Sony Ericsson’s S312 sports a retro look that is reminiscent of Walkman and Cyber-shot handsets. It has a mirror-like chassis and a two-inch screen.
The 3x4 keypad is difficult to get to grips with and the two-inch screen hinders the browsing experience.
The S312 is lacking in features. It has a modest two-megapixel camera, a radio and Bluetooth.
The performance of the S312 just doesn’t come up to scratch in today’s market, offering a frustrating internet experience and a difficult to navigate user interface.
Battery life was above average, and probably its strongest feature.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:57:33 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
With 480 minutes? talktime and 400 hours? standby, the Sony Ericsson S312 offers a decent battery life.
The two-inch screen has too much of a detrimental effect on features such as the camera and web browser.
There’s something nostalgic about the Sony Ericsson S312. Its pocket-friendly candybar design reminds us of the Walkman and CyberShot handsets that the manufacturer used to regularly churn out. The Sony Ericsson S312 is a world away from the large touch-screen phones that are now more common than an English footballer being caught with his pants down. It’s a back to basics, does what it says on the tin kind of phone.
Before you switch on the Sony Ericsson S312, you’ll notice a mirror like display that gives the phone a certain chic-ness, although it is a haven for grubby fingerprints. Fire up the phone and you’ll realise just how small the screen is: two inches, to be exact. A screen of this size will obviously have a detrimental effect when using the camera or web browser – more of which later – but the display itself is actually quite colourful and vibrant, especially considering it only has the ability to display up to 256k colours and 176x220 pixels.Below the display is a standard 3x4 keypad. Well, we say standard, but we actually struggled to use it. Firstly, the numbers are split into rows giving it a corrugated effect. While this may look appealing, we found it difficult to decipher each key without concentrating and taking our time. We also had our reservations about the gold trim that Sony Ericsson has used to decorate the circular D-pad. Colour schemes aside, we’d also have preferred a square D-pad. The reason? As well as acting as a joystick for your various menu options, a press up, down and left (bizarrely, right has been left alone) when in the home screen will access various shortcuts, which would be more easily achieved if it had straight, defined edges.
Camera-wise and the S312 is fitted with a modest two-megapixel camera and an on-board video camera, each with their own dedicated key on the right-hand side of the phone. Something that proved a big disappointment however, is that unless you switch the snapper into the poorer quality VGA mode, you can’t zoom in when taking a pic shot. The mini screen also reduces the amount of content you can fit in when taking your snaps. There is an LED flash, which will help improve night and low light shots, but we found Photo Fix had the unwanted effect of making everything too bright.
Despite relying on EDGE data speeds, surfing the internet was a breezy affair. Our real gripe was again over the screen size. Of course, one must expect a large degree of scrolling on a screen measuring just two-inches, but the whole process could have been a far smoother affair. As we scrolled down the page, the screen would jump and generally feel stuttery. The volume keys are used as the scrolling utensils, creating a fiddly process of accessing the zooming modes via the menus. In truth, there are only three zoom modes, and of course the more you zoom, the more scrolling there will be.
Despite the trip down memory lane, sentiment for the Sony Ericsson S312 failed to mask its shortcomings. The retro look is not enough to disguise some usability flaws and some below average features. It might have held its own two years ago, but it’s just another reminder of how far the mobile industry has come.
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