At 112 x 55 x 13 mm the Sony Ericsson Satio fits comfortably in most pockets without causing too much of a bulge. It's about what you would expect of a 3.5" touchscreen handset and the extra girth around the camera lens is not much of a burden, given the 12 megapixel sensor.
Sony Ericsson are still hesitant to publish the official weight of the Satio so our digital scales had to come into play. The handset weighs 126 grams and we are pretty certain the retail version won't differ too much. From where we stand 126 grams is just about acceptable.
The Sony Ericsson Satio body is all made of plastic which - as you probably know if you've been keeping track - we are not too thrilled with. However the plastic used on the Satio is obviously of very high quality and we've no reason to question the handset's looks and reliability. By the way, we can hardly imagine what a load the Satio would have been if it was made of steel or some other metal.
The front of the Satio is anything but groundbreaking design-wise in its segment, the 3.5" touchscreen taking most of it. Underneath there are three controls, a video-call camera, ambient light sensor and the earpiece on top.
The hardware keys are perhaps too narrow but still pretty usable, and blend well with the overall design. The keys in question are the menu button squeezed in-between the call and end keys, just as on the S60 5th edition devices.
The 3.5" 16M-color resistive touchscreen is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the device. It has stunning picture quality with incredible brightness and excellent contrast for a TFT unit. Images look impressively vibrant on it.
Resistive displays need some pressure to be applied to get a click registered. As we find out, the amount of pressure required is just fine - you don't need to squeeze like on some touchscreens. It is by no means as sensitive as capacitive displays but then again, the Satio can be controlled with a stylus or with gloves on.
The left side of the Sony Ericsson Satio features the screen lock slider, the proprietary all-in-one connectivity port and the microSD card slot. We were certainly hoping for a 3.5mm standard jack and a microUSB for data and charging but to no avail.
At least the memory card slot is covered by a plastic lid so it won't fill up with dust and dirt. Plus, the Satio is yet another recent Sony Ericsson handset to move away from the Memory Stick Micro M2 storage. We really like the way Sony Ericsson are going recently.
The right side hosts an array of camera controls. Starting from the bottom those include the shutter key, the camera mode toggle key, the gallery key and the odd one out - the volume rocker. In all fairness the volume rocker doubles as a zoom lever so it isn't totally irrelevant to imaging.
The power key of the Sony Ericsson Satio is located at the top, right next to the loudspeaker.
All there is at the bottom is the lanyard eyelet.
The backside of the Sony Ericsson Satio is where it gets really interesting. Not that the stylish lens cover we know from the C905 impressed us that much - it's what's hiding underneath.
The 12 megapixel camera lens is accompanied by both a xenon and a LED flash, so the Satio is perfectly covered in low-light for both still camera and camcorder mode. There are also a couple of tiny apertures around the camera lens, which we guess are some kind of light sensors.
As we managed to confirm, the camera performance of the Satio is nothing short of impressive and the handset can fully replace a mid-range point-and-shoot digicam. Definitely worth this spoiler, even if it is to be discussed in detail a little later in the review.
Removing the battery cover reveals the 1000 mAh Li-Po BST-33 battery. The battery is able to power up the handset for almost two days with Bluetooth constantly turned on and email syncing at regular intervals.
The general build quality of the Satio is quite good and the materials used are both nice looking and durable. The handset feels perfectly in hand and, contrary to what you may've guessed, the thicker upper half of the handset doesn't upset balance and comfortable grip.
So that's about it on the hardware now let's take a peek inside.