Sony Ericsson Satio in-depth review -

 

Look and feel

An attractive touch-screen handset with a 3.5 inch display and minimalist design. Some may find a little chunky, but that’s down to all the features this bad boy is packing.

Ease of use

The user interface is easy to navigate and has some handy shortcuts, so the Satio is pretty easy to get to grips with. Hardware wise there are three useful buttons below the touch-screen, and you have the option to control the camera using buttons on the side.

Features

The Satio is jam packed with features thanks to the combining of the Cyber-shot and Walkman elements. No one can argue with the awesome music player and above average camera, and the TFT "nano-HD" screen is also top-notch for playing movies.

Performance

The key features on the Satio performed exceptionally well, although GPS did struggle on the odd occasion to obtain a quick fix and it did drop the connection a couple of times. We also found that we had to push quite hard on the touch-screen when inputting text.

Battery life

Battery performance was very good, especially when you consider the various power-heavy features.

The verdict

Sony Ericsson has produced a top-class phone with the Satio, and we love the fact that we finally have a handset that combines the best bits of the Walkman and Cyber-shot lines. Although there are a few minor oversights in terms of GPS and screen for example, this surely means we can expect even greater things in the future.

 Sony Ericsson Satio Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:56:14 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

8

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

10

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Great for movies and music, 12.1-megapixel camera with all the trimmings, including Xenon flash.

Cons:

Lack of app store, no 3.5mm headset port, chunky size.

Thought Sony Ericsson was just about camera phones and Walkmans that you could call people on? The 12.1-megapixel, media-packing Satio marks the end of that. Well, sort of. Sony E will still be launching straight up snappers and music phones, but its focus has shifted to multimedia handsets as of the Satio.

OK, so it’s not exactly revolutionary – we’ve always wondered why it hadn’t merged its two excellent lines into one super-excellent all-rounder – but in both design and features, it’s a great step forward.

Minimalist design

First up, you’ll notice the first touch-screen Sony Ericsson has done in awhile. It’s a 3.5-inch resistive screen that responds to pressure. Below the screen are three buttons – call, hang up/home, and menu. Pretty minimalist, but it gets busy at the sides – microSD slot, a keylock slider switch, volume/zoom control, and three dedicated camera buttons for shutter release, camera launch and gallery view. Surprisingly for a full-bodied multimedia phone, the Satio doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio jack, instead sporting that chunky port that Sony E phones have. While the bundled in-ear headphones are good, and come with an adaptor for your own set, this may put off the uber-audiophile (or simply someone who doesn't want to bother with an extra fiddly wire).


Navigation is a departure from classic Sony E, built around a home screen with a toolbar to Favourite contacts, Bookmarks, Home, Last picture, and Shortcuts at top, and shortcuts to search, messages, and media gallery. Though the touch-screen is generally responsive, it seems to lag just a bit in menus, when scrolling is definitely more of a drag than swipe action. Single taps launch apps, but confusingly, when inside the Settings menu, you have to double tap.

We've also got props for the accuracy of the screen. When typing, you can choose between a full-screen, landscape QWERTY keyboard, or a much smaller ‘mini-QWERTY’ that works in both portrait and landscape orientation. Though a stylus is provided, we never had a need for it, even in the mini-QWERTY. One nice feature is Conversations, which allows you to view your inbox as threaded SMS. Oddly though, it’s a totally separate app, and you can’t actually choose this view while in the inbox.

As well, small oversights like no auto switch back to alphabet after typing a symbol, and the fact that we did have to press pretty hard while typing, this wouldn’t be our choice as an email/messaging device.

Music

Here you have the predictable old Sony Ericsson audio player, i.e, awesome. You’ve got access to PlayNow, Sony Ericsson’s download service, and TrackID, which identifies songs then lets you buy them off PlayNow if available. The player works in the background perfectly, with a little display widget on the home screen. It pauses for message beeps, and fades out at incoming calls. Sony E has really perfected its music player interface and you can even send tracks via MMS, Bluetooth or upload to web. No, there’s no 3.5mm audio jack, but the bundled in-ear headphones are really good, with a nice suction that minimises outside noise.

Camera

Again, of a typically high standard. In fact, the Satio could pass for a camera from the back, and with four camera buttons for zoom, camera launch, shutter release and gallery, it’s stacking up when it comes to handling.
Photos look great on screen and the auto-focus works really well, with a touch focus option if you want to focus on some object other than centre. After taking a photo, you can Bluetooth, MMS or upload it to Blogger or Picasa. Yes, no Facebook or Twitter, but more services may be added in the future.

As we’ve come to expect from Sony Ericsson camera phones, its auto settings take great photos in daylight, when colours come out perfectly. Low light shots display clarity without being overexposed. But it’s not great with action shots, when a slow shutter release meant we couldn’t quite get the exact shot we wanted, but when it does snap the picture, the result has no blur.

A few extra modes pimp out the camera - the good old Smile Detection, capable Document mode and excellent Best Pic (the Satio snaps nine photos in quick succession and you can pick the best to save) to the average Panorama mode.

However, the video recording function is less impressive, and we couldn’t manage detailed shots even at a medium distance of 50cm.

Movies, Web and GPS

Where Sony Ericsson has made the biggest leap from phones of yore is in the screen, which displays videos in gorgeous clarity and colour. It’s not a top-end AMOLED screen like multimedia handsets such as the Samsung i8910HD, but thanks to a near-high definition resolution, it plays standard video clips well, and high-def movies look incredible. You can also connect the phone to a HD TV via an HDMI cable, and movies are still watchable. YouTube looks pretty good too – and you can save videos to the video gallery. Sideload them from a PC via the USB cable or download direct from PlayNow.


The proprietary web browser uses up valuable screen space with a fat options toolbar, but browsing is otherwise comfortable, with the neat added feature of being able to scroll through a carousel of visited pages when you hit the back key. Because the Satio runs on a Symbian operating system, you can also download the Opera Mini browser for it.

It finds Wi-Fi networks very quickly, but connects more slowly and dropped the connection a couple times. We had a similar problem with GPS and Google Maps; the phone was slow to get a fix, and slow to provide direction, but both these issues may have been due to our location in Central London.

Conclusion

The Satio accomplishes everything it sets out to do as a multimedia handset with excellent music and movie features and the same high-quality camera as its Cyber-shot line. While its web and GPS features have their imperfections, as a phone for listening to music and watching TV, the Satio checks all the multimedia boxes, and then some.