Sony Ericsson S500 review: Emotion vs Reason

Jan Horalík, 12 November 2007. Read the original review at
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Camera, multimedia and conclusion

The organizing functions are headlined by a detailed calendar, offering repeat options for the entries. The calendar can be easily synchronized with Outlook. The alarm clock has its own icon in the main menu and offers 5 separate alarm slots and independent repeat patterns. The S500 also offers a Tasks application, text notes, a simple calculator, stopwatch, countdown timer, voice recorder, and the Code memo feature. Among Java applications users will find AccuWeather and Audible. Both of these applications were featured in Sony Ericsson K530.

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Organizing functions are adequate

2 megapixel classic

S500 has a 2-megapixel camera, providing maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. The image quality won't surprise, but won't disappoint either. The camera would've definitely been better with a LED flash and autofocus, none of these is available unfortunately. Setup options are extensive as usual, including night mode, white balance, panoramic pictures, and user-configurable exposure compensation. One thing that hasn't changed is the video resolution. Videos are recorded in 3GP format, with resolution at the mere 176 x 144 pixels.

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Camera viewfinder and interface • viewing pictures with the File Manager

Sample pictures taken with Sony Ericsson S500:

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Digital zoom in VGA resolution only

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Night mode: on • off

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Three color effects

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Exposure compensation

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Panorama shot

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Picture Frame effect

The absentees: no FM radio and TrackID

The S500 music player filters music files by ID3 tags and is compatible with virtually all available formats. Running in the background is not a problem for it, either. Loop and Shuffle modes are available, as well as a stereo enhancement and equalizer setting. It is not a Walkman player though, so don't be looking for the shake control. Track ID is missing too. The biggest letdown is the absence of an FM radio. Comparison here is totally in favor of the Sony Ericsson W580 Walkman.

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Music and video player • MusicDJ for composing ringtones

The earphones enclosed in the retail package are standard quality. We regret to say they stand no comparison to the headset that ships with the W580 Walkman phone. Should you want to use a headset of your own, you will need to buy a 3.5mm jack adapter.

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A set of basic accessories • headphones are standard

Another entertainment feature is the standard video player. It plays videos in 3GP and MP4 format and supports full-screen mode. Already standard inclusion features for Sony Ericsson, the MusicDJ, PhotoDJ č VideoDJ applications are also at hand in the S500, allowing users to play with pictures and video recordings, and create custom polyphonic ringtones. The phone also offers two Java games: a version of the famous Tetris and a game that tests your ability to quickly calculate various geometric patterns.

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Two pre-installed Java games

Another key difference from the Walkman W580, Sony Ericsson S500 lacks the fitness application and pedometer.

The data technologies S500 supports are GPRS and EDGE, both Class 10. Bluetooth and the enclosed data cable are the data transfer alternatives. Mass Storage mode is available too. A CD with software is included in the retail package, offering PC Suite used for synchronization, Disc2Phone for transferring music, a video player, and a photo editing application. The Sony Ericsson offers a standard Access NetFront internet browser.

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Google search in the NetFront browser

Looks are crucial

Sony Ericsson S500 is a mid-range slider of slim design and daring exterior, which offers very standard, not to say unoriginal, functionality. Available for around 225 Euro, the S500 is easily challenged by a number of Sony Ericsson models offering respectable functions in this price range. Which way you will go is just up to you.

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Comparison with Sony Ericsson W580 is inevitable; paying a little extra to get this exciting Walkman is an option worth considering

The S500 will easily appeal to the senses, but the Walkman W580 could well be the more reasonable option. FM radio, fitness application, superior headset, and a 512-MB memory card are enough features to make the Walkman phone worth the additional investment.

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