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Sony Ericsson Zylo review: Sony Ericsson Zylo

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The Good Good-looking; feels solid; familiar user interface; HSPA; FM radio; expandable memory card slot.

The Bad No standard headphone jack or USB port; lacks Wi-Fi and GPS; fiddly Web browser; PlayNow music store is pricey.

The Bottom Line The Sony Ericsson Zylo looks good but feels slightly dated, even compared to other cheap phones, and the lack of a standard headphone jack is unforgivable for a music phone.

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5.5 Overall

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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 Spotify 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.

The miserable proprietary headphone port, taunting you with its incompatibility with your lovely headphones. Bah!

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.

Social studies

The Zylo hops on the trendy bandwagon with a handful of widgets for the homescreen that display pictures and updates from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and a couple of others we haven't heard of. The Facebook one worked fine, but the Twitter widget never managed to connect. We also didn't find navigating the widgets very easy compared to Zylo's competitors, which tend to be equipped with trackballs or touchscreens.

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