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Sony Ericsson Aino review

Will PS3 connectivity make this a mid-range media marvel?

Our Verdict

A phone that looks great on paper, but a large number of bugs scupper it in actual use

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 55 MB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8.1 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 8.50 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 432 x 240

View full specification

For

  • Good GPS signal
  • Easy to use media interface
  • Decent build quality
  • Well laid-out interface
  • BBC iPlayer included in the box

Against

  • Laggy operating system
  • Poor battery life
  • Sporadic PS3 connectivity
  • Constantly updating memory card
  • High price for a feature phone

Media on the Sony Ericsson Aino is pretty darn good, as you can imagine. Well, it's not as good as the Satio, but the ability to listen to music in two different ways (when the phone is open and closed) is a pretty nifty feature.

We found ourselves mostly using the media player when the phone is shut, simply because we prefer touchscreens for this application. The capacitive screen was far from being as responsive as we'd hoped, but it was still slick enough when needed.

Music

The music player was a good effort on the Sony Ericsson Aino, with easy to use controls and the MH100 Bluetooth headset making the experience very nice to work with.

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The music interface was slow to react in portrait mode, although tunes sounded excellent over the wireless connection, and the whole thing sped along nicely on the touchscreen.

One major flaw was the inability to search for music to use on a playlist - we had to copy all the songs to a certain folder on the memory card in order to set them up to play continuously.

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Video

Due to the low resolution of the screen, the Sony Ericsson Aino isn't capable of playing a huge number of our videos we've encoded specifically for mobile phone use.

The only way through was to resize and convert them all using the PC software, meaning a couple of overnight jobs just to watch a movie on the 3-inch screen. The experience was again enhanced by the MH100, but not supported by an average resolution. We could understand these characteristics in a cheaper phone, but for something that's fairly pricey we're a little perturbed.

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Video access was OK, especially in touch mode, and scrolling through and all the usual options worked well. We wouldn't use the Aino as a PMP regularly, but if you're willing to convert the files then you might enjoy the experience.

FM radio

Witchcraft-alert - somehow the Sony Ericsson Aino asks you to connect wired headphones to act as an antenna for the FM radio, but pull out the Bluetooth headset and it will work fine. We can only assume that the MH100 unit sends the signal back for the FM radio to pick up - either way, it's clever and very much unexpected.

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The radio is simple enough to use, and once again makes good use of the touchscreen for manual tuning (even if it did keep switching itself off).

YouTube and BBC iPlayer

You know how these work by now - we like the way Sony Ericsson packages them in the Xross Media Bar for easy viewing, and we imagine finding BBC iPlayer on board is a great surprise for some people.

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SMILEY MILEY: Yes, that's a grainy Miley Cyrus. She's rapping about not being on Twitter any more. Kids these days, eh... back in our time, we'd have to phone people to tell them

We won't go into great depth, as both do what they're supposed to - YouTube mobile needs a wider range of videos, but BBC iPlayer brings a very solid mobile experience.

PS3 connectivity

As we mentioned before, one of the big draws of the Aino is PS3 connectivity - offered both over 3G and Wi-Fi networks.

The set-up process is pretty convoluted, with codes having to be issued by the base unit to be synchronised with the Aino. It then asks for your PlaySation network user name and password, and the whole thing begins searching.

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The first time we tried it over Wi-Fi it worked pretty well - OK it was very slow, but the movie did play OK. However, get a text or a call or anything else other than the connection and the whole thing starts to go awry, and the phone slows down so much you're forced to pull out the PS3 connection.

And it gets worse - it would not work for us over 3G no matter how many times we tried (and that was nothing to do with the poor reception this time). And when we tried to use it over Wi-Fi again, it didn't work.

We'd advise if you're really after remote play from your PS3, pick up a PSP Go - at least they work more often than not.

Media Home

But weirdly, Media Home does work. Install the software to your PC, make sure it's switched on and let the phone find the content you've dubbed as share-worthy from your computer.

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It's neat, and as long as you have Wi-Fi turned on (and the settings turned to auto-update) users can get easy and automatic access to their favourite content without having to mess about with connecting up the phone.

Why this is hidden in 'Entertainment' and not on the media menu we're not sure, but it's a decent application nonetheless.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCellular Phone
Network BandQuad Band
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory55 MB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA
GPS ReceiverYes
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Rear Camera Resolution8.1 Megapixel
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleSlider
ColourLuminous White
Brand NameSony Mobile
Battery Talk Time8.50 Hour
Product ModelAino
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Screen Resolution432 x 240
Weight (Approximate)134 g
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Caller ID
Height104 mm
Width50 mm
Depth15.5 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product NameAino Cellular Phone (Unlocked)
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer
Manufacturer Part NumberAINOWHT
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sony.co.uk
Marketing Information

Get all the entertainment you've ever craved on the beautifully crafted Sony Ericsson Aino phone. Designed to match your life, you can pack the Aino phone full of your favourite music, photos, films and podcasts. Then take your mobile entertainment everywhere you go to enjoy on its stunning 3" touch screen. The super-stylish Sony Ericsson Aino touchscreen phone comes with a matching Bluetooth headset and desk stand charger.

Limited Warranty2 Year