Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Sony Ericsson Z310i
- Design, external display, light effects and icon indicators
- In-call quality could be improved, no included USB cable, no 3.5mm headphone jack, no memory expansion slot, poor display
The Z310i is a solid, if not remarkable phone. If you are on a budget, it may be worth a look but the lack of memory and a poor display diminish its appeal.
Price$ 249.00 (AUD)
The Sony Ericsson Z310i is an entry level handset that features a compact, stylish design together with some funky light effects, handy notification icons and an external display, which becomes camouflaged when not in use.
We were a little disappointed with the in-call quality of the Z310i. Conversations sound a little distant and aren't crisp. Volume is more than adequate, but the overall performance of the Z310i for voice calls is a little disappointing. Thankfully, the hands-free speakerphone works well, although it struggles noisy situations, such as when in a car due to wind noise. The Z310 includes basic phone features such as a 1000-entry phone book and polyphonic ring tones.
The Z310i has Bluetooth, infrared and USB connectivity, so it's well served in this department despite the low price tag. Unfortunately there is no included USB cable in the sales package, and no PC Suite software disc is included in the sales package. Instead, users will have to download this, free from the Sony Ericsson website.
PIM functions are available in the form of a calendar, note taker, stopwatch, calculator and alarm clock. Although the Z310i isn't a Walkman branded phone, access is provided to Sony Ericsson's PlayNow service, an iTunes-like MP3 store. Music can be downloaded directly to the phone in either MP3 or AAC format. Unfortunately the Z310i doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you'll need to listen to tunes using a pair of proprietary headphones, or purchase an adapter (neither is supplied). Further, there is only 14MB of internal memory and no memory expansion slot.
Reflecting this model's price tag, the Z310i only comes with a VGA camera that shoots at a resolution of 640 x 480. However, it does include a host of features, such as black and white, sepia, and negative effects, as well as a night mode. None of these are enough to improve the poor quality of the pictures, but the camera is enough for a few light-hearted happy snaps. The Z310i also includes SMS, MMS and email messaging with T9 predictive text input, while other features include WAP 2.0, a sound recorder, and Java support.
The clamshell Z310i is sleek and stylish, thanks to a "jetset black" finish with a white trim. The front of the handset has a glossy, almost mirror like surface that hides a monochrome external display. The display camouflages into the design of the Z310i when not in use, but appears white when activated. Conveniently, the Z310i uses a row of icon indicators above the screen; an arrow for missed calls, a letter for new messages, a lightning bolt for charging and a musical icon for silent mode. The Z310i also includes light effects, and users can also change themes at a specified time; day and night for example.
Flipped open, the Z310i's keypad is well spaced out and comfortable, and the backlight in between each key adds to the light effects. The buttons are easy to press and the spacing ensures that typing long messages or emails is quite comfortable. Controls consist of a five-way navigational pad, two selection buttons and dedicated keys for back, clear, shortcuts and power on/off, while a volume control is located on the left side. The Z310i has a 262k colour display with a resolution of 128 x 160 pixels. We felt the screen lacked the sharpness and crispness of most displays on other competing handsets, so it's not ideal for displaying photos or watching video.
Battery life is solid according to Sony Ericsson figures of up to seven hours talk time and 300 hours of standby time. We found it necessary to charge the unit every two or three nights, depending on usage patterns.
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