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Sony Ericsson Satio U1i - Sony Ericsson Satio U1i
Sliding the camera cover aside reveals the lens, which quite obviously looks the business compared to most pinhole camera phones. Above it sits the Xenon flash while off to the left is an LED that's used as a focus assist for taking photos and a lamp while recording video. The slide mechanism feels very solid and shouldn't be knocked open too easily but it's still easy to operate when needed.
In the box you get a 40in wired headset adapter (with call answer/end button) and a short set of headphones (11in and 25in from plug to the left and right earpieces), which are of the canalphone type and come with a choice of three different silicone tip sizes. They're noticeably better than the usual bundled affair though we'd still be inclined to swap them out for an even better pair for regular music listening. A lipstick-style stylus, USB cable, and wall charger are also included while an AV cable in particular sets this phone apart from the crowd. It's 60in long, connects to the phone's charger socket and terminates in three phono cables for stereo audio and composite video. It's an interesting addition but considering 99.9 per cent of the people that buy this phone will never even take it out the box, we think it could've been an optional extra.
The screen packs in 360 x 640 pixels which, though not the most, is certainly sufficient for sharp images and provides enough desktop space to not make browsing the web and such like too much of a chore. Colour reproduction is particularly impressive with plenty of saturation and a bright overall image yet still impressively dark blacks. Viewing angles are also very good, which is particularly useful when taking photos. Essentially, in terms of viewing, this screen is up there with the best.
However, the touch-sensing isn't exactly stellar. While reasonably sensitive for a resistive screen, the merest glance won't be picked up as on capacitive devices. Along with a lack of multi-touch support, this is particularly noticeable when typing and severely slows you down. Things really aren't helped by the operating system either.
While fairly functional, Symbian S60 just doesn't cut it as a touch-screen operating system when compared to Android, iPhoneOS, and WebOS, especially on such a premium device. In particular the menus are inconsistent with some using lists and others using icons. Scrolling also requires the use of a side scroll bar, while the keyboards leave a lot to be desired in terms of layout. We also found the whole screen locking and button layout somewhat counterintuitive and we regularly closed apps when we meant to just go back a level in menus or locked the phone when we meant to unlock it, etc. Constant notifications that the phone was connecting to Wi-Fi also became very annoying.
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