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Sony Ericsson Aino Review

Posted by Dark Legion 11/07/2009 , ,

The Sony Ericsson Aino is a slider phone that had an entire room excited when at release, it claimed to have the ability to playback content directly from your PS3. But alas, it's not the PSP phone; instead you get a very solid and heavily featured phone with the ability to access media anywhere.

While it's never going to win the plaudits of the Sony Ericsson Satio, the Aino (pronounced I-no) is a very nice phone in its own right, and manages to edge above being simply solid into 'impressive' territory.

It doesn't have the new Symbian interface, instead relying on Sony Ericsson's standard UI, which means that feature-wise it's not as rich.

The first thing you notice is the weighty feel of the handset (as well as the startlingly dark hue the Obsidian Black is sporting, with your eyes feeling like they've been sucked into a vortex of mobile phone gravity). It's a reassuring weight, with a button layout that will be familiar to a number of the Sony Ericsson fraternity.

 Sony Ericsson Aino Overview

Key features
3" 16M-color capacitive touchscreen, 240 x 432 pixels
Quad-band GSM support
Tri-band 3G with 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 2Mbps HSUPA
8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash; geotagging, touch-focus, face detection, image stabilization; VGA video recording @ 30fps
Some degree of touchscreen functionality - touch-enabled media and camera interface
Touch works in Java apps as well, e.g. Opera Mini
Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS; Trial version of Wisepilot navigation software
Wi-Fi with DLNA
FM radio with RDS
Stereo Bluetooth 2.1
microSD card slot
Wireless Bluetooth headset with 3.5 mm audio jack and nice headphones, desktop docking station and 8GB microSD card in box
Remote play for Playstation 3


Main disadvantages

No standard USB portNo 3.5mm audio jack (but there's one on the Bluetooth headset)
Touch control is limited to camera, gallery, multimedia players and some Java apps
Media library updates very slowly in the touch media menu
No DivX/XviD support
No xenon flash
No camera lens cover

 Sony Ericsson Aino Video Preview:(PhoneArena)

While this phone doesn't have the hidden D-pad that a PSP phone might sneak out to titillate us with, it does have some decent media capabilities that are clearly extended beyond the range of the phone itself as is shown by the location-less Media Go functionality.

What is bizarre is that while the Aino has a touchscreen, it only works in media mode, meaning we wouldn't have known it was there unless we were told. It's easy to imaging a number of people poking their phone normally to no avail and then being perplexed when the touchscreen fires up in media mode.

Anyway, the whole thing was had a nice feeling to it, and watching videos on the included dock was easy thanks to the pleasant angle offered.

Audio was excellent on both music and video with the bundled wireless buds, and you get the feeling that in this phone Sony Ericsson has really had a good think about what it takes to make media on a phone work well. The touchscreen in media mode worked pretty well, perhaps not in the same sensitivity league as the Satio, but still a decent effort nonetheless.

However, it's just as well there are bundled wireless 'buds given there's no 3.5mm jack, which you would have expected on such a media-centric phone. At least you get an 8GB microSD card in the box, which makes up for the teeny 55MB of memory on board.

 The camera, an 8.1MP job, is more than adequate but sadly pales by comparison to the 12.1MP behemoth attached to the Satio. It's easy to forget that the C905 has an 8MP camera and has long been regarded as one of the best cameraphones around, so you can't really say much bad about a phone that's 15.5mm thick yet still takes some great pictures, with a plethora of decent settings including geotagging and face detection.

The interface being standard means that other options, like messaging or accessories, aren't much to write home about, as SE has stuck with roughly the same UI principles for years. It isn't a criticism of the handset per se, but after playing with Satio you can't help but crave a little bit more.

We briefly saw the Media Go software (syncing with your PC) and the Remote Play options demonstrated by Sony Ericsson, but we get the feeling it's something we're going to want to have a much longer play with to find out whether it's easy to set up and if we really need to have regularly updated content from your PC.

However, it's as simple as just docking every night to have a new set of podcasts ready to listen to every day, then that's a very exciting prospect. The Aino is nice phone from Sony Ericsson, and as a 'middle brother' from the trio released, it's a very nice effort indeed.



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