The Sony Ericsson F305's main claim to fame is that it features motion-controlled games, which you play by waving the handset around, much like a Nintendo Wii controller. The phone is aimed at the budget end of the market. It's available for free on a £20-per-month contract or can be picked up for around £50 on a pay-as-you-go deal. You can also buy it for around £100 SIM-free.
Cute but sturdy
Like many of Sony Ericsson's budget phones, the F305 has more rounded edges than the company's higher-end handsets. This, combined with the glossy white, plastic finish, gives it a cuter, more feminine look. The handset sports a slider design that gives it a relatively upmarket air, especially as the slider mechanism feels quite sturdy.
The phone's screen isn't wonderful, with a low resolution of just 220x176 pixels. But it's much better than the screen on Sony Ericsson's other budget slider phone, the W205 Walkman, and it's quite bright and easy to read, so it's more than acceptable on a handset in this price range.
The slide-out keypad is rather small and has a flat membrane rather than individual keys, but it's still quite responsive. As long as you don't have fingers like a gorilla's, you shouldn't have much problem using it for texting.
Sony Ericsson has made a big deal of this phone's motion-controlled games. The games are very basic, however, and, unlike the Wii controller, the handset doesn't have a built-in accelerometer. Instead, it uses the camera to detect motion. There are 11 games pre-loaded on the phone, but only three of these have motion controls: a horse-racing game, a bowling game and a fishing game. The motion control doesn't actually work that well and, as the games are so basic, you'll be bored of them after only a couple of goes.
In contrast, the phone's music player is quite good. It can deal with both the MP3 and AAC file formats, and provides you with a five-band equaliser, plus a stereo-widening effect that does a good job of expanding the stereo image. The supplied headphones connect to the proprietary Sony Ericsson charging port, so you can't swap them for your own cans without purchasing an adaptor cable. This is a shame, as the headphones aren't that great. They're on the quiet side and also too heavily weighted towards the treble end of the spectrum, so tracks lack bass and tend to sound too tinny.
Another issue is that Sony Ericsson doesn't include a USB cable in the box, so you have to transfer tracks to the phone via Bluetooth, which can take ages. You're likely to get fed up of waiting for Bluetooth transfers to complete, and find yourself having to shell out for the proprietary USB cable.
The phone's camera is a very basic, 2-megapixel affair with no flash or autofocus. The photos it takes are really only useful for adding snapshots to your contacts book. When they're transferred to a PC, blue fringing on sharp edges becomes very apparent.
As with most Sony Ericsson handsets, we found the call quality excellent, thanks to the crisp, clear earpiece and good mic. The F305 also has good battery life, perhaps because it lacks support for battery-sapping 3G (you're stuck with slower GPRS or Edge for picking up email and using the Web browser). Sony Ericsson quotes a talk time of 8 hours, which seems about right to us, as we got 2.5 days of use out of the F305 before it needed recharging.
The Sony Ericsson F305's motion-controlled games are something of a gimmick and so basic that you're likely to quickly tire of them. In other respects, it's a decent budget phone with a good-looking design, impressive call quality and surprisingly good battery life. As such, it's a sensible budget buy.
Edited by Charles Kloet