You know how 3G phones are always big, bulky beasts with huge batteries. Well O2 has attempted to buck the trend with this, the smallest and most pocketable 3G phone so far.
In spite of its diddy dimensions the O2 X4 is a somewhat masculine mobile, following the now-standard ‘big screen inside, little screen outside’ clamshell form factor. It’s no surprise that the X4 is essentially an updated X3, a ‘phone which met with a somewhat mixed reaction from users. The main difference lies in the addition of 3G services, which are lovely assuming that (a) you want them and (b) you can get them: coverage is still pretty much confined to the major conurbations and I was recently shocked to discover that there are some people living outside London. The other features are pretty much what you would expect; Currency converter for inveterate roamers, Java games for bored commuters, alarm for chronic oversleepers, and a respectable 1.3 megapixel camera for Charlotte Church. There’s only one camera, so if you want to indulge in a bit of video calling – tough.
The big news is the provision of a Mini-SD card slot allowing users to upgrade the storage capacity very easily. If you have a card slot on your PC, it’s also your simplest method of feeding the built-in MP3 player, as O2 has inexplicably omitted Bluetooth connectivity. That’s something of a disappointment, as GPRS is all very well, but remembering the USB cable everywhere you go is slightly too much bother for most people and there’s nothing so handy as short-range wireless for syncing your calendars. In fairness, there is infra-red for all you old-school infra-red fans.
I also found text input a trifle fiddly, although teenagers will doubtless master it in minutes.
The MP3 playback, especially with a larger-capacity SD card is a pleasing bonus, the camera is pretty decent (although I couldn’t persuade the flash to flash) and the basic telephony is fine. I can’t help thinking, though, that the missing Bluetooth is something of an oversight and all in all the X4 suffers in comparison with similar offerings currently available.