“It’s a Sony” – that iconic tagline is so familiar to many of us, isn’t it? And its fair share of setbacks in recent years notwithstanding, the Japanese company still remains a household name worldwide – thanks in no small measure to the cult following resulting from its legendary Walkman portable music player and a whole array of impressive cameras.
So when the firm tied up with Ericsson almost a decade back to jointly manufacture cell phones, the idea was clear – combine the Swedish telecommunications giant’s expertise in the communications space with Sony’s prowess in consumer electronics. And what a combination it has proven to be! Sony Ericsson has been the pioneer in the handset industry in more than one way, launching the first ever music-centric series phones in 2005 (remember the W800i – the first of the W-series Walkman phones capable of 30 hours of music playback – with a ‘W’ button which once pressed opens the media center?).
Even camera-centric cell phones have been given a major push by Sony Ericsson over the past five years – starting with the K750i (having a 2-megapixel camera) in 2005; the K850i (the joint venture’s first 5MP camera handset) in 2007; the C905 (the world’s first 8MP phone) in 2008; and the Satio, the first 12MP camera phone in May 2009.
So what are the best Sony Ericsson models available in the Indian market today? Well, we have identified five handsets around five distinct parameters: Music, camera, high definition video, social networking and Android. Take your pick!
Price: Rs. 27,595
What you get: The W995 Walkman phone is Sony Ericsson’s best music-focused handset available in India currently.
Weighing 113 grams, this black beauty features Sony’s iconic Walkman player. The device’s Clear Stereo technology gives you excellent audio quality by significantly reducing leakage between the left & right channels. Plus, enjoy distortion-free, deeper bass sounds over a wide distance – thanks to a Clear Bass feature on the W995. Related: More music phones in India
What’s more, a SensMe option lets you select songs from a two-axed mood map, and create your own customized playlists according to your tempo and mood – slow or fast, happy or sad.
A Media Go feature on the Sony Ericsson W995 allows music lovers to transfer media files between their handset and PC via drag and drop, and also automatically converts films and music files to generate the optimum quality.
Audiophiles get the universal 3.5 mm audio jack and support for Bluetooth stereo with A2DP (to wirelessly listen to songs from the phone, without having to plug in earphones).
Other interesting features of the Sony Ericsson W995 include Album art (one can choose songs by scanning CD album arts or other pictures); PlayNow (lets you download music and games to your device); TrackID (gives you track, artist and album information within seconds of you having recorded a few seconds of a song); Shake control (allows you to easily change your tune by holding the Walkman key and then flicking your wrist); and Stereo speaker.
Price: Rs. 35,950
What you get: Weighing 126 grams, the black color handset is Sony Ericsson’s top-of-the-range camera phone for the Indian market. To start with, a 12.1-megapixel camera with auto focus, Xenon flash and 16x digital zoom should get you going. Related: Top camera phones
Sporting a 3.5-inch, 16,777,216 color, 16:9 ratio TFT touchscreen that renders 360 x 640 pixel resolutions, the Sony Ericsson Satio features Sony’s proprietary Face Detection technology that can identify as many as five faces in an image and automatically save them under your friends in your device. And how! This Face Detection feature will figure out for you the precise focus, exposure, white balance and even flash control on all those faces, making sure that your subject is stored with accuracy.
The Sony Ericsson Satio also incorporates the industry-standard PictBridge technology that allows users to transfer images directly to a printer, without having to transfer image data to PCs. All one needs to do is to plug his compliant Cyber-shot camera or Handycam camcorder into a PictBridge compatible printer via a USB cable, and he can then simply select the desired photo on the camera’s LCD display to print.
Other interesting features on the Satio include image stabilizer; photo fix (enhances picture quality by adjusting light balance and contrast after the image has been taken); BestPic; geo-tagging (lets you add location information to the picture being clicked); picture blogging (allows you to take an image and send it straight to a live blog); Red-eye reduction and Smile detection.
Price: Rs. 25,695
What you get: The Vivaz is Sony Ericsson’s most advanced high definition video-compliant cell phone presently available in India. This device, which can play and record HD (1,280 x 720 pixels) videos, can be connected to television via TV out.
Weighing 97 grams, the Vivaz comes with a 16,777,216 color nHD TFT touchscreen that renders 360 x 640 pixel resolutions, and has an intuitive touch user interface. You will get 75MB of internal memory with microSD support for expanding the storage capacity.
The phone offers connectivity support for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB, Synchronisation PC, PictBridgeM, Modem among others, and also gives you the universal 3.5 mm audio jack.
The Vivaz is DLNA-certified, meaning you can transfer HD content from this phone to any other DLNA-compliant device. Other entertainment functions include FM radio, YouTube, Video Clip, Java and Facebook applications, as well as 3D games.
Price: Rs. 16,950
What you get: If you are on the hunt for a top social networking phone, then Sony Ericsson’s aptly titled Yari (means ‘friendship’ in Hindi) is worth having a look at.
Weighing 115 grams, this black handset comes with a 262,144 color TFT screen (240 x 320 pixel resolution) and offers internal memory of 60MB. Get hooked onto your favorite social networking portals – Facebook, Twitter, Ning, etc. – easily with preloaded apps. And share your I-was-there moments with buddies by sending those pictures instantly through SNS apps. Surf the Web with the NetFront browser ((complete support for standard Web protocols, images and video). You also can stream your favorite Web feeds onto the phone in real time.
Gaming enthusiasts will find a whole bunch of preloaded gaming apps –FIFA10, LocoRoco, etc. – in the Sony Ericsson Yari.
A 5-megapixel camera, compatibility with YouTube, and Sony’s proprietary Media Go and PlayNow functions are some of the other things to look forward to in the Yari. There is connectivity support for aGPS, Bluetooth, Synchronisation PC and USB.
Messaging options include e-mail, Exchange ActiveSync, Instant messaging, MMSes, predictive text input, SMS, etc.
Price: Rs. 29,999
What you get: The Xperia X10 is Sony Ericsson’s maiden smartphone offering in India, running Google’s Android operating system for cell phones.
This 125 gram handset sports a 4-inch WVGA full touchscreen TFT display with support for 65,536 colors. You will also find an onscreen QWERTY keypad in this black-color model. The Xperia 10 is based on Android 2.1 OS (no information, though, available on whether it will be upgraded to Android 2.2 Froyo). Related: Android phones in India: Buyer’s Guide
Powered by a 1GHz processor, the phone comes with embedded applications, and offers easy access to the countless apps from Google’s Android Market store.
The Xperia X10’s user interface has two interesting features – Timescape and Mediascape. Whle Timescape compiles and sorts all your recent activity on the device (images/videos shot, messages sent, call registry, Facebook status updates, etc.) according to time. Users can also customize this function to block out specific activities or friends to see only what they want to see. Bottom line – no need for you to open loads of different apps to find out what’s happening. Cool!
Mediascape, meanwhile, offers an enhanced look to the phone’s media gallery – one can see all recently added and played media, or access his Picassa or Facebook albums in one go.
The Xperia X10 also gives you an 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G and GPS support.