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Aug 03

SE T610 and Gizmodo

Gizmodo is a good site for those who, like me, have gadgetlust. Incidentally I bought a Sony-Ericsson T610 a couple weeks ago.

It’s reminded me that I should follow my own advice and stick with Nokias. However, it’s slowly grown on me. The T610 has a bristling feature set, which was its main selling point for me. The screen is large and quite vibrant, and although some have complained the phone is virtually unusable in direct sunlight, I can’t agree. The display fades in sunlight, as does any colour LCD, but it is still visible. The clock that pops up after a few seconds of inactivity, however, is worthless due to it being too dim to make out in just about all lighting conditions. The call reception quality is a small notch down from the Nokias, but for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t make that big a difference unless you’re out in the bush. However, one gripe is that the SE doesn’t have a loudspeaker. The volume of phone calls is fine when turned up to the max, but I have come to rely on my mobile as an alarm clock, and my old 6210 had an amazingly loud alarm. I don’t much care for polyphonic ring tones (the T610 can play 32 sounds simultaneously) and was a little annoyed to discover there were no simple “ring ring” alarm or ring tones. When it comes to ringing, I’m very much a pragmatist – my only requirement is that I have to hear it. The camera takes decent photos for what’s expected of a mobile phone camera. There’s Bluetooth, GPRS, WAP, e-mail checking and all the connectivity I wanted on a phone. Unfortunately data rates are 2c per kB ($20/MB), and data charges are in addition to any unused call credits you have on your plan so it must be used sparingly. MMSes (pictorial equivalent of SMSes) are 75c each, which is not cheap either. The phone is a nice size, with a simple attractive minimalist design. Some would say it’s boring, but when Nokia keeps bringing out phones with weirder and weirder designs, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Battery life is heavily affected by phone usage, the average charge for me lasting up to 5-6 days, which is not stunning, but sufficient.

What lets this phone down the most is its usability. It is pretty awful, compared to Nokia’s time-honoured user interface. It’s just not logical, is really fiddly, and requires too many clicks to do simple things. Simple things such as setting up speed dial, and even sending SMSes takes far too many clicks. The joystick is a bit annoying too in that sometimes it clicks in when you mean to move it down or up, and sometimes it moves down or up when you click in. If you’re upgrading to this phone from a Nokia, it’ll be frustrating, not because you have to retrain yourself, but because some of the ways Sony-Ericsson makes you do things are just plain cumbersome and illogical. One example off the top of my head is that there is ample screen space on the default screen. When you enable an alarm, it displays the alarm time in the place of the date. Therefore, when you set an alarm, you no longer can see the date, even though there’s about 8 square centimetres spare where they could have placed the alarm time instead. Another flaw is that it doesn’t display the time of missed calls, if they were missed before midnight of the same day. The phone definitely needs more than the 2mb of memory it has, as well. I would have bought the Nokia 7250i, but alas it has no Bluetooth.