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First impressions of the Sony Ericsson F305

The phone's novel factor could reel in the curious. But beyond that, been there, done that.

Reuben Lee/CNET Networks

Like its Sony Ericsson W910i Walkman phone with its "Shake Control," the Japanese-Swede's newest gaming phone on the block, the F305, requires some pretty frenetic arm aerobics to play. So much so that it almost launched itself out of my grasp during the hands-on tour. The piano finish on the unit, generously lubricated by now from the gummy smudges of journos at the CommunicAsia fringe event, imbued the F305 with slippery eel-like powers.

Sony Ericsson could well take a page out of Nintendo Wii's book by bundling a wrist strap to avoid future awkward lawsuits. Too bad the lanyard hole sits at the top, rather than at the bottom which would have allowed some creative improv. In close slider mode, this quad-band phone phone is pretty small and flat, about palm-sized, which didn't help with grip. As a side note, the black unit had a more visible oily sheen than the white version. If I had to go for a color, I'd gun for the latter.

So how does it work? There are three preloaded motion games--Bowling, Bass Fishing, and Jockey--to exploit the phone's Motion Gaming feature. However, only Bass Fishing was available at today's event. So away we went fishing. To start the game, you had to swing the phone in a wide arc to "cast" the line. Then it was back to ordinary buttons for gameplay. Motion Gaming was activated again when you were ready to reel in your catch, requiring a vigorous shake of the mobile.

This probably comes closest to the fabled PlayStation-branded gaming phone which has yet to make an appearance. In horizontal gameplay, the F305 is a pale imitation of the PlayStation Portable, from the cross key and dedicated gaming buttons to the X and O buttons on the right. Unfortunately, the phone's pocket size rather limits the screen to an unsatisfactory 2-inch gaming window. Though this offers 262,144 colors, Bass Fishing seemed far less vibrant than expected. Great loud stereo speakers at the rear, though.

So here's the crunch: Does it work well? Based on our short acquaintance, this being Sony Ericsson's first dedicated gaming phone, the F305's novel factor could reel in the curious. But beyond that, been there, done that. This'll require much more riveting motion-sensing games to make a bigger splash with gamers. In short, love: The use of motion-sensing for gameplay, the two rear stereo speakers, pocket-friendly form factor, and the optional battery booster. Didn't like: The screen size and smudge-attracting finish.

In all fairness, this is targeted at the bubblegum youth with its Japanese keitai-like glossy design and pocket-friendliness and will likely be priced to appeal. And given that it's an entry-level gaming phone, this doesn't look cheap and is a pocketful of goodies, from 3D games to A2DP Bluetooth stereo, from a 2-megapixel camera to media player and FM radio. Hopefully, the next iteration will do something about that wrist strap while offering a more sizable screen to boot. (Get more CommunicAsia 2008 coverage here.)

(Source: Crave Asia)