Of course, the phone’s key feature is its Walkman music-playing app. There are three ways to access this: you can just push up on the d-pad; select it from the main menu; or instead access it via the Media soft button on the home screen, which brings up the XrossMediaBar menu system where you can select the music option to open the app. As with other Walkman phones, this app is very straightforward to use. Your music is sorted by artist, album and track name and moving around your library of tunes is very quick and easy. The sound quality from the phone is surprisingly good, although the supplied ear-bud headphones are quite poor, so we’d advise swapping them pronto for a better set of cans.
There are a couple of sound enhancements tucked away in the menu, however, these don’t work all that well. The spatial effect tends to smother out vocals, while the equaliser only offers three pretty useless settings and doesn’t appear to have a user-editable option. It’s also worth noting that as the phone only has a meagre 5MB of free memory you need to add in a microSD card (which is not included) if you want to actually make proper use of the music player. The card slot is found under the battery cover, but you don’t need to take out the battery to get at it. On the positive side, there is also an FM tuner onboard, so you can listen to fatty Moyles on Radio 1 in the mornings if that’s your bag.
Perhaps as you would expect of a phone in this price range, the Spiro doesn’t support 3G data speeds, so instead you have to rely on the slower GPRS or EDGE technologies for data access. However, the rubbish web browser and rudimentary Facebook and Twitter apps won’t encourage you to make much use of your data allowance anyway. In addition, the phone’s 2-megapixel camera is very basic. It lacks a flash and autofocus. That said, outdoor shots look acceptable, but indoors under low light the results are predictably very noisy and grainy.
Nevertheless, call quality was generally good as the earpiece is quite loud and the microphone does a good job of capturing clear speech. Battery life is impressive, too, as you’ll get around five days out of it with light usage – although battery life does drop off if you start to use it for a lot of data access.
Overall, we think the Spiro represents good value for money. It’s sturdy and stylish, has a decent range of features for such a cheap handset, good call quality and long battery life. If you are thinking of buying it, however, remember to factor in the price of a miniSD card, as without one you can’t really load any music tracks on the phone.