Porsche Design P'9521 mobile phone

Porsche styling and a fingerprint scanner

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Sagem Porsche Design P'9521
  • Sagem Porsche Design P'9521
  • Sagem Porsche Design P'9521
  • Sagem Porsche Design P'9521

Pros

  • Fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, double-hinged display, in-line remote with 3.5mm headphone jack, OLED

Cons

  • No 3G connectivity, cumbersome and slow user interface, block design is heavy and uncomfortable, mediocre keypad, poor camera

Bottom Line

It’s an interesting concept, but given its asking price the P'9521 lacks some basic features. An uncomfortable, boxy design, a lack of 3G connectivity and a slow user interface mean this handset is best avoided.

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Boasting a fingerprint scanner, an accelerometer and a double-hinged display, the Porsche Design P'9521 is an interesting concept to say the least. Although it may look and feel like an expensive handset, the exorbitant asking price for a phone lacking 3G connectivity and plenty of other features means that many people will steer clear of the P'9521.

Manufactured by Sagem but designed by Porsche, the P'9521 is built entirely from a solid block of aluminium, with the external display made from mineral glass. Although some may be intrigued by the design, its blocky shape and sharp edges make it uncomfortable to hold in your hand and it also digs into your ear when held against your face. It definitely looks unique, but the overall squarish design reminds us of a device stuck at the start of the new millennium, rather than a handset designed almost a decade later.

The flip handset has a double-hinged design, meaning you can rotate it 180 degrees and flip it back over against the casing — ideal when using the digital camera. Despite the solid aluminium design, the flip feels far from sturdy and exhibits a far amount of slack when opening and closing. The boxy shape also means the P'9521 is almost impossible to flip open with one hand. A small display on the front of the handset shows incoming caller ID, time and other important information without having to open the handset.

Another feature is the display technology. The P'9521 uses an OLED meaning there is no backlight, helping to save battery power. Despite the lack of a backlight, the screen is bright and clear and has a respectable viewing angle. We were particularly impressed with the crisp text displayed. Like the M2A-HV HDMI, the P'9521 also boasts an accelerometer. When the screen is rotated and flipped back, you can switch the view of pictures from landscape to portrait by simply tilting the phone.

Unfortunately, the keypad is mediocre. The keys are small, squashed and almost completely flat. The design means they require a firm press to activate and we struggled with messaging speeds.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the P'9521 is the fingerprint scanner. You can use this function instead of entering a PIN when your turn on your phone, as well as use it instead of a number of other passwords and unlock codes. It also doubles as a navigational touch pad to browse through menus, though using this isn't really intuitive and you're best sticking with the regular five-way navigational pad. The fingerprint scanner is really little more than a novelty, adding almost nothing to the overall user experience.

The user interface of the P'9521 is fairly intuitive but its main issue is speed. Scrolling through lists or menu items is a painstakingly slow process and quickly becomes frustrating. Combined with the poorly designed keypad, these issues make the device quite cumbersome to operate.

Considering the asking price, the lack of 3G connectivity is simply inexcusable. Bluetooth and USB connectivity are both present, however, and a proprietary USB cable is included in the sales package. The 3.2-megapixel camera features autofocus and a dual-LED flash but the quality of pictures produced is quite poor, so we can't recommend it for more than a few happy snaps.

The P'9521 doesn't include a 3.5mm headphone jack, but an adapter with in-line playback and volume controls has a 3.5mm jack so you can use any regular pair of headphones with the device.

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