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Sony Ericsson Jalou
Mobile Phones | First Looks
Wed 09 Dec 2009

Cute but Unlovable 

By Sutlej Soin
(Updated on 10-12-09)

What are fashion phones? As we understand it, they are phones meant to make a fashion statement and are targeted at folks who want to look good carrying them. While it is undisputed that these fashion cellphones are nice to look at, are they worth their premium price tags?

Although manufacturers don't want to admit it, they spend a great deal on the design and skimp on the features. Past fashion phones like the Nokia Arte series and the Motorola Aura are very well-built handsets, but poor battery life and a lack of features make it hard to recommend them.

That said, the latest fashion phone from Sony Ericsson is aimed strictly at the females and it is actually a relatively cheap device in this segment. The Jalou comes after recent launches of fashion-centric devices such as the Samsung Armani series and LG's collaborations with Prada.

Just Another Clamshell Phone?

Aside from the quirky name (we settled on Jah-looo), the Jalou is a dwarf of a clamshell phone. Now, we have seen our fair share of phones and the Jalou has to be the smallest phone we have ever laid our hands on. Open it up and you will find a 2-inch display screen that also acts as, and here's the kicker, a mirror. Now, there is no excuse for excess food stuck in between your teeth. Really useful, we say.

Below the display is the number and navigation pads which are diamond and hexagon shaped. With its puny size, it comes as no surprise that the buttons are too tiny for comfortable use. The Jalou is only 84 grams so it's one of the lighter phones in the market.

But here lies a problem: if your handbag has few pockets, then this small phone will definitely get lost in your bag, and by the time you find it, you're likely to get a missed call.

Can We Have a Little More?

So what can we say about the features? It supports HSDPA speeds but we don't fancy surfing the Web on the tiny screen. Does a 3.2-megapixel camera tickle your fancy? It also comes with a music player but there's no 3.5mm earphone jack though there is a microSD expansion slot (which is tucked in under the battery and left us scratching our heads) for you to store your music or just save your images to.

The Jalou also comes in a Dolce & Gabbana edition (in Sparkling Rose color) that has everything D&G related, including themes, wallpapers, pictures and and even three silky rose satin D&G bags to protect the phone. Though expensive at S$988, this sweet D&G dialer adds some style mileage to this device, just like how the special edition D&G Motorola RAZR that was released a few years ago was every fashionista's wet dream.

The Final Say

So in reality, how many women would actually fork out the dough just to get it? We were itching to find out and so we went around the offices asking our female colleagues on what they really thought of this phone. The general consensus was that while the Jalou scored in the cute department, it was definitely not a phone they would get anytime soon, as it just wasn't practical or user-friendly.

At S$438 without contract, it is affordable but it's not our favorite fashion phone either. As much as it's marketed as a fashion phone, we think that it has crossed the line this time between fashion and usability.

Product Specifications

  • Network: Quad-band/HSDPA
  • Display: 2-inch
  • Connectivity: Stereo Bluetooth
  • Battery Capacity: 930mAh
  • Memory: 100MB (Internal, microSD)
  • Camera: 3.2-megapixel
  • Standby Time: 350 hours
  • Talk Time: 7 hours
  • Dimensions: 73 x 45 x 18.2mm  
  • Weight: 84 grams 
  • Price: S$438