Sony Ericsson Yari review: Move to play

GSMArena team, 02 February 2010.
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Video player does subtitles

The video player in the Media center supports fast-forwarding and rewinding, and the interface is simple and stylish. The video files are accessible via the file manager too. Display mode automatically switches when the phone is rotated. It supports the MP4 and 3GP video formats.

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Videos in the Media Center • playing a clip in portrait and landscape mode

The video player can also show subtitles, it handles the .SRT format. Subtitles are displayed against black background. We wish this was more customizable – options like text size, background opacity and so on would have been nice.

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The Video player can work with SRT subtitles, but only in landscape mode

The video section also houses the pre-installed YouTube client, which gives you full access to clips and uploading, bookmarked favorites and so on.

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YouTube is integrated in the Media Center

FM radio with RDS and TrackID

The integrated FM radio of the Sony Ericsson Yari has memory for 20 stations and supports RDS. It has a nice interface and makes great use of the TrackID music recognition service. The radio can be minimized in the background much like the music player.

Sony Ericsson Yari
FM radio interface

Flawless audio quality

The Sony Ericsson Yari audio quality is near perfect with spot-on frequency response and no weak spots whatsoever.

Almost every area of the Yari performance is top-notch and comparable to the best in class. It's the best Sony Ericsson we have seen to date and certainly one of the best handsets altogether.

Check out the table and graph below so you can see for yourselves.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Sony Ericsson Yari+0.02, -0.10-86.586.20.00550.017-86.2
Sony Ericsson Aino+0.03, -0.15-81.481.20.00450.157-80.2
Sony Ericsson W995+0.04, -0.40-89.189.00.00330.048-88.7
Apple iPhone 3GS+0.01, -0.05-92.192.10.00350.011 -95.0
Nokia N86 8MP+0.04, -0.32-91.090.80.0064 0.870-89.1
Sony Ericsson Satio+3.19, -2.91-84.280.90.0034 0.148-84.1

Sony Ericsson Yari vs Apple iPhone 3GS frequency response graphs
Sony Ericsson Yari vs Apple iPhone 3GS frequency response graphs

You can find more info about the testing procedure and more results here.

5 megapixel shooter with no contrast

As you already know by now, the Sony Ericsson Yari has a 5 megapixel camera capable of producing images with a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels. The handset is equipped with an LED flash.

The 5 megapixel autofocus camera offers a wide range of niceties such as smile shutter, face detection, macro mode, spot metering, image geo-tagging, etc.

Sony Ericsson Yari Sony Ericsson Yari
Sony Ericsson Yari Sony Ericsson Yari
Cybershot camera user interface • the Multi Menu settings

The camera has the familiar user interface. Its pop-up sub-menus enhanced with icons and the Multi Menu packing all the available settings are here to facilitate the user. The game keys also come into play here – the lower key (when the phone is held in landscape orientation) switches between the available scenes, and the upper key toggles the flash. In video mode they toggle Night mode and the Video light respectively.

Sony Ericsson Yari
The only place where the game keys are useful – they change the Scenes settings in the Camera

The camera toolbar gives access to shoot mode, scenes, picture size, focus, flash, self-timer, metering mode, white balance, effects, and settings Multi Menu. An ISO setting is not available in the Yari.

The focus mode has an extra feature - Face detection. The face recognition system allows you to simultaneously track as many as 3 faces but focus is locked on the one that's closest to the center of the frame when the image is captured.

Using Smile Shutter is easy - first you fully press the camera key all the way down to activate it. A small blinking yellow icon in the right upper corner indicates that the mode is on and the phone will automatically snap the photo as soon as it "spots" a grinning face.

The Sony EricssonYari is capable of putting standard GPS coordinates in images thanks to the built-in GPS receiver. You can enable geotagging (Add position) from the settings to add GPS location data to your pictures. A flag icon at the bottom of the viewfinder indicates that the option is activated.

The dedicated macro mode in the Yari allows you to take images from just a couple of centimeters.

Thanks to the built-in accelerometer the camera is also able to auto-rotate your images when you are previewing them.

There is one shortcoming that concerns the one-way camera menu layout - to reach the Multi Menu you have to pass all the other settings on the toolbar as it's the last item there. Looped scrolling of items on the toolbar should be an option, as with the camera interfaces of competing brands.

Image quality

The image quality of the Sony Ericsson Yari has a problem – the contrast is way too low, which makes the photos look washed out. The amount of noise is low, but even if you fix the contrast in an image-editing program, there would still be some detail lost. Between that and the noise reduction algorithm, most of the fine details are smeared away.

Either way, you’d need to do some post-processing on the photos before you can show them to your friends. The built-in PhotoFix option doesn’t cut it (in fact, it makes things worse) and there’s no PhotoDJ app for manual adjustments.

Sony Ericsson Yari camera sample Sony Ericsson Yari camera sample Sony Ericsson Yari camera sample
Sony Ericsson Yari camera sample Sony Ericsson Yari camera sample Sony Ericsson Yari camera sample

Synthetic resolution

We also snapped our resolution chart with the Sony Ericsson Yari. You can check out what that test is all about here.

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Sony Ericsson Yari resolution chart photo • 100% crops

Sony Ericsson C901 Resolution Chart Sony Ericsson C901 Resolution Chart Crop
Sony Ericsson C901 resolution chart photo • 100% crops

Video recording

Of course, the Yari is also capable of capturing video - VGA resolution at 30fps. You can use the LED flash in the video recording and the clips are recorded in MP4 format.

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Video recorder interface

The video suffers from the same general lack of contrast, but otherwise stacks up pretty well against the VGA-recording crowd. There are compression artifacts and the occasional doubled frame, but unfortunately this seems to be the current norm in the mobile phone world.

Here is a sample video (VGA@30fps) for you to check out.

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