Sony Ericsson Aino Review
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
The American version supports AT&T's 3G network.
The American version supports AT&T's 3G network.
Introduction and Design:
Do you believe that names that creators give their creations are important? Well, you will probably find it interesting to know what Aino means. That´s what one of the latest Sony Ericsson cell phones is called and in Japanese the word refers to a message of love (“ai” stands for love, while “no” is a possessive form). In Finnish, “aino” means “only, one, unique” and we guess it´s the Japanese word that the guys over at Sony Ericsson must have had in mind while picking the handset name. We, on the other hand, tend to think the Finnish word is more fitting in this particular case. How come? Well, the cell phone is truly unique for Sony Ericsson – it´s a feature slider with large screen that is touch-sensitive only in the dedicated multimedia menu. We´ve already seen similar concept with cell phones like the LG Secret KF750 and LG KS360 (also known as the Neon in the US) and we can´t say we are eager fans of the idea. Save this particular oddity, the Sony Ericsson Aino is a properly equipped device that comes with 8.1-megaixel camera with flash, 3-inch screen, Wi-Fi support and can be used as a remote control for PlayStation 3 consoles (just with multimedia files of course, not as a game controller). What´s in the box?
- The Sony Ericsson Aino
- Charger stand
- The Sony Ericsson MH100 – Bluetooth hands-free
- USB cable
- Headphones with 3.5mm jack
- User guides in different languages
The software CD is conspicuous in its absence – actually you no longer need one, because all relevant programs are preloaded onto the phone itself and can be installed on your computer when you connect the handset to it. The stand is an interesting extra feature, because it allows for simultaneous charging of both the Aino and the MH100 (the hands-free set). Moreover, it has the necessary design and you can prop up the phone on it while watching videos. The handset remains stable on the stand, plus the 3-inch screen delivers good image quality.
The phone display supports 16mln colors and its image quality is pleasing, although colors sometimes don’t gradate smoothly. The screen is actually slightly curved inwards, which should make it less susceptible to getting scratched. The native resolution of 432x240 pixels is acceptable as per today´s standards, but is far from impressive. The interesting thing about the display is it utilizes capacitive technology and the overall sensitivity is quite good. We didn’t encounter any issues using it... in the dedicated multimedia menu and the camera interface. We wish the screen was touch-sensitive anywhere, just like the LG KF700.
Alas, you will have to rely on the buttons hidden on the lower part of the slider to control the standard phone functions and you have a D-Pad, send and end keys and numeric keypad. The buttons of the latter are relatively small and don’t have proper travel, so they feel somewhat unhandy to use.
What you have on the right hand side is volume rocker and camera shutter. We don´t have any gripes about them, because they are easy to feel with your fingers. The same goes for the screen lock that´s on the top. The manufacturer´s standard charger port is on the left hand side and yes, the Sony Ericsson Aino doesn’t sport microUSB port and 3.5mm jack.
Fortunately, the Bluetooth hands-free MH100 comes with a 3.5mm jack. Moreover, it´s equipped with a microphone, clip to attach it to your clothes (not really comfortable) and touch sensitive area that allows you to control the volume. There are hardware for controlling the audio player, answering calls and power on/off the gadget. The glossy front side features LED indicators of the battery status and look really beautiful. There is no separate charger for the hands-free, so you will have to use the charger stand. As a whole, the Sony Ericsson MH100 is a cool extra feature, although we wouldn’t mind getting an additional standard headphone converter.
The Sony Ericsson Aino is a solid, well made handset. The slider is not wobbly, moves smoothly and its lower part sports a striking metallic coating. The back panel is quite hard to remove, which gets annoying if you often need to reach the microSD card slot that´s located under it.
You can compare the Sony Ericsson Aino with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
As a whole, we don’t have any gripes relating to the overall design and appearance of the Sony Ericsson Aino, we even think that some might find it appealing, especially the white color version that we consider more attractive. What we don’t like, however, is the weird way you operate the device. Since the touch screen is usable with the multimedia functions only, normal things like using the calendar or your phone contacts require that the slider be open, which is neither comfortable, not typical of modern slider phones.
Sony Ericsson Aino 360 Degrees View: