Sony Ericsson Satio review: Shooter by vocation

GSMArena team, 27 October 2009.
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Introduction

Sony Ericsson have long ago shown that they are not afraid of any challenge, producing handsets that have claimed a top spot on the market. There are still plenty of fans from those good old days that would love to see another market-leading device thrown their way.

A look at what's between the XPERIA X1 and the Satio is enough to tell you what Sony Ericsson have been up to for the past year. A top-dog Cybershot (C905) and an all-round Walkman (W995) were both compelling enough but none would be trusted to top the portfolio of a company that used to call the shots at the forefront of mobile technology.

So, Sony Ericsson might have been busy cutting costs, fueling the hype behind their new wave gadgets (Satio, Aino and Rachael) or experimenting with Symbian and Android. But there's little doubt about their full-time job. The Satio is a lot more than its mouthwatering features, full touchscreen debuting Symbian S60 or its 12 megapixel camera. It may be too much to say that all the company's hopes lie with the Satio but the burden on its shoulders is disproportionate compared to any other flagship device we can think of.

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Sony Ericsson Satio official photos

This review, by the way, is coming after a massive spoiler. But the good thing is we know the Satio is all geared and ready to face some serious challenges. An industry leading cameraphone, or top-of-the-line smartphone, the Satio has a clear view of its goal. But you can be certain that its path forward will not be covered in rose petals. Sony Ericsson are in dire need of fresh devices (and cash) and the Satio should not be anything but a bestseller. When you're trying to turn your fortunes around, you have very little room for error.

Key features

  • 3.5" 16M-color resistive touchscreen of 640 x 360 pixel resolution
  • 12 megapixel state-of-the-art autofocus camera
  • LED and xenon flash, active lens cover
  • VGA@30fps video recording
  • Symbian OS 9.4 with S60 5th edition UI, spiced up with a home-brewed homescreen and media menu
  • ARM Cortex-A8 600 MHz CPU, PowerVR SGX dedicated graphics accelerator and 256 MB of RAM
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • 3G with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 3.6 Mbps support
  • Wi-Fi and GPS with A-GPS
  • microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
  • Built-in accelerometer
  • TV out
  • Stereo FM Radio
  • USB and stereo Bluetooth v2.0
  • Web browser has full Flash support
  • Preinstalled Wisepilot navigation software
  • Office document viewer

Main disadvantages

  • Xenon flash is not adequately powerful
  • The S60 5th edition UI isn't to the best in class standards
  • No 3.5mm audio jack or a standard USB port
  • No DivX or XviD support out-of-the-box
  • No smart or voice dialing
  • Playing flash videos in the browser easily depletes the available RAM
  • No office document editing (without a paid upgrade)
  • No stereo speakers
  • No digital compass (magnetometer)

There's very little to complain about looking at the list above, but the difference between a moderately successful handset and a blockbuster depends on all the performance you can squeeze out of those features. And with the Symbian S60 touch reincarnation hardly the most heralded OS on the market, the job gets even more complicated.

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Sony Ericsson Satio at ours

The competition is at an all-time high in the premium segment, Sony Ericsson won't enter the battle unarmed. The sleek Satio knows it has a trick or two up its sleeves and is eager to show the world its worth. And here we are revealing those secrets for you, starting with the design and handling on the next page.

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