The Sony Ericsson Zylo is like a blast from the past. Suddenly, it's two years ago, we're wearing Boho chic, and a basic slider phone with a proprietary headphone jack can still earn the beloved Walkman brand. But this is 2010, we're parking our jet car and listening to on our cheap Android phones, and we've got a load of little slider phones just like it in a drawer, waiting to be sent off to the recycling centre. The Zylo is perfectly acceptable, and could be good for someone who hates surprises, but in 2010 we just have to ask -- what's the point?
The Zylo is available for free on a £15 per month, 18-month contract, or for £90 on pay as you go.
Out of tune
The Zylo is being talked up as a phone for music lovers, but its lack of key features means it can't walk the walk. It doesn't have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can't use your own headphones -- you're limited to the cheap ones that come in the box. It doesn't have a USB socket, so you can't easily transfer music over a cable. Thankfully, it does have a microSD card slot that supports up to a 16GB card, so that's one way to get music onto the phone fast.
We're also not impressed with PlayNow, Sony Ericsson's music store. The songs aren't a problem, but the prices are -- expect to pay £1.50 for a song that's on iTunes for 99p. The store isn't fun to navigate around, either, using the Zylo's fiddly Web browser. We'd prefer it to have a more phone-friendly app on board.
The phone does have an MP3 player and it does indeed play MP3s. The music quality is adequate, although we couldn't test it with proper headphones because of the lack of a standard jack. The media player itself doesn't look too impressive. In adverts, the phone is shown with a retro cassette tape filling the screen of the music player, but in our tests, the album art of our songs didn't fill the screen that way.
On the other hand, like most Sony Ericsson phones, the Zylo is packed with little features that you might like -- if you can be bothered to find and learn how to use them. For example, TrackID records a sample of a song from the built-in FM radio, or through the microphone, and finds the details of the artist, song name and album. There's also A2DP Bluetooth on board, so you can use wireless Bluetooth headphones.