Sony Ericsson S500i

Sony Ericsson's S500i is what we like to refer to as a "but product". It is a budget mobile handset that combines a very stylish look with a variety of features and good call quality to make a seemingly attractive proposition. But it is let-down by one very critical thing: design.

From the moment you get your hands on this product you'll understand what we mean; it feels cheap and flimsy. The slide mechanism creaks when opened and the phone groans whenever pressure is applied at the sides or front. Furthermore, we've seen many reports of users experiencing cracked keypads on this model. While we cannot confirm this specific issue first hand, it is entirely believable having handled the handset so we suggest you do some extra reading before buying.

The keypad itself is quite cramped and a little fiddly. Those with large fingers may struggle a little. Similarly the directional pad above is stiff and requires a firm press to activate. Of course all of that said, aesthetically the S500i's design is brilliant. Coming in two colours, gold and black, it is glossy and slick with blue neon lights that add a touch of the futuristic. The build is slim and lightweight and the phone rests easily inside a pocket or small bag.

In terms of features, the S500i won't compete with all the latest and greatest but it does the job for a basic handset. There are your usual organiser options along with a calendar. The music player is actually quite robust; a hand-me-down from Sony Ericsson's excellent work with the Walkman series of phones. It has shuffle and loop modes along with a five-band equaliser, although the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack really lets it down. Sound quality was quite poor from the included ear buds.

The camera has a basic 2.0-megapixel sensor. It has some cool features like white balance adjust and burst mode but there is no flash and the low resolution sensor captures some fairly poor quality images.

The EDGE network is your only real source of connectivity, but thankfully this is ample for basic Web browsing. Bluetooth is also obviously included, and supports A2DP for stereo sound through Bluetooth headphones.

Call quality was fairly good during our tests although at times there was a bit of muddiness and a slight echo on both sides. Still, it was generally adequate and audible enough.

At times we experienced some minor slow down navigating the menus, but this wasn't a big deal and functions such as typing an SMS were perfectly speedy.

One feature worth noting is the 240x320 262,000 pixel display, which offers a clear, colourful and sharp image. The included video player isn't particularly fancy, but it does the job for the occasional video clip and they look great on this screen. The unit only comes with a measly 12MB of included storage space for your media, but fortunately a Memory Stick Micro slot is available.

Battery life is quoted at nine hours talk time and 370 hours standby, both of which are fairly good figures.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Andrew Kliem

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?