The external display is surprisingly nice. Strangely, it is only monochromatic while in Z520 the outer display was a CSTN 4K colors one. Nevertheless due to its orange-black combination the Z530 secondary display is very good looking and legible, even under heavy sunlight. When active, the sub-display shows information about the network coverage, the battery status, and icons of switched on features, time, date and the network carrier name. When the side volume buttons are pressed, the display shows battery information. Of course, Caller ID is also available, as is information about missed calls. The inactive mode of the sub-display can be set to display a digital clock but it's not very legible. If you're playing a song, the display will show the music player information about the length of the track and the current time progress. Also, it will display the artist and song names.
Sony Ericsson Z530 has an excellent network coverage and we experienced no difficulties with it during the test period. The loudness of the conversations is not very high but still on a normal level. The speaker is not powerful enough thus not able to produce crystal clear sound. The loud speaker, however, is a different story. It performs very well and produces clear sound without any unwanted noises.
The user interface of the phone is not innovative and the outlook of it is the same as in past models - just a standard Sony Ericsson non-smartphone interface. The main menu is a grid matrix with 4 rows and 3 columns with icons. When you move on a different icon it zooms in. The submenus are either in a list view with small icons on the left side or are in a tab-organized view. The Activity Menu button brings up a tabbed menu with 3 tabs: (1) New events (which shows recent calls, received messages, etc.), (2) Shortcuts list of applications and (3) Bookmarks menu.
Main and submenu • shutdown/change profile menu
The phone has 24MB of shared internal memory. The M2 card slot allows memory extension but for now it's hard to find such cards.
There are 4 available preinstalled themes on Z530. Changing themes changes only the colors of the interface and the wallpaper. The default theme is light-blue with non-animated wallpaper. The Bling theme is violet and features animated wallpaper. There are also the Floomasia theme (red with flower wallpaper) and the Goldfish theme (yellow-gold with interesting animated wallpaper). On our screenshots you can only see the Default light-blue theme.
The phonebook of the Sony Ericsson Z530 is very good and easy to use. The maximum capacity is 1000 contacts. The added contacts can be ordered either by first or by last name. They can also be organized in groups. A tabbed menu appears when adding a new contact. The first tab is for the name and number fields. The second one is for email and web addresses. The third is for picture and ringtone assignment, the fourth is for personal information like: title, company, street, city, state, zip code, country. There are separate fields for two different addresses. The last, fifth, tab is for additional information and the contacts birthday date. When you add a birthday, the phone asks if you want to transfer it to the calendar which is useful.
Phonebook list • adding contact information in different tabs • contact with assigned picture is calling
The phonebook interface shows up to 5 contacts at a time. Different phone numbers email and web addresses can be switched when pushing on either the left or right way of the four-way button. Searching through the phonebook is possible via letter-by-letter typing of the first letters of the contact's name. PC synchronization is seamless when using the Sony Ericsson PC Suite.
The Calls menu can be accessed by pushing the left soft key. It consists of a tabbed menu with 4 tabs. The first one shows all recent calls and has a maximum capacity of 30 entries. The second tab is for the Answered (received) calls, the third is for the dialed calls and the last one is for the missed calls.
Browsing through call records
Sony Ericsson Z530 supports Text, Picture and Voice messages. It also supports emails. The SMS editor is simple and easy to use. It shows character count when there are less than 10 characters left of the 160 limit. When you pass the limit, it shows a "SMS 2" warning sign, which means that the message will be divided into two parts. Writing can be assisted by a T9 dictionary. The editor allows adding pictures, sounds, melodies, animations and thus can create MMS messages.
Reading SMS • writing SMS
When you read a message, it's shown in 5 lines. On top of the display is shown the number of the sender and the time and date of receiving. The phone features a My Friends function which is something like Instant Messaging feature, but that's network dependant. All received messages (no matter what kind) are stored in the Inbox. Only emails have different saving location. The email client is typical for the recent Sony Ericsson phones. It handles attachments, you can send a picture from the camera as an attachment. The email client can be set to download only the headers of the messages to keep your data charges low. Several email accounts can be set up.