The Sony Ericsson Satio is an excellent camera phone with a great 3.5in screen, but its not a world-beater. The lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack and an inconsistent user interface detract from what otherwise is a good overall package.
On paper, the Sony Ericsson Satio smartphone certainly looks impressive - with its whopping 12.1Mp camera with Xenon flash, a large 3.5in touchscreen display and an interface that uses standby panels on the home screen to access commonly used applications. The Sony Ericsson Satio is a well equipped smartphone with a wealth of features, but it's lacking in a few key areas.
In many ways, the Sony Ericsson Satio smartphone represents a new era for the company - a new name and slogan (make.believe) and an all new look make this a very different mobile phone. Sony Ericsson has a history associated with the Walkman and Cyber-shot brands and using product names consisting of numbers rather than catchy words, the new Satio breaks this mold.
First up, appearance wise this Sony Ericsson phone departs from the previous models, largely thanks to the 3.5in touch screen consuming the front phone real estate. The widescreen display is one of the best in its class, possessing good viewing angles, rich colour and clarity.
Unfortunately, it's a resistive touchscreen rather than a capacitive one and Sony Ericsson includes a stylus in the sales package. Despite a few small hiccups using the Symbian operating system, we didn't have to use the stylus very often and the Sony Ericsson Satio's screen is responsive to touch.
The body of the Sony Ericsson Satio is primarily constructed from a glossy black plastic, with chrome flourishes on the side in an attempt to give it a stylish feel. Unfortunately the Satio is a fingerprint magnet, but overall it feels solid and well built - a highlight is the spring operated camera lens cover, although it does make the Sony Ericsson Satio a little chunky at the top.
The left side of the smartphone has a slider lock key and a microSD card slot, while the right has volume controls, a dedicated camera button and camera keys to switch between still and video modes and review captured images and videos. Below the display are physical answer and end call keys, as well as a menu button that doubles as a task manager when held down.
Undoubtedly the best feature of the Sony Ericsson Satio smartphone is its 12.1 megapixel camera. Offering a Xenon flash as well as smile detection, panorama and Best Pic modes, the Satio's camera is one of the best we've seen. It takes clear, sharp photos with excellent colour reproduction.
The Xenon flash works well in low light situations and its performance on par with an equivalent stand-alone digital camera - although the resulting photos taken in overly dark environs weren't up to scratch. For outdoors use, the Satio's camera produced excellent shots - the photos have minimal image noise compared to most mobile phone cameras and although image quality is lost when you enlarge it, snaps are crisp and sharp at their standard size.
At 12.1 megapixels, photos captured range from 2.5 to 3MB in size. The Sony Ericsson Satio's camera also records video and while it does a reasonable job, it isn't a patch on Samsung's HD Icon, which can record HD quality video in 720p.
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