Sony Ericsson Yari review: Move to play

GSMArena team, 02 February 2010.
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User interface

The Sony Ericsson Yari interface is the regular Sony Ericsson feature phone UI and it is still used in most of their top handsets.

The standby screen is arranged in the usual manner with information on top indicating signal strength, currently used data carrier and battery status. At the bottom of the display just above the context keys are their labels.

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The minimalist Sony Ericsson home screen

The options for the menu layout are the standard foursome - theme-dependent, 3 x 4 grid of icons, rotating view and single icon view. There's nothing that we haven't seen before.

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The menu layout options

The well-known Activity menu offers quick access to a user-defined list of favorite features, web, recent events and, of course, the Running Apps tab that takes care of multitasking.

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The Activity menu: a nice way of handling shortcuts and multitasking

Flight mode can only work with a SIM card in the device and requires a restart.

The interface is visually appealing and snappy. The Sony Ericsson Yari features an inbuilt accelerometer so auto rotation is enabled, but it only works in the Media Center.

The Sony Ericsson Yari supports Flash Lite themes, which change the color scheme and wallpaper. Our handset has four themes preinstalled: Cranberry white, Silver grey, Clarity and Unlimited.

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Some of the preinstalled themes

We experienced some lags in the otherwise smooth and visually elaborate interface – mostly in the Photo gallery – but we have no other major complaints about system behavior.

As before, you can also use an application as a background instead of an actual image. There’s another app – Game Carousel – which places a strip of shortcuts of the currently installed games.

To browse the Game Carousel, you press the left soft key (the one that otherwise launches the Media menu). You can either use the D-pad or tilt the phone to get the game icons roll left or right thanks to the accelerometer. Game Carousel is an interesting addition that freshens up the old interface a bit and also serves to underline the gaming slant of the phone.

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The Game Carousel in action

A phonebook we already know

The phonebook has space for 1000 contacts and 7000 numbers. You can choose to view contacts in the phone memory or on SIM, but not both. Either way you can set up the phone to autosave to SIM all contacts that are being saved to the phone memory. You can also back up your entire contact list on the memory card and restore it from there.

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The Sony Ericsson Yari phonebook

The name of the contact is written in only one field, but you still have the option to sort contacts by first or last name. The phone guesses which is which and it does it very well. Naturally, you can search by gradual typing.

Editing a contact employs a tabbed interface that’s well known to anyone that has used a Sony Ericsson handset in the past couple of years. There are five tabs that group related contact details. The first tab is for names and numbers, next up is web addresses such as e-mails and URLs. The third tab is for storing a picture, a custom ringtone, group, message tone and voice command, the fourth is for postal details and finally the fifth has fields for a note and a birthday (which you can add to the Calendar too).

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Tabs keep things in order

Telephony: bad signal reception

The Yari unit we tested had poor signal reception and the line was constantly dropping when the signal was low. The call volume even at the highest setting is very quiet. Overall, the Yari doesn’t score very high in what should be its primary function – phone calls.

The Yari offers videocall functionality thanks to its secondary camera, but that’s a small consolation.

Smart dialing or “Smart Search” as Sony Ericsson call it, is a great boost to usability. It looks up contacts whose numbers contain the digits you have typed or whose names begin with the corresponding letters.

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Smart dialing makes life a lot easier

The tabbed Call Log application should be familiar too if you've used a fairly recent Sony Ericsson handset. It displays in four tabs, including All, Answered (Received), Dialed and Missed. When there are several calls made to or from a single contact, only the last one gets displayed.

In our traditional speakerphone test with Sony Ericsson Yari scored a Very Good mark. You should have no problems hearing it in all but the noisiest environments. The vibration strength was quite low however. Here is how it compares to some of the other handsets we have tested. You can find information on the actual testing process, along with the full list of tested devices here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Nokia X365.7 66.266.6Below Average
LG BL20 New Chocolate66.566.273.7Average
Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH70.166.775.8Good
Sony Ericsson Yari75.7 69.576.7Very Good
Samsung S5230 Star82.776.080.2Excellent

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