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.