Sony Ericsson Aino review: I know fun
The web browser preinstalled on the Aino is the same as Yari's - an updated version of the popular NetFront 3.5 mobile browser. It offers a much smoother experience than before and renders web pages more quickly. Almost every time it nails the zoom level for comfortable reading.
Plenty of shortcuts arranged in a tree structure are listed on the homescreen, right under a search and an address bar. They grant access to free content, such as clips, tracks and games on the Sony Ericsson site, including a step-by-step guide for setting up email accounts or internet connections. The appearance of the home screen changes to a different bright color each time you start the browser too.
Equipped with a mouse pointer, the new NetFront 3.5 web browser always operates in fullscreen mode and the four most important features are easily accessible on a toolbar - mini-map, enter an address, favorites and downloads.
Additionally, we found some other features as well such as mark-and-copy, allowing you to copy text off web pages.
There is also automatic RSS finder. If you browse an RSS enables site, a small RSS icon will appear. If you click there you can access all the available RSS feeds.
We really liked the simple web browser user interface. What we really miss though is touch support. With a capacitive screen on board the lack of touch capabilities is a shame. We'll say it again - the Opera mini was a joy to use on the touchscreen and it's just a third-party app we snatched off the web. It couldn't have been too hard for Sony Ericsson to do something about giving users better browsing options. As things are, the Aino creates a dilemma rather than a choice.
Another thing missing on the Aino is Flash support.
Organizer and apps
The Sony Ericsson Aino offers a wide range of time-management features. The Calendar offers monthly, weekly and daily views. When you add a birth date in the phonebook, the phone prompts adding it to the calendar. The to-do application allows storing of two types of tasks: simple Tasks and Phone calls. Notes are written similar to messages and the T9 dictionary can be used here as well.
There are two eye-candy additions to the calendar app. The first one is that the main menu icon shows the actual date, just like the iPhone UI. The other is available thanks to the bigger screen - every month of the year has its own cartoon background with seasonal motives.
The Alarms are part of the main menu and there are five alarm slots available. Each one offers a lot of options - you can choose to repeat the alarm on chosen days of the week or everyday. Text and a picture can be added to the alarm. Furthermore, the alarm's behavior can be defined in case the time it is due to go off comes while the phone is in silent mode.
The Calculator is the regular Sony Ericsson app. It offers the basic functions, no bells and whistles, but you can run the Converter from there. The stopwatch and countdown timer are also the familiar basic applications. The Voice recorder has no limit to recording length, making the available free memory the only restriction.
You can use the LED flash as a flashlight thanks to the Torch app.
As for the additional applications, Sony Ericsson Aino comes with AccuWeather, Bluetooth Robot, YouTube, Music Quiz and Photo Mate.
Photo Mate offers help and practical tips for getting the most out of your camera.
The Music Quiz is exactly what its name says - you have to name the title, artist, album or year of release of random tracks in your music library. Long story short: a part of a song is played each round and you have 5 to 30 seconds to guess.
As far as the Bluetooth Robot is concerned, it's a very basic app that you can assign as wallpaper. It has no menus and options, its sole purpose perhaps to detect and display available Bluetooth-enabled devices in the vicinity.
The AccuWeather application gives you up-to-date weather information for locations of interest. Current conditions overview and a three day forecast are available for a great number of cities around the world. You should bear in mind that the data is downloaded in real time and data charges apply. Not that we can think of any other way for the application to work but we still feel a warning is due.
You have 9 available slots, where you can assign different cities. Then you have five different weather information tabs - general, five-day forecast, two-week forecast and more.