Design is not just about looks, it's also about how easy the interface is to use. The Z1010's clamshell design opens up to a large 65K colour 176 x 220 pixel display TFT screen with a VGA video camera for video calls that sits under the screen. Another camera (VGA stills/QCIF video) is found at the back of the clamshell while a smaller grey-scale screen is located on the outside front of the handset for status information on signal strength, time, date, battery level, called ID, message alerts and music playback info when the phone is closed.
At 117 grams and 96 x 47 x 28mm, it's a tad lighter than 3's LG U8110, but still appears like a reasonably bulky mobile. The four-way navigation key makes it easy to go through the phone's icon menu system with a finger or thumb. Plus, you can choose a shortcut for each direction on the nav-key as well, making favourites more accessible.
The Sony Ericsson Z1010 simplifies the messaging process with a single inbox for all SMS, EMS, MMS and video MMS messages.
The keys are big enough so that even the biggest of fingers will not have a problem typing a message. The screen is bright in a range of lighting conditions, which is expected from a TFT 65K colour screen. Plus and minus buttons are located at the side of the phone for an easier volume adjustment when the phone is closed and the media player is on.
What separates this 3G phone from its competitors is its storage capacity and additional features. The Z1010's media player supports MP3 and WAV audio formats which can be used as ring tones as well. And if you are a music lover, then you would be using this phone as a portable player as well. That's why the phone's extra memory comes in handy for extra song storage among other things.
To complement the 32MB of shared internal memory built in the handset, the Z1010 comes with a 16MB Sony Memory Stick Duo card, which is expandable to 128MB. Users are able to save and transfer digital files across to any other Memory Stick Duo supported hardware from a mobile phone to a PDA or PC.
The Z1010 also offers the capability for three e-mail addresses, access for external e-mail (POP3) and synchronicity with Microsoft Outlook software via the USB port and Bluetooth. The new Sony Ericsson Z1010 also has infrared connectivity and speaker phone.
If you're listening to an MP3 track, playback continues even when the phone is closed and you can listen to music privately using headphones. The Z1010's Media Player can also handle MPEG4 formats so you can play music and view pictures, slideshows, and streamed or downloaded video clips.
The phone handles all common image formats such as JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP and is also compatible with Mac's iPhoto.
For music video fanatics out there, this phone would come in handy since it has on-demand streaming capability so you can check out a short sample of the clip before buying it. The Z1010 also automatically checks if there is enough memory to store the clip once it's been downloaded. It can also stream radio for those who just want traffic updates and weather reports.
During the testing period, there was nothing that hinted some sort of malfunction in the phone. The phone calls were clear, the text messages were sent and received, and the video calls worked.
The media player was also of good quality. Songs sound better with the headphones; we don't recommend using the phone's speaker to truly appreciate your alternative rock collection. Although the Z1010 is a tad bulkier than most mobile phones and portable music players, its size is not a hindrance and can still perfectly fit in any user's winter coat pocket.
The battery performance was not disappointing. For a user who likes music on the go, the battery lasts about three days with normal use of the media player (e.g. train, walking, etc) and voice calls.
Overall, the Sony Ericsson Z1010 is a refreshing 3G mobile phone and may just have a good chance of getting picked out of the amalgam of phones out there. Its red cover alternative (the one we reviewed was silver) makes it appealing to both sexes as well.
Sony Ericsson Z1010
Phone: 131 683
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