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Sony Ericsson Jalou F100i review

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Summary

Our Score:

7

Fashion phones come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from the jaw droppingly expensive Motorola Aura to the more modest Onyx Liscio. One thing generally brings them together though; they tend to get a hard time of it here on TrustedReviews. This is because they often offer poor value in terms of features, performance and usability even though they can look the part and tend to be well built.

The Sony Ericsson Jalou F100i, then, is a tiny clamshell fashion phone aimed squarely at, well, anyone that might invest in a clutch bag and care about their make-up routine. It's certainly no smartphone but packs in a respectable number of features and, in its non-Dolce & Gabbana branded guise, it's available for a respectable £130.

When we first set eyes on the Jalou we were simply flabbergasted. With dimensions of 73 x 45 x 17mm, when closed, this is one of the smallest phones we've seen in years. It is a little thick so is less suited to slimline pockets but it should leave ample room for all the other life essentials that find home in a handbag.

It's also a rather glamorous looking device thanks to its cut-gem lines and super shiny deep-gloss finish. At least that's the case for the top surface; sadly the bottom doesn't have the same quality finish and is instead just metallic paint. Indeed, if you open the phone up and look at the back, it's clear the two purples shades aren't quite the same. (black and blue are also available along with a gold finish used on the Dolce & Gabbana branded version). We're somewhat baffled by the decision to use clashing purples. Surely either a matching or completely different finish on the bottom would've looked classier? Still, fingerprints aside, the Jalou F100i does play its fashion phone part rather well.

We also love the hidden outer screen. This monochrome LCD display sits in the dimple on top of the phone where it's completely invisible when off. Close the phone or press the side volume button while it's closed and suddenly white lettering just appears on the top. We have seen these displays before but this one is particularly striking. It shows all the usual basic information like time, battery level, signal strength, and whether you've got a new message.

Open the phone up, however, and things take a turn for the worse. In particular, the keyboard looks decidedly tacky and in terms of performance has few merits. The single piece of malleable plastic that makes up the surface of all the keys is wobbly and generally cheap looking. This combined with the slightly bunched up navigation section meant that we frequently pressed the wrong button. Admittedly, the number keys are okay to type on but overall this is one area where Sony Ericsson really should have spent a bit more cash.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

A Scotland

February 15, 2010, 7:08 pm

I wonder if this Sony Ericsson has the usual problems with randomly switching itself off at inconvenient moments. The last 3 SE's I had suffered from this no matter how many times you get them replaced or update the firmware on them. I think I saw on here they recently had the same problems with a flagship device. I suppose these flaws are impossible to pick up on for reviewers with a limited testing period?

Noodles

February 15, 2010, 9:29 pm

*Looks at phone, then price*





Well, SE is certainly going to have the schoolgirl market sewn up..

Voldenuit

February 20, 2010, 1:42 pm

What is this, a phone for ants????

Brian 16

February 27, 2010, 7:54 am

I have this phone for two weeks now and unlike my previous Sony phone, it hasnt switched itself once. Yay! So annoying!





Im a 50 plus bloke who bought this for its large font size and large clock display. (The text reading size is smaller than I would like, about average, making reading glasses mandatory for this user, but phone numbers displayed while dialing are huge).





Phone has great battery life and does what I want it to very easily. I dont have an issue with keypad, (much much better than my previous Sony which cost twice as much as this one), but I dont text much either. The build quality is way better than the one reviewed, i.e. has same finish top and bottom and keypad is robust, albeit a little small in places like the back button and the cancel button.





My main quibble is that screen display isnt as easily readable in outdoor daylight as my previous Sony. The swish outside display screen is even harder to read in bright conditions. Overall though, for a bloke who uses his phone primarily for phone calls and early morning alarm (lovely melody on increasing volume)this phone is a big improvement on my old and expensive Sony. Two other big plusses over my old unit are increased signal strength and small footprint.





When phone makers finally get it that much of its customer demographic does not have 20/20 vision,they will come to realise that simple things such as larger font size and clock display options can be key selling features.

anne

March 29, 2010, 8:55 pm

this phone is freaking awesome idk what its considered in europe but everyone i know in the U.S. loves it. its the smallest phone i've ever seen, including the miniscule touch screen i just saw last night.

om prakash

September 28, 2013, 1:36 pm

I want to purchase the F100I mobile but i do not know where can i purchase it.Kindly requesting to you please suggest me availability the mobile in the Jaipur & Delhi City.

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