Sony Ericsson Z300i
- Good build quality, External Screen, Interface, Controls and Keypad layout
- Crystal Personalisation quite tacky, Poor quality internal screen, No Bluetooth, No Speakerphone
It's not a bad handset by any means, but instead of worrying about crystal pieces, perhaps Sony Ericsson would have been better served implementing a speakerphone, Bluetooth and a better quality internal display.
Price$ 189.00 (AUD)
No, we aren't talking about Sydney FC, Anthony LaPaglia or Dwight Yorke, but Sony Ericsson's cheesy new marketing campaign for their new bottom of the range Z300i handset. The Z300i's claim to fame is the Crystal Personalisation pieces that come bundled in the sales package; basically round crystal pieces that enable users to personally decorate their handsets.
Unfortunately, it seems that Sony Ericsson has focused too much of their time and effort on this rather trivial and useless feature whilst sacrificing more important aspects of this mobile, resulting in a poor quality screen and a lack of Bluetooth connectivity. In saying this, for its extremely low price tag, the Z300i is quite good value for money.
Our Z300i review unit was finished in silver and metallic grey plastic, was quite compact and a delight to cup in the hand. Gone is the unnecessary and bulky handle seen on other handsets such as the W550i and the flip mechanism feels sturdy and of a high quality. We were also pleased to see that an external screen is present, and although it's only monochrome , it is certainly convenient to see who's calling before flipping open the handset. This screen also shows a clock in the analogue format, which is a nice touch.
Flipping open the Z300i reveals a somewhat small and low quality 128 x 128 pixel 65K colour screen. While we understand this is a entry level mobile phone, in this day and age most handsets are full of multimedia functions, but images and video are a no go here; the display is just too small and not of a good enough quality. It also has an extremely poor viewing angle and is barely visible in any sort of sunlight. A big thumbs down from us.
Thankfully the controls and menu system are once again a delight to use. Sticking to the tried and tested, Sony Ericsson have once again come up with the right balance; simple and well laid out controls together with an easy-to-use menu interface ensure that this handset takes less than a minute or two to pick up. The keypad is also well designed, with the orange backlit keys highly responsive throughout testing. Notably, despite being an entry level handset, the Z300i includes volume controls on the left hand side of the unit; a feature rarely seen on such handsets.
Our main complaint with this handset is its speed. Unlike most other Sony Ericsson handsets we've reviewed, loading times are a little longer than expected and although most of the time this is bearable, it deserves a mention. Opening your SMS inbox and viewing pictures are two items that are fairly slow.
The Z300i features list is basic, as is expected. There is support for SMS and MMS (but no e-mail messaging), GPRS, WAP 1.2 and a fairly hefty list of PIM features including Calendar, Alarm Clock, Calculator, Stopwatch, Tasks and Timer. Vibrating alert is present, but there is no handsfree speakerphone, which is a huge let down. This is standard on even the most basic of handsets, so to not see it on the Z300i was extremely disappointing.
Battery life was fairly average, rated at 5.5 hours of talk time and 250 hours of standby time; although considering the lack of major multimedia features we did expect these figures to be a little better. Sony Ericsson has included an extra front and rear cover in the sales package, which means you can personalise your handset even further.
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