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Sony Ericsson Satio Preview
Mobile Phones | First Looks
Thu 30 Jul 2009

Sony Ericsson's Saving Grace?

By Sutlej Soin

Judging from its recent quarterly results, Sony Ericsson is heading for troubled waters. The company's second quarter sales plunged by a whopping 40 percent, resulting in a loss of around 200 million Euros.

If there's one upcoming phone that might change the company's fortunes, it could well be the Satio (previously codenamed as the Idou). Heralded by the folks at Sony Ericsson as the phone to watch this year, media reports have predicted that this phone might boost the sales for Sony Ericsson for the next quarter.

So what makes the Satio so different from other recent mobile phones from Sony Ericsson? We had our hands on a pre-production unit, and here's a hint of what the phone offers.

Sah-Tee-Oh OR Say-Tee-Oh

The entire front of the phone is decked out with a 3.5-inch 640 x 360 pixel display screen, which gives you more than sufficient space to navigate around with your finger. At 112 x 55 x 13.3mm, it's just a tad longer than the Nokia 5800, and is comparably smaller than the Samsung Omnia HD.

Similar to many other touchscreen phones already in the market, the Satio features only three buttons on the front panel - the call, end, and menu buttons. Slots for the memory card, volume control buttons and a 3.5mm jack are also lined neatly at the sides of the phone.

Not 5, not 8 BUT 12 megapixels!

The real star of the show is the phone's league of multimedia functions. For starters, the Satio is the first handset to deliver a 12-megapixel camera with auto-focus and Xenon flash with several shooting presets, different modes like Panorama and smile detection and just so much more. The camera flash also comes with an automatic red eye removal mode, and you can also choose to geotag your images if you so fancy.

We would really have fancied a high-definition video recording feature on the Satio, but we'll just have to live with the phone's maximum resolution of 640 x 480 for now. Music fans will be pleased with its media player, which includes FM radio functionality and playing videos on the phone, for one, is particularly gratifying, thanks to the clear and big screen. The phone also has connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, HSDPA and quad-band.

Going the Distance

The Satio is the first Sony Ericsson device to use the Symbian S60 5th Edition OS, which is found on phones like the Nokia N97.

As we received a prototype unit, we cannot comment on the phone's battery life as of yet. In terms of user-friendliness, this phone is generally intuitive enough that even those who are not tech-savvy will find it simple to use. During our time with it, there was hardly any lag experienced.

However, what rained on its parade is its on-screen keyboard, whose keys are so close to each other that it made it almost impossible to type an error-free text message.

Curtain Call

It might be a couple of months before the retail units come our way, but we have to admit that based on what we saw with this pre-production unit, the Satio might be what Sony Ericsson needs to boost its revenues. Not just a good looker, this phone has the brains to match as well.

Product Specifications

  • Network: Quad-band/HSDPA
  • Dimensions: 112 x 55 x 13.3mm
  • Weight: 126g
  • Display: 3.5-inch (640 x 360 pixels)
  • Memory: 128MB, expandable microSD support
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, TV Out, USB support, A-GPS
  • Operating System: S60 5th Edition Symbian
  • Camera: 12.1-megapixel, up to 12x digital zoom, auto-focus, face detection, geo-tagging, image stabilizer, video recording, xenon flash