The front buttons are easy enough to use though they are a bit of a design mish-mash. Two small narrow buttons are the softkeys, then below them two comparatively large ones are Call and End buttons with the latter doubling as the main on/off switch. Below these are two areas of the fascia that are marked with the cancel symbol and My Shortcuts. The navigation pad is large enough, its central select button is also sizeable, but the overall design is not, to my eyes at least, very pleasing.
Inside the slide the flat number pad is backlit blue when a number is pressed. Unfortunately, the backlight on my review sample left the right side of the right hand column of number pad keys unlit. A design disaster.
When it comes to software, this phone is very unsophisticated. An example is the My Shortcuts button already mentioned. This simply takes you to a set of links to various aspects of the phone. You can add what you like here, but it is way less featured than the tabbed My Shortcuts system available from higher end Sony Ericsson handsets.
I also found that the phone’s software ran quite slowly with noticeable and irritating waits at times, such as when tagging multiple photos for transfer over the air or via Bluetooth. In fact, so minimal is the on-board software that the user guide is a fold out sheet equivalent to four sides of A4 paper rather than a proper booklet.
The phone plays music and supports playlists, but the capabilities in this respect are relatively basic and I’m inclined to think that the FM radio will come into its own as an aural entertainment device. The phone will record radio, which could be handy.
There’s no album art support, either. And there’s just 8MB of built-in memory and no memory expansion capability. You can use the phone as a mass storage device but making a wired connection to your PC requires the purchase of the necessary cable.
So instead I used Bluetooth to get tunes onto the phone for my music rundown test. Here there is some good news to report. Loudspeaker volume is relatively high and sound quality reasonable – though easily bettered by higher end Sony Ericsson handsets.
I have to bemoan yet again Sony Ericsson’s inability to incorporate a 3.5mm headset jack into its phones and the incongruous location of the connector for the giant headset jack on the left edge of the phone. I really noticed the 15cm of extra width my pocket needed to accommodate the phone with headset connected.