Style and handling summary for Sony Ericsson Zylo review
A handset that manages to be featherlight yet not feel cheap, the Zylo’s matte silver design gives it a contemporary feel.
Sony Ericsson Zylo

User friendliness summary for Sony Ericsson Zylo review
An accessible grid interface displays your programs, which you control via the central OK button, and a scrollable widget toolbar for social networking and such.

Feature set summary for Sony Ericsson Zylo review
The music player is central to this phone, but the camera doesn’t really cut it other than as a token gesture.

Performance summary for Sony Ericsson Zylo review
The web browser can be slow, as can social networking, but the Walkman music player works very well indeed.

Battery power summary for Sony Ericsson Zylo review
The Zylo’s battery power is good, giving you 210 minutes’ talktime and 400 hours’ standby before you have to refuel.

Full Review and Specification for the Sony Ericsson Zylo

Sony Ericsson’s Walkman range gave the manufacturer a reputation for top-class music phones, but its handsets gradually got bigger and clunkier and metamorphosed into ‘media phones’. With the exception of the Xperia range, these phones have been average at best. With the Zylo, though, there is a welcome return to both the basics and the Walkman range.

Style and handling on the Sony Ericsson Zylo

A stylish matte silver finish with blue accents give the Zylo a sleek, modern appearance, with a 2.6-inch screen that slides up to uncover the roomy keyboard. It’s very light, at just 115g, but in no way feels cheap. The central OK key acts as a control for the music player and a multitasking key lets you view any apps you have open.

On the left-hand side of the phone is a volume control rocker and the dedicated Walkman key, which also works the camera shutter when you’re in camera mode. The camera is nothing special, with a 3.15-megapixel resolution and no flash or auto-focus, and even shots taken in daylight came out a bit grainy.

On the home screen there is a scrollable widget toolbar with updates from Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, Music Genie – a dancing game controlled on the buttons – and Walkmate, which is a pedometer. Press the central button and you get a standard grid arrangement with all your other programs in.

Music player on the Sony Ericsson Zylo

It’s disappointing that there is no 3.5mm audio jack on a phone that pushes music to the fore. Instead you get Sony Ericsson’s cumbersome port and a pair of in-ear headphones that don’t have an adaptor. But the bundled headphones are surprisingly good, and make the most of the impressive audio. Live music comes through well, and dance tracks are clear and free of feedback, if a little short on bass. There is too much treble, but anyone who cared that much would have a dedicated music player anyway.

The interface is particularly user friendly, and you can play your music in the background while you do other things on the phone. You can load your tracks from your computer using the bundled MediaGo software or download more from the PlayNow Arena, and the SensMe application will recommend tracks from your library that are similar to the one you’re playing, saving you the bother of choosing for yourself. It has to be said, though, that PlayNow is an expensive service: games and apps cost £5 – more than the Apple Store and not nearly as impressive.

Social networking on the Sony Ericsson Zylo

There are some good features on the Zylo, considering its price point. A front-facing camera allows for video calls, albeit pretty pixelated ones, and bundled software lets you back up your contacts, bookmarks and notes to your computer.

The Zylo supports high-speed internet, but that doesn’t stop the Twitter, Facebook and MySpace widgets from being slow both to load and navigate. The Facebook app shows you a news feed, profiles and your wall but doesn’t allow you to comment on posts. However, the homescreen widget is really good, displaying notifications, friends’ posts and a box that takes you directly to your status update.

Twitter is somewhat bizarre, showing tweets from random users rather than the people you follow. If there is a way to circumvent this we didn’t find it, but if you wish you can reply to the tweets from the home screen.

The verdict on the Sony Ericsson Zylo

For a low-priced phone, the Zylo has plenty to offer, particularly the music player and HSDPA web speeds. Social networking can be slow, but as an added extra to a nice little music phone, they work just fine. It’s a good-value Walkman with lots more thrown in.

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