Of course, the biggest attraction with this phone is its camera and it certainly marks itself out from the crowd. It’s very quick in operation, starting up in around two seconds and taking three shots every 10 seconds. Without the flash and in good lighting results are sharp, detailed and generally well metered though close inspection shows nearly all shots are quite noisy regardless of lighting conditions. The flash, which has a range of least four metres, does a great good job in darker situations though. Video is only shot at 640 x 480 but runs at 30fps and is plenty good enough for casual clips. The LED lamp, along with the night mode also does an excellent job in the dark.
Features include touch focussing, panorama mode, bestpic (which takes nine photos in quick succession, albeit at a lower resolution, allowing you to pick out the best one), and smile detection. You can also adjust exposure and set the flash to red-eye reduction mode. You get eight scene modes including one for snow, which as you can see from our samples makes a big difference. All told this is easily equal to a basic dedicated compact camera and beats much of the phone competition hands down.
As a phone, the Satio is perfectly capable, providing good quality audio through to both listener and caller. We also had no problems with signal drop outs. As for battery life, it does drain fairly quickly if you’re regularly browsing the web, using the camera, and watching video but you should still get a couple of days out of it.
The Sony Ericsson Satio U1i is a very capable camera and multimedia phone. Its camera is among the best you can get on a phone and is certainly a rival to entry level dedicated compacts. Meanwhile the large screen makes for a great multimedia viewing platform. However, the clunky interface, below par build quality and basic email facilities severely dent its value.
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