As mentioned before, Sony Ericsson G502 is equipped with a moderately-sized TFT LCD screen of QVGA resolution. While this is far from the best on the market, it is surely one of the greatest in this price range. It has great brightness and contrast levels, well beyond what the competition offers.
On the other hand, we did experience the familiar Sony Ericsson display issue - poor usability in bright sunlight. The G502 is not the worst case we've seen but you need to spend some time finding a proper angle for working with it outdoors on a sunny day.
We are really pleased with the keypad of Sony Ericsson G502. Its ergonomics are great, providing nice experience, both for navigating the menus and typing.
All of the keys around the D-pad are easy to work with, even if their size may seem doubtful. The wave-like layout does help a lot, with enough space between the elevated parts of the keys to ensure good tactility.
The only problem is that due to the fact that the D-pad isn't a single piece but instead consists of separate keys, thumbing your way from one direction to the other isn't as smooth. This however is an issue only during the first few hours of using the Sony Ericsson G502.
As far as the alphanumeric keys are concerned, we are equally pleased with Sony Ericsson G502. These are moderately sized, but elevation and spacing between rows make typing quick and typo-free. The nice press feedback also earns G502 a point here.
The backlighting of the keypad is also strong and despite being somewhat uneven we had no problem handling the handset in the dark. It does however have a somewhat negative impact on the looks of the otherwise stylish Sony Ericsson G502.
The user interface in G502 has the typical Sony Ericsson feature phone styling, spiced up with a few contemporary features. The Media Center, the Walkman 3.0 music player, and the Cyber-shot SE v2.0 camera user interface, along with Flash Lite themes support, are all on board. In addition, the user interface is really snappy and that makes it a joy to work with.
The menu structure and looks of Sony Ericsson G502 are well familiar. The selected icon in the main menu is nicely animated and there are also a few nice transition effects throughout the menus. As a whole, the menu is an eye-pleaser although we have seen Sony Ericsson do better in some other devices.
The well-known Activity menu offers quick access to selected functions. The Running Apps tab takes care of multi-tasking. A feature we first saw in K850 allows minimizing the dialog window when you receive files via Bluetooth and opening the window on demand through the Running Apps tab. Strangely, this is not the case when you are sending content via Bluetooth. The Activity menu also offers quick access to recent events, the web menu and the My Shortcuts tab, which is a user-configurable list of favorite features.
As most previous models, the G502 comes with a dedicated Flight mode. When turning on the phone, you may opt to start it directly into Flight mode. The Sony Ericsson G502 cannot work in Flight mode unless a SIM card is inserted, unlike competing Nokia S40 models.
As far as customization is concerned, Sony Ericsson G502 supports those cool looking Flash Lite themes. With our unit we got 5 themes preinstalled and those are all pretty eye-pleasing.
Sony Ericsson G502 is equipped with a phonebook that can store up to 1000 entries with a total of 7000 phone numbers.
Contacts can be ordered by First or Last name. They are searched by gradual typing of the desired name. You can choose whether the SIM contacts or the phone contacts should be displayed by default. Unfortunately, there is no option for displaying both lists simultaneously. A cool feature of the phonebook permits you to auto save to the SIM card any new contacts that you're entering in the phone memory.
When adding a new contact, you put the different information in each of the five available tabs. The first is where you put the name and the numbers, the second holds the email and web addresses. The third is for assigning a picture, custom ringtone, custom message tone and a voice command. The fourth goes for postal details. The last, fifth tab, is for making an additional note and adding a birth date.
When you enter a birthday, Sony Ericsson G502 prompts adding it to the calendar and setting a reminder, which we found to be a handy feature.