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As for the Jalou's software, the operating system is the same as used on most non-touchscreen Sony Ericsson devices. The desktop can be changed to a picture of your choice, have an animated clock, or just match the theme but it can't be filled with icons or shortcuts or anything quite so fancy. The directional pad can be configured to provide shortcuts to four of your favourite apps, though. The main menu, meanwhile, is a simple grid with sub-menus arranged in tabbed lists. It's nothing too clever and certainly isn't very flashy but it does the job simply and easily.
Sony's superb crossbar style multimedia interface is also on-hand for navigating your music, videos, photos, and games, though considering the lack of headphone jack, poor video playback, and tiny screen, it's unlikely to see a great deal of use. The web browser is also quite poor as it can't display full web pages but instead gives you a squashed up, single column, mobile version. At least push email is supported and there's an inbuilt app for Facebook so keeping in contact shouldn't be a problem – though text messages aren't stored in conversations as we're used to nowadays.
Unsurprisingly, considering its lowly specification, this phone doesn't put much strain on its battery and as such it should last you several days between chargers. Call quality also seemed adequate, though the speaker is pretty woeful.
Comparing the Jalou to other basic handsets and Sony Ericsson is clearly charging a premium for its looks as phones costing £50 less will still give you the same, if not better, functionality. Were it just the below par functionality then we could largely forgive this, but adding in the poor buttons and less than stellar screen and it sinks further in our estimation.
As for the Dolce & Gabbana branded version, it swaps the chrome accents on the Sony version for gold, comes with a rather nicer looking headset, and is loaded with Dolce & Gabbana themes and pics. However, it is still the same basic handset with its poor keypad and less than impressive build quality, so for its £379.99 asking price, it's clearly a ridiculous buy.
The Sony Ericsson Jalou is trying to achieve something very difficult by being a relatively inexpensive fashion phone and it does just about succeed. Certainly it looks nice, is tiny, and is perfectly adequate in terms of functionality. However, you do pay a small premium for its looks and size and the keypad is particularly poor so even non-techie users might find it a little lacking. As for the Dolce & Gabbana branded version, just don't go there.