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Sony Ericsson Satio U1i
The Satio is currently top of Sony Ericsson's range of feature phones. It packs in a 12.1 megapixel camera with a Xenon flash, a full touchscreen interface, and class leading media playback. On the surface that's an impressive feature list, but does the Satio make the most of them?
Things don't get off to the best start as, despite a generally inoffensive design, this phone simply doesn't have the quality feel you'd expect of such a premium device. The screen is finished in a flexible and highly scratch prone plastic (and, yes, it is resistive rather than capacitive) while the rest of the phone, aside from the brushed-finish lens cover on the back, uses less than rock solid glossy black plastic and faux chrome. One advantage of all this plastic is a relatively lightweight device; at 128g it's markedly lighter than its hefty dimensions of 110 x 55 x 18mm/13mm would suggest.
The phone is reasonably snug in the hand and the main controls fall easily into place but it is a little top heavy thanks to that big camera. The front is very minimal with just three buttons, for call answer, menu and call end, sitting below the 3.5in screen, while a video calling camera sits up top. The sides, however, are veritably festooned with features.
On the left is a slider for locking and unlocking the phone (which is something we think is completely superfluous as this could be implemented in software) and below this is the standard Sony Ericsson port for charging, USB connection, and headphone connection (yes, there's no other headphone socket on this phone). A MicroSD slot supporting cards up to 32GB also sits under a flap and handily the phone recognises when it is inserted or not and changes the camera's default storage appropriately.
A volume rocker that doubles as the digital zoom for the camera kicks things off on the right edge and alongside it sit buttons for toggling between the image viewer and video/stills modes in the camera. The camera app starter/shutter button, which is encircled by a glowing blue ring when in use, finishes things off. The only other control is the power button that's on the top edge – we would prefer it to be combined with the call end button as on the vast majority of phones. The fairly measly mono speaker also ports out the top while a lanyard loop sits centrally on the bottom edge.