The casing of the O2 Cocoon is finished in matt white color. Compelling and unique as it is, we would have preferred a little gloss - some sort of pearl shiny white would have amplified its fashionable image.
The O2 Cocoon has one of the nicest retail packages we've seen so far. The lively-colored large but thin box reminds of a luxury gift wrap - the magnetic lock is a nice touch too.
The box is teeming with accessories - the USB data cable is used for charging and an adapter is provided so you can plug it in a regular mains socket too. The adapter itself is modular and can accept one of the two provided tips - one for the domestic UK mains sockets and another one for the more common continental sockets.
You can also use the cradle (the docking station cunningly called "the Cocoon's Nest") to charge the O2 Cocoon - again using the USB cable with or without the mains socket. Since the cradle itself has port duplicators, besides the USB cable you can also plug in the dedicated FM radio antenna and use the Cocoon as a desktop FM radio. The cradle also has a 3.5mm audio jack so you can channel the sound to an external amplifier or regular headphones. Even a 3.5mm audio splitter is supplied in the package, so you can listen on two headsets simultaneously.
Speaking of headphones, you are not tied to using the set supplied in the retail package, although they offer nice sound and nice rubbery buds that come in several sizes for best comfort fit. The supplied wired remote allows you to use third-party headphones with the Cocoon, as it has a standard 3.5mm audio jack. Well, what's more to look for in a music phone retail package!
The O2 Cocoon is middling in terms of size. Standing at 94 x 49 x 21mm, it doesn't look or feel big. When it comes to handling it, the first thing to strike you is that all body panels are made of plastic. There are no chrome or other highlights, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. As we already said, the only thing to take a little away from the Cocoon fashionable looks is the matt white finish. Some glossy pearl white would have suited it much better.
The O2 Cocoon flaunts a relatively large 2.28" 262K-color TFT display of QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) resolution. Truth be said, you can't expect any more than that in a feature phone, so we are quite content with it actually.
Just above the display you might notice the secondary video call camera.
The keypad offers really large keys and some great press feedback. Above the alphanumeric keypad you will find two receiver keys and two context keys.
The navigation D-pad is also nice to work with. Above the keypad you will also notice a scroll wheel - you can use it to adjust volume or scroll web pages in the web browser. It's a really nice addition.
The left-hand side of the O2 Cocoon is where all the music controls are nested. Since they are really easy to activate accidentally, a special lock slider is available to prevent that - and it's much needed, you can take our word on that.
The music keys allow you to start the last playing playlist without even opening the phone. You can of course skip or change tracks too - or even pause them. There's also a dedicated key for switching between the FM radio and the Music player. Another feature is that you can use the pause key to mute the alarm.
The left-hand side of the O2 Cocoon hosts the universal connectivity port - used for plugging the charger, data cable, headset or the dedicated FM antenna. Next is the slider that releases the battery cover - a rather ingenious solution though you may find it awkward at first. And finally, the microSD memory card slot is also located on this very side. You can use it to expand the available 2GB of onboard storage with a card of up to 2GB capacity.
Let's close the clamshell now and have a look around. The first thing to notice on the front is the 2 megapixel camera lens. Strangely enough, it does say "auto focus" but we are pretty sure we didn't spot any sign of it - there's no mentioning of it on the official specs sheet either. Well, that sums it up for the "auto bogus" feature. Never mind - we weren't disappointed as we never expected auto focus in the first place.
The scroll wheel volume control is also visible (and quite usable too) when the handset is closed.
On the back, just at the top of the battery cover you might also notice the lanyard eyelet. It's got to be said though, that's a really strange choice of placing the eyelet.
Removing the battery cover is easy once you slide the dedicated release slider on the right-hand side of the handset. The battery itself is quoted at up to 9h of music playback, up to 350h of standby and up to 5h of talk time. The reality is a bit different though. In a 3G network, the O2 Cocoon lasts no more than 2 days with minimal talk times. When you're not using the 3G network support, the battery life extends by roughly a day in the same usage pattern.
Held in hand, the O2 Cocoon looks somewhat big - it's nothing like some compact clamshells by Samsung or LG. However it manages to make up for that size with user-friendly and ergonomic construction plus out-of-the-box design.
The backlighting of the main display and keypad are more than sufficient to allow trouble-free use in both daylight and in the dark. Of course the main display doesn't fare well under direct sunlight, but that's to be expected.
The cool external display has blue backlighting and although it's hardly legible in bright sunlight, legibility becomes superb when you use it in the dark or in the shade. It displays status readings including current time, the currently playing artist and track, the current FM radio station and incoming call ID - be it number only or the contact's name. It can also display the header of an incoming message.
Here's a sample video of the functionality of the external display:
Our only objection to its functionality is that the clock display turns off too quickly even when the maximum setting is used. Other than that, you have three scroll speeds to choose from - we found even the fastest one to be a little slow to allow a quick look of who's calling or what track is currently playing.
Above the LED display there are 5 status icons that can alert you of a preset alarm, new email or text, a missed call, low battery or silent profile on.