Entertainment is entrusted to the music player, the built-in FM radio and Java games. The music player is quoted to support MP3, WMA, AAC, AAC+ and eAAC+ formats. Tracks can be filtered by artists or listed all together. Creation of playlists is enabled. The player can run in the background, and features Loop and Shuffle modes, as well as stereo enhancement and equalizer settings. The equalizer offers presets and manual setting options.
Entertainment menu • music player and FM radio
Music can be enjoyed on the loudspeaker, or on the headphones you get in the standard package. The headset is the usual standard unit we've gotten used to with the Walkman series handsets. They perform commendably and can be used as a handsfree too, thanks to the wired remote and microphone in the middle of the cable. The A2DP-enabled Bluetooth makes wireless stereo headphones an available option, tpo. You can also opt for the recently announced HGE-100 headset with integrated GPS receiver, which make for a really intriguing accessory. The Sony Ericsson K530 is the first handset to be released with support for this headset.
Entertainment is enhanced by an FM radio with RDS functionality. The phone will automatically scan the FM frequency band and store the 20 stations with the strongest signal in the locality. You'll have to name them yourself though. Unfortunately, the radio features no equalizer, mono reception is available besides stereo though. Radio can be minimized, and can play on the handset's speaker, though the headset should be plugged in. It will probably be with the radio that the TrackID application will be most used for instant recognition of currently playing tracks. As we've outlined before, charges for the data transfers apply.
TrackID function • video player
Video player works with 3GP and MP4 formats. Video recordings can be viewed full-screen. Two Java games come preinstalled. One of them is about solving detective cases, the other is the well-known 3D tennis, now tweaked up to allow multi-player mode via Bluetooth. Already standard inclusion features for Sony Ericsson, the MusicDJ, PhotoDJ и VideoDJ applications are also at hand in the K530, allowing users to play with pictures and video recordings, and create custom polyphonic ringtones.
jBenchmark test results:
Typical of the Swedish-Japanese maker, EDGE is consistently pushed down by UMTS. There are still enough users around who will prefer the slower rates for the better coverage. So, in K530 you'll have to make do with the ageing GPRS class 10. Close range transfers are handled by Bluetooth and the Fast port connector. Once the phone's been connected to PC, you'll be prompted to choose between Phone mode, File Transfer and Print for printing pictures via PictBridge. Thanks to the USB Mass Storage support no driver installation is necessary. In File Transfer mode however the phone is unusable and can't receive calls.
NetFront internet browser
Web access is ensured through WAP and the NetFront browser. The latter is elaborate enough and offers a wide range of options, including landscape view of web pages. The impossibility to minimize it is the only shortfall of the browser we identified.
Synchronization of contacts and calendar with MS Outlook goes without saying. The needed software is available on the included CD. There is also a QuickTime player for the videos recorded with the phone, and the Disc2Phone computer software for transferring music from CDs or PC to your phone.
That's about how things are at the Sony Ericsson developing center. Designers are called upon to improve looks, developers are tweaking up the firmwarе, but somehow the user interface and functions tend to be ignored. It's not the fault of K530 only. It's safe to say, most of the new releases suffer the same weakness. It's been quite some time since we last saw a real innovation, except in strictly high-end handsets. The same, of course, holds true about Nokia. Recurring criticisms seem to meet with indifference. Sony Ericsson K530 is very similar to the K610 we tested a little over a year ago. Save for the better exterior, the few novelties are the FM radio, A2DP-enabled Bluetooth and Track ID. Will the few improvements justify the price tag?