Archive for the ‘mobile phones’ Category

Sony satio: overall a slight disappointment

December 26, 2009

Overall Sony Satio is a slight disappointment. It’s not that it’s a bad phone or a failure altogether. And it’s not that it doesn’t have some good points:

  • The camera is no SLR or Lumix but the power it packs in such a small factor is great.
  • The GPS is great. Extremely quick to get and retain a fix and a joy to use with the large-ish 640*360 screen
  • The Internet browser can play embedded youtube videos
  • The music collection functions seem great. The heritage of the W series allows the Satio to just shine here.
  • Technology shitload: 12MP camera, FM radio, an excellent GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, HSxPA. The only phone that packs a similar amount of technology is probably the N900.

So what’s not to like? Quite a few actually:

  • The battery life sucks. I jokingly compared it to the iPhone but it’s worse.
  • The resistive touch screen. I’ve read some reviews swearing that you can’t tell the difference. They’re lying. You can. Even these reviews admit so much, when they claim that sometimes you need a stylus and/or exert more pressure.
  • The on screen qwerty keyboard: forget it. Don’t even try it. The onscreen numpad keyboard is the only thing that works. At least without a stylus (no it’s 2009; I will not use one).
  • The browser (1): the touch interface is a small pain to use for scrolling in most applications but a HUGE one when it comes to the browser. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to enter the page overview mode just to be able to scroll down.
  • The browser (2): it may be a full HTML browser but it falls short. My corporate webmail doesn’t work with it, facebook mobile seems to just crash it (after working for just one time).
  • The UI: while Sony has evidently done a lot of work adding their own shell over Symbian, it’s still Symbian. And their own shell is not that good compared to Sense UI or even the default UI of Android and iPhone (wtf only 8 application shortcuts?). And by the way, if something is not in the default UI, good luck finding it.
  • The operating system: I don’t know and don’t care if it’s a poor one, but Symbian has aged and contrary to a good wine has not aged well. It feels sluggish, slow and as if it was hacked to allow for a touch user interface.
  • Headset: Sony Ericssson seemed to be able to cram a shitload of technology in a quite small form factor but not an audio jack. A pity.
  • Application store: no, there isn’t any. No the Play Now arena is not even a poor excuse of an application store (though you can add support for the Nokia Ovi store and partially alleviate this problem)

So should you buy one? Well it depends. If you just need a convergent device, something that packs everything and the kitchen sync (media station, camera, GPS, radio, wireless, a browser and a phone) and for some of them does way better than the competition, yes you should. If you are looking for a smartphone though, don’t. Go buy an Android or an iPhone instead. Having played with the Satio, the N97 and the 5800 I am pretty confident that Symbian, at least in its current 5th edition, is not suitable for this generation’s smartphones. It’s just too bad that Nokia didn’t realize this earlier.

Sony satio: epic sync fail (almost)

December 25, 2009

From a first impressions perspective, Sony satio didn’t dissapoint. That said the trend didn’t continue.

A phone should be foremost a phone. So instead of rubbing the GPS or trying to figure out if the Satio is an excellent music station like the rest of the W series I hooked up the USB cable, mounted it as a USB storage device, downloaded the Sony Ericsson software, installed it to my Vista workstation, restarted for good measure, removed the USB cable, hooked it up again, selected PC suite mode and …


I think I wasted something like 3 hours trying to get my Satio to sync its contacts with Outlook with little luck. It was a funny little experience:

  • Connecting the phone in USB storage mode was not only a success, but the PC Suite successfully detected the phone as connected in USB storage mode (and prompted me to reconnect in PC suite mode)
  • Connecting the phone with Bluetooth resulted in the PC suite successfully indicating the phone as connected and allowed me to setup an Internet connection through the phone

Still, syncing my contacts remained an impossible task. Syncing contacts over Bluetooth didn’t work and the USB PC Suite connection failed altogether. Using MyPhoneExplorer (suggested by @poetic_justice) was similarly disappointing, failing with similar symptoms: the phone was not recongnizable via USB, and while it did seem to work via Bluetooth (I was even able to see things like latest calls) contacts sync continued to fail. Restarting windows a couple of times for good measure didn’t help. Blaming my Vista laptop didnt’ help, since things failed similarly with my Vista and Windows 7 workstations at home. And thus I had ended up with a 500€ Symbian PDA that was of little use as a phone.

When all else fails, flash a firmware upgrade (slightly paraphrasing @gmavrikas)

Having nothing to lose I followed the above sound advice. The firmware upgrade worked like a charm, as with every other thing except the contacts sync. I then tried to sync again, not really expecting much and in a typical Christmas spirit I exclaimed:

Now I have a phone. HO-HO-HO

Still it had been a severely disappointing experience. Syncing your contacts to a new mobile phone should be a straightforward painless experience, not one that brings out such strong emotions [1][2][3][4][5][6][7] and definitely not one that required a firmware upgrade.

P.S. Thankfully I didn’t pay for the damn thing. But that is a different story.