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A few of years ago music phones were just about the most exciting category of handset around, but the world has moved on a lot since then and now all the attention is focused on smartphones, especially now that you can pick one up on pay as you go for as little as a hundred quid. However, Sony Ericsson obviously thinks that there’s life in the old dog yet and so has come up with the Zylo - a Walkman-branded music phone with a slider design and relatively large screen. Available for around £85 on pay as you go, can this music phone really stand out from the crowd in this smartphone age?
The Zylo’s design would have been cutting edge if it had been launched a couple of years ago, but today it, well, looks a little bit dated. It’s finished with a matt silver paint job, but the matt finish looks a bit cheap to our eyes. Nevertheless, the handset is relatively small and light measuring 103 x 52 x 16mm and weighing in at 115g. Also, the slightly curved rear helps make the phone feel quite comfortable in your hand when you have the slider open and the phone held to your ear.
The phone has a decent number of controls including a dedicated Walkman button on the right hand side to launch the music player. The central menu button also doubles as a play/pause control, but unlike some previous Walkman handsets there are no dedicated track skip controls and the headphone lead lacks a remote.
Nevertheless, the slider mechanism does feel both smooth and solid so we’d expect it to stand up to quite a bit of abuse. And when you slide the handset open you’re met by a keypad with large buttons that are very responsive and so ideal for those who are speedy texters.
One major problem with the design, however, is the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, the supplied headphones connect to the older style Sony Ericsson charging port. As the headphones aren’t a split design and there’s no standard 3.5mm adaptor cable supplied in the box there’s no easy way of using your own cans with the phone, which is hugely annoying on a music-focused handset.
For the display, Sony Ericsson has used a traditional 2.6in screen with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. While this isn’t really all that hot by the standard of today’s touchscreen smartphones it does the job here as the screen is very bright and thanks to its small size, text and graphics also look pin sharp.