By now, everyone should be aware that Sony Ericsson Satio is the offical name for the Idou, a phone which Sony Ericsson proudly showed off during Mobile World Congress back in February. Fast forward seven months and the Satio’s launch is closing in, making it a great time to have a look at this smart new handset. The Satio represents several firsts for Sony Ericsson, namely a 12.1 megapixal camera – the highest count in thier range – and the use of Symbian OS, S60 5th edition, the same as can be found on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and the N97.
Sony Ericsson chose a touchscreen design for the Satio and although it doesn’t break any new ground in terms of looks, it does have a certain style about it, especially in the Bordeaux and Silver colour schemes. At 13mm thick and 126 grams, the Satio maintains a similar size and weight to its rivals, but when you turn the phone on its side, the sliding lens cover bulges out, ruining the smooth and slender frame. However, this is only an aesthetic issue, as when holding it sideways, the rounded edges and protruding lens gives a far more ‘camera’ like experience when taking pictures.
The Satio is one of a pair of new multimedia mobile phones to be released by Sony Ericsson this year, the other being the Aino, and instead of being created to excel as either a camera or a music phone, the Satio does both by havong an excellent camera and a powerful music player. Sliding that lens coveraside reveals the 12.1 megapixel lens, flanked by a video light and a xenon flash, for excellent lowlight performance. Face and smile detection are both onboard, along with Touch Focus, a new feature where a simple tap of the screen sees the camera focus on that spot and capture the picture, so you dont have to centre the viewfinder on your preffered subject. Additionally, tweaks such as image stabilisation, BestPic and a 12x digital zoom are all included.
The touchscreen is a 16 million colour, 3.5″ TFT with a resolution of 360×640. An accelerometer controls its orientation and since it’s a resistive item, Sony Ericsson have included a stylus, but instead of building it into the casting it’s supplied seperately on a lanyard. Whether you think you’ll need it will be down to personal preference, however Symbian S60 5th edition is a very finger- friendly OS – as anyone who has used the Nokia 5800 will testify – and unless you’re tapping out a lengthy email or holding an in-depth IM conversation, it’s doubtful you’ll need it during everyday use. To combat any keyboard issues, the Satio gives the choice of using a small portrait QWERTY keyboard, a larger landscape one or the traditional alphanumeric pad. For dialing, the phone has an easily accessed number pad. Sony Ericsson have overlaid 5th Edition with their familiar icon based, grid format menu – brought to life with the central of the three hardware keys under the screen – where all the features of the phone can be accessed. They have also carried over a variation on the Xpress Music key found on the 5800, only here it’s a virtual key located in the top right of the home screen and gives quick access to all the multimedia functions.
As a 3G phone with HSDPA and HSUPA support, the Satio is already well-connected, but when you add in Wi-Fi, A2DP, Bluetooth and assisted GPS, it covers every base. Sony Ericsson’s recent switch to MicroSD card storage sees the memory stick slot replaced by this more readily available format, and they’ll be throwing in a 8GB card in for free. Plus the music and video player is backed up by a stereo FM radio with RDS. A well thought out gallery lets you fllick through your album, plus all the usual organisers and calendar options are there, along with the Sony Ericsson PlayNow and TrackID features.
Sony Ericsson seem to have pulled out all the stops with the Satio, blessing it with a stylish design, a good OS, a massive megapixel camera, a sensible storage solution and every connectivity option you’ll likely need. It’s a shame then, they have not given it a 3.5mm socket, leaving it once more to their proprietary adaptor to house it. This is unfortunate as the media player is a good one and it does take the Satio one step away from perfection, however, it won’t bother everyone, especially when the rest of the package is as superb as the Satio’s!