Unless you’re sniffing around for a smartphone, the general rule for network branded handsets is to stay well clear. Commonly, these operator-badged phones are cheap budget or mid-tier tawdry affairs. But there are exceptions to this rule and O2’s latest 3G gem has caught our roving mobile eye.
Decked out in a Star Wars Stormtrooper-stylee white armour and offset with a black interior, the Cocoon certainly flaunts a unique design – one we suspect will divide opinion.
Of course, the Cocoon isn’t entirely O2’s handiwork – the network enlisted Korean handset peddlers Pantech to concoct this exclusive blonde clamshell.
King of neon
The Cocoon’s most glaring feature is the neon blue scrolling LED that disturbs the pure white minimalist façade, which is a might too plasticky for our liking and open to attack from grimy mitts and pocket sludge.
Along with the five blue icons, this large glowing flowing font announces the time, caller ID, incoming message and part preview, song title, radio station frequency and missed calls. You won’t miss a thing with this blazing on all fronts.
In contrast to the phosphorescent show illuminating the outside, the noir inside is decidedly uniform and practical. The keypad and accompanying navigation pad and soft keys sport oversized Fisher Price buttonage that can easily accommodate the Guinness Book of Records entrant for world’s fattest fingers. It’s incredibly uncomplicated to operate.
Push the buttons
Decorating the phones thickset right side is a procession of music player controls. You can switch between the player and FM radio with one touch and a key lock switch also stops accidental brushings of buttons while in the pocket. Also integrated into the hinge is a handy volume jog wheel.
The Cocoon supports Windows Media Player for transferring your MP3 files and CDs and you get a succession of equaliser and bass modes to lift the sound.
The Super Bass option dutifully pads out the audio and it sounds meaty enough when you connect up your quality cans via the supplied 3.5mm adapter. Its abundant 2GB internal memory is buoyed further by a microSD card slot with up to 4GB total storage on the menu.
The 2MP snapper with autofocus is a steady performer with an inconsistent flash light to illuminate low-lighting environments. Another natty addition is the recharging nest that turns your handset into and bedside or desktop alarm clock and in old school, lazy bar steward style you can reach over a hit the top snooze or stop when the wake-up calls sounds.
Caps should be doffed towards O2 for spicing up phone design and while its performance was sound, its retro styling is destined to isolate many phone-goers.