Sony Ericsson Aino review: I know fun
Excellent image quality for a camera with no settings
As you should already know by now, the Sony Ericsson Aino has a 8 megapixel camera capable of producing images with maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. The handset is equipped with a LED flash. The camera interface relies solely on touch - this should be enough to tell you not to expect anything fancy. We just saw how basic Touch Media is compared to the full-featured Media Center.
The Aino has a dedicated shutter key and it can fire up the camera of course - but only when the slider is closed.
So, the camera interface hardly had any other options than simplicity. Upon startup it displays a large icon (camera or filmstrip) to indicate the selected capture mode.
There is a simple settings toolbar at the bottom and some extra controls in the two upper corners. From the upper left corner you can change shooting mode, while on the right you'll find the exit key.
The settings toolbar is hidden by default. It only gets activated by touching the dedicated settings icon at the bottom of the screen. The toolbar holds a few basic camera controls - scenes, focus mode, flash, self-timer, image resolution and geo-tagging.
As to the rest of the settings, there are none. You can't even change the default storage setting - it is the microSD card if available or the inbuilt memory if no card is inserted. We are sure Sony Ericsson made that to simplify the touch-only interface, but a toolbar with some advanced settings would have surely been appreciated.
The Sony Ericsson Aino camera image quality is splendid. The amount of resolved detail is among the best we've seen in an 8 megapixel cameraphone and noise levels are nicely under control. The colors are absolutely pleasing and contrast is spot on to give photos quite a punch.
We are really pleased that Sony Ericsson upped their game, notably improving the processing algorithm over the W995. The Aino should be one of the first handsets to check out if you are looking for a capable 8 megapixel cameraphone. Just bear in mind that the image saving can sometimes be a bit too slow.
We also snapped our resolution chart with the Sony Ericsson Aino. You can check out what that test is all about here.
The Sony Ericsson Aino is also capable of capturing video - and it's VGA@30fps we're talking about here. The LED flash is usable in the video recording. The clips are recorded in 3gp format and take about 3 MB for every minute of recording.
The captured videos aren't as impressive as the photos, but still meet the pass mark. The resolved detail is not as much as we hoped and there are some duplicated frames, but considering how bad is the recent LG BL40 New Chocolate, the Aino is well within reasonable lines. We suppose we can even go as far as saying it's on par with what Nokia Nseries offer. Still, the Samsung S8300 remains our favorite when it comes to regular video recording (we're not talking HD here).
Here is a sample video for you to check out.
Extra packed connectivity
Sony Ericsson Aino is well versed in connectivity - all contemporary means of data transfer are supported.
Starting with the basics, there's quad-band GSM and EDGE support, as well as 3G network compatibility. The Aino has tri-band 850/900/2100 MHz support for worldwide coverage, as well as a tri-band American version at 850/1900/2100 MHz. Data speeds are quite high with 7.2Mbps HSDPA and 2Mbps HSUPA.
Local connectivity offers the obligatory Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP. Aino also comes with Wi-Fi, which includes DLNA support. Oh, and there's the wired connectivity, which unfortunately makes use of only the proprietary Fast Port connector.
Sony Ericsson have recently adopted the microSD card standard making it THE standard for GSM mobile phones. The card slot on the Aino is hot-swappable, but not easily accessible - it's hidden under the battery cover. It supports cards with a capacity of up to 16GB (it comes with an 8GB card in the box), which is more free space than we've ever needed.
Remote Play is the thing that makes the Aino so popular. The Remote Play compatibility is limited to PlayStation 3 only - there's no support for earlier versions.
Once connected to the PS3, you can stream some of your PS3 media directly to the Aino. You can browse pictures, listen to music and watch videos, which are stored on your console, or download them off the PlayStation Store. Even more - you can control the PlayStation 3 Home menu with your phone, without the need of a Sony PS3 controller.
Finally the Media Home app uses the DLNA capabilities of the Aino to share its media with other DLNA-enabled devices such as phones, home players or TV via Wi-Fi.