Device Advice: Sony Ericsson Satio – picture perfect?


A lot has happened since Sony Ericsson unveiled the ‘Idou’ at Mobile World Congress including a rebrand of the company, a new marketing strategy that saw Cyber-shot and Walkman branding being removed from top-end handsets in favour of ‘Entertainment Unlimited’ and then the renaming of the handset to ‘Satio’.

We were also told that the Satio would pioneer the first release of Symbian’s long-awaited new OS. Sadly, it soon became clear that it would in fact just have the same version as the Nokia 5800, N97, Samsung i8910 HD and various other Series 60 5th Edition products.

Fortunately, Sony Ericsson has done the same as HTC on a Windows Mobile device and added its own standby ‘theme’ that hides most of the OS from view, giving easy access to favourite contacts, web bookmarks, favourite applications and media.

However it doesn’t display upcoming appointments. The standard S60 email client is used, which suggests the focus is purely on multimedia and not as a business device. A copy of RoadSync is included for users of Microsoft Exchange, but it’s now out of date and there’s no sign of a free update to fix bugs. Sony Ericsson has alienated business users with a string of disappointing UIQ devices, so perhaps Sony Ericsson is concentrating on what it’s good at.

In fact, UIQ was a better OS than S60, especially for touchscreen. The Satio comes with a resistive screen, so it’s a bit harder to use than the i8910 HD (or the forthcoming Nokia X6, the manufacturer’s first device with a capacitive touchscreen), but the OS doesn’t do itself any favours either.

Scrolling through menus is difficult and the on-screen keyboard requires firm presses to respond. This keyboard is easier to use in landscape mode. Although there is a mini-QWERTY keyboard mode for portrait,
the supplied stylus will need to be used to apply any degree of accuracy. For the text heavy user, there’s an alternative messaging app that shows threaded conversations, and another to display incoming texts on the screen.

The phone is fast though and once you get used to the screen, it responds well. Getting a GPS fix is incredibly quick and besides Google Maps, the phone also comes with Appello’s Wisepilot navigation software that gives full turnby- turn driving instructions.