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Sony Ericsson Z310i review: Sony Ericsson Z310i

Sony Ericsson's Z310i is an entry-level mobile phone offering a combination of stylish good looks, ease of use and decent functionality.

Siddharth Raja

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3 min read

Sony Ericsson is attempting to capture a much broader range of users with its latest Z310i mobile phone, an entry-level model offering a combination of stylish good looks, ease of use and decent functionality. In a field consistently dominated by Nokia and Motorola, the Z310i is up against some tough competition.

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6.2

Sony Ericsson Z310i

The Good

Stylish design. Good battery life. Many customisable features.

The Bad

Small 14MB memory. No memory expansion slot. Poor screen and camera.

The Bottom Line

The Sony Ericsson Z310i proves that a budget-priced phone can still be stylish, however the handset is let down by a lack of multimedia features and will leave most users wanting more.

Design
The Z310i from Sony Ericsson mimics the ultra-chic look of its big brother, the Z610i, sporting a similar polished front surface that houses an icon display and a monochrome external screen. The handset comes in either jet black or lush pink and features a white band that encompasses its edges and surrounds the keypad and screen. Measurements are a tiny 87 by 46 by 24.5 millimetres, and weighing in at only 90 grams meant there were no complaints about it feeling too heavy in pockets.

The floating icons hidden within the mirrored surface display include a sealed envelope for incoming messages, an arrow for missed calls, and users can also play around with some lighting effects to colour code specific contacts or set themes to change according to the time of day. Sony Ericsson has included a USB port on the Z310i for connection to a PC but left out an expansion slot for memory cards.

The Z310i's keypad is well spaced with buttons that have a nice tactile feel to them, and is joined by a five-way navigation key. The display suffers from obvious cost cutting and pales in comparison to most other handsets on the market, even the budget ones. It has a resolution of 128 by 160 pixels and 16-bit colour, but the screen lacks sharpness and isn't as vibrant or as crisp as we'd like.

Features
As an entry-level phone, the Z310i is running low on the feature-list but does come with a few handy extras built in. Connectivity features include tri-band GSM, EDGE, GPRS and WAP support, as well as Bluetooth, infrared and USB. This latter feature can be used for connection to a PC but the Z310i doesn't come with a USB cable or any software. A full PC suite software package can be downloaded from the Sony Ericsson website.

There's a camera built in to the front of the Z310i, but it's limited to a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, clearly putting it behind the multi-megapixel cameras in so many phones today. Picture quality isn't one of the unit's strong points, but there are several different shooting modes such as black and white or night mode. Unfortunately, the Z310i comes with only 14MB of memory to store all your images plus any extra data files.

Basic phone features include speakerphone and polyphonic ringtones, as well as a 1000 entry contact list. Sony Ericsson has loaded the Z310i with its PlayNow music software, which can support MP3 or AAC files, but once again, there's only very limited storage space. Also, the Z310i lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack so you're forced to purchase Sony Ericsson branded headphones or use the inbuilt loudspeaker.

Performance
Call quality was good and sound from the loudspeaker was clear during conversations. We had no complaints from respondents. However, the volume is not very loud, even at maximum levels, and is easily blurred out when used in the car.

Navigating through the menu system is no major hassle and can be done quickly thanks to the additional sub-menu system, accessed by flicking the navigation key to the left or right. Another highlight was the Z310i's excellent battery life. Taking just under two hours to fully charge, our phone lasted more than three days even with our heavy usage.

We found the Z310i's mirrored finish to be very appealing but after a just a few days use it was covered in smudges and had some noticeable scratches, so this is not a phone to just leave in the handbag unprotected. The plastics have a high quality feel to them as does the illuminated keypad but the picture quality of the screen makes the Z310i look like a much older phone.

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