Sony Ericsson Satio Hands-on Review
By on October 26th, 2009

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Sony Ericsson announced their flagship handset Satio, at MWC, Barcelona. They kept Satio under the Entertainment Unlimited caption for its all round performance. Satio runs Symbian S60 version 5 OS, and competes directly with Nokia N97 and Samsung Omnia HD. Satio gives very tough competition to both. Satio is known more for its 12.1 MP camera and its modified UI over Symbian. After nearly eight months, the phone is available all round the globe and here is our review of Sony Ericsson Satio. Satio is priced at around 500 Euros ($750/31000 INR).

Unboxing and Build Quality

A box packed version of Satio comes HPM 77, TV out cable, USB cord, 8 GB micro SD card, Stylus, Leather case and BST 33 1000mAh Li-Po battery. Sony Ericsson is going environmental friendly, and does not include a PC Suite CD, instead the PC suite file is stored in the 8 GB memory card. For installing it just connect the phone in mass storage mode and install it. The phone weights only 124 gm, the reason is the plastic body. The phone feels like a feather in hand. We have the black colored body and the look is fantastic. The back of the phone shines and feel like velvet.

Phone Overview

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Satio is a fully resistive touch screen handset with 3.5inch display and a 640*360 resolution screen. There are three buttons below the screen just like in 5800 Xpress Music. On the right hand side there is volume rocker control which also works as camera zoom button.

At the bottom of the phone, there is a shortcut button to camera albums, and below it is a button to switch to video recording from image shooting and vice versa when using camera. The last button is the camera button to take pictures; it is surrounded by a blue led light, which glows when the camera is on.

On the left hand side is the button to lock/unlock the screen. Below it is the Sony Ericsson proprietary Fast Port, at the bottom left is the micro SD slot. The phone doesn’t have a stereo speaker and the only speaker is located on the top of the phone along with the power button. There is also a light on the top left of the phone which glows when phone is connected to PC or charger.

Features and User Interface (UI)

Satio Homescreen Satio Main Menu Satio Media Center Home Screen

Satio runs on Symbian S60 version 5 OS but Sony Ericsson modified it to a great extent. Kinetic scrolling is available in all Sony Ericsson modified UI like media center, favorite contacts etc. The home screen is modified by Sony Ericsson which has five standby panels (it can be changed). The first from the left is the favorite contacts, second is the internet bookmarks, the third is for switching to home screen, the fourth is the shortcut to camera pictures and the fifth has the applications.

Satio Photo Menu Satio Music Menu Satio Video Menu

At the bottom there is a music player widget which displays the album art with the most commonly used music functions like play/pause etc option when music player is minimized. The main menu is also modified and is very intuitive and good in looks compared to the other Nokia devices that run on Symbian S60 version 5 OS. The media center is similar to the media center in Sony Ericsson Walkman series handset and it also has kinetic scrolling. There is three options photo, music and video under media option.

Satio Now Playing Screen Satio Music Widget 

Overall the UI is far better than all Nokia devices with Symbian S60 Version 5 OS which is boring and looks pale. Text can be entered by Handwriting, Mini QWERTY keyboard, Full screen QWERTY and Alphanumeric keypad, we preferred Full screen QWERTY as it was bigger. Entering text was very easy as the phone was very sensitive. Handwriting recognition was very impressive as it detected almost all writing without any problem.

Camera

With a 12.1 MP camera, you expect Satio  to be an outstanding camera phone, and it doesn’t disappoint at all. Along with 12.1 Mp it also has LED flash for video recording and Xenon flash for photography. You can take pictures in three different resolutions, 4:3 by 12.1 Mp, 3:2 by 10 Mp and 16:9 by 9 Mp. The pictures taken are very clear and have true colors.

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Features like Face detection, Smile shutter, BestPic, Red-eye reduction and touch capture are also available, however the phone lacks manual ISO. Taking panorama pictures is very easy as you don’t need to adjust the picture like other devices. To take panorama pictures, click the first picture, and move the camera, it will automatically detect the correct position and take the picture. Video is recorded in VGA resolution @30fps in MP4 format. Video stabilizer and light is also available.

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Note: These are pictures taken by the camera the first picture is of a running fan in a complete dark room. The other three pictures are taken in 10, 12 and 9 MP respectively.

Music and Video

The music quality is nowhere near to the standards of walkman series handset like W995, because it lacks bass. The sound however is very loud and clear, just the lack of bass will be bothering. You cannot change the equalizer as there is no option available right now. The now playing UI is very good in looks. Video is played back in MP4 format.

Connectivity and Battery life

WAP 2.0/HTML browser based on webkit engine with Flash lite support, gives you a very nice browsing experience, however no kinetic scrolling is available. Google maps 3.0.1 and Wise Pilot are pre installed. One thing we noticed was that, the GPS was able to connect even when the phone was inside a two storied building. The only game which comes with the phone is Labyrinth which runs very smoothly. There is also a search option, using which you can search anything on the phone.

The WiFi worked effortlessly as there were no connection drops and connecting to a WiFi network was a piece of cake. A 1000 mAh Li-Po battery is not enough for this monster. The battery nearly runs throughout the day after a bit more than average use. Music can be played for more than 26 hours and you get 11 hours talk time, however, the problem arises when you use GPS, and perform heavy multitasking. The battery backup is average and is the only negative point in the phone.

Conclusion

Even though Satio has only a 600 MHz processor and 256MB of RAM, it runs very fast. The phone hasn’t crashed yet, and worked smoothly all long. However, the battery a bit weak, and barely pulls through the entire day after a bit more than average use. All over the phone performs very well in nearly every area, and is definitely an all rounder. The UI, camera and strong CPU are the major strength of the device and the only negative point is the battery.

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Author: Rahul Shah

Rahul Shah has written and can be contacted at rahul@techie-buzz.com.

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