it’s being sold as a music player/phone/lifestyle gadget I’ve spent more time trying to use it with that in mind and, on that count it’s not too bad.

Having loaded up some MP3s I found the music player software is a little quirky to operate but didn’t take me too long to master. The sound quality through the supplied headphones is good and in a nice touch you also get a headphone splitter in the box, allowing two pairs of headphones to be connected to the phone.

Alas the main navigation button/joystick, used to navigate the onscreen menus and options is hugely frustrating and I still can’t decide if it’s over or under sensitive. Sometimes it reacts on the slightest of touches, other times a furious session of bashing is required to make a selection and too often that would result in the WRONG selection and another session of guessing where or how to push, flick or tickle the control.

One of the advertised uses of the phone is to set an alarm, place it on the charging dock, and use it as an alarm clock. With the soft blue hue of the external OLED perfectly suited to this, the idea falls flat on its face because the only accessible buttons are far too small to find easily in a state of Again, close but no cigar. It is a neat idea though, with a lot of people using their mobile phones as their alarm clocks anyway. The MP3 of your choice is usually a better choice than whatever dross the radio is spewing out of a morning.
I didn’t use the camera much and, in the current climate of 5 and 7 MB models it doesn’t seem a little stingy to only offer 2MB. But for quick snaps and silly video clips it’s fine if not earth shattering.

Overall I whilst there are some faults but then every phone has those and some of the quirks I found won’t affect everyone. In particular the joystick may be fine for others, it is probably just me. However there isn’t that much that stands out other than the OLED display and the provided dock. For me, those don’t make the phone a must-have gadget but if you are in the market for a phone/music player then it’s worth a look. The big question is whether the OLED display and the dock are enough to give it a competitive announcement.

I must admit that initial impressions were good when I got this phone, but over the course of a couple of weeks it fast become just another mobile phone. Given that O2 are the UK network for the Apple iPhone, something that DOES have the ‘wow’ factor that the Cocoon aims for, I think it will take some clever selling strategies to shift many units of this handset.

Finally a word on O2, excellent coverage, and their customer support handled my one and only query efficiently and friendly and it’s more than likely that I’ll switch my main phone contract to them as soon as I can. Orange should take a leaf from their book if you ask me.

Written By

Long time blogger, Father of Jack, geek of many things, random photographer and writer of nonsense.

Doing my best to find a balance.

More From Author

You May Also Like

1 year at Allied

Reasons to work

Hotel Life


I’m not offended, I just wanna know how you get stuff for free, even if it’s just for trial purposes ๐Ÿ˜›

By being fantastically wonderful and popular, of course!

modest too, so it seems

Still can’t believe you call yourself a professional writer, though. ๐Ÿ˜›

“I didnโ€™t use the camera much and, in the current climate of 5 and 7 MB models it doesnโ€™t seem a little stingy to only offer 2MB”

“As a It has most”

*sigh* ๐Ÿ˜›

Lyle, shush. I don’t write ‘professionally’ here and do tend to churn out posts asap. Will correct errors later..

Heh, OK.

Basil says:

Funny how all the reviews stimulated by VCCP are medicore, whilst the blogs reviewing the Cocoon before VCCP started its push were much more postive. Not sure what that says about “professional” (ie paid) bloggers. Just an observation.

Jygogatron says:

Just a wee bit about the Cocoon. The media player confuses me. While I can see why they went with MS Media player support, it being on an alarming amount of pc’s (especially the pc’s of the technological illitirati and luddites) but NO native iTunes support? With o2 dangling the golden carrot that is the iPhone in front of the masses this, to me at least, seems a trifle odd. And frustrating. There are a couple of 3rd party addons for iTunes to allow synching, but they are iTunes ver. dependant, and mostly unstable.

I’ve had some bad times with this phone, which I got in-store 4 months ago. Within the first week, it stopped accepting a mains charge, and the keypad was doing funky stuff like sticking in random chars while txting, launching a browser when you least expect it… So I got the handset replaced. And the new one is broke. With the same issues. And I need to get it replaced. ( the sistuation reminds meof my first C+ code – kept goin round n round in an interesting infinite loop til drastic measures were taken…) The short of it is, o2 have said that if it is an ongoing issue, they will replace my handset each time it breaks. With another Cocoon. Which will probably break. To be replaced.

Apart from that, the camera is… cheap n cheerful. No skinability, which I wouldn’t use if it had it, but want to cos it doesn’t. The OS is clunky and feels a bit like Win2K overdosed on demerol. To date I have found no apps on the web that let me play with the handsets OS, and o2 told me doing so was a breach of contract anyway (I called cust services, pointed out that I have an insured Cocoon handset that runs like a 3-legged dead dog, and could they kindly tell me how to hack the f*ck*r? {I once called directory enquiries whilst drunk, asking for the number of a reputable ganja dealer. They gave me the number of the local cop shop. N division. Nasty Buggers} No. Could they tell me how to get self built or freeware java apps, esp. games, onto the handset? No. Could they make my mobile Firefox work on it? No. Could they take my handset with its myriad faults, shove it up their ar*e, and give me a different model? A sagem, even? Hell no.)

Anyways, enough of that. I like the phone. It just doesn’t work. At the moment, I have a rather lengthy letter of complaint winging its way via snail mail to their complaints department. If anyones interested, I’ll put a copy on here, and a copy of the response.


Comments are closed.