Sony Ericsson K530 Review


At the end of July we acquainted you in brief with the resources of the above model; the unit we had at our disposal was a prototype, whereas today we will have the chance to review the final variant of the telephone. Let us bring back to our minds that Sony Ericsson K530 is a standard candybar unit, whose functionality has been enhanced, compared to its predecessor K510, so it can operate in 3G networks as well.

The device comes in a small unit and the kit that the user gets includes:

  • Sony Ericsson K530
  • Stereo Handsfree HPM-61
  • USB Data Cable DCU-65
  • Standard Charger
  • CD with software
  • User Guide

This is a standard set for a phone of a medium class and there is nothing in excess to raise the price; the first thing we would recommend that you provide is a Memory Stick Micro (M2) card(the phone supports up to 2GB ) because the few megabytes of built-in memory is utterly insufficient for the needs of today. And in case you do not dispose of a USB hub it is strongly recommended you get one as well, since the kit’s data cable (DCU-65) is only 80 cm (31.5 inches) long. It is quite likely that there will be a greater distance between the computer and the desk, which is sure to render file exchange with the pc rather inconvenient.

PhoneArena's video review of the Sony Ericsson K530:


Sony Ericsson K530 is offered in two color variations – Warm Silver (our unit was that color type) and Thunder Black. The difference between both is the coloration of the keypad and the side part of the phone, as well as the area around the camera.

While keeping almost the same weight as K510 (92 gr. / 3.2 oz), the device has “slimmed” even though it gained a number of additional options. Its average dimensions (102 x 46 14 mm / 4 x 1.8 x 0.5 in) allow for putting it into the jacket or jeans pocket without any bulging.

2-nd image, from left to right - Sony Ericsson S500, Sony Ericsson W580, Sony Ericsson K850, Sony Ericsson K530
3-rd image from bottom to top - Sony Ericsson K530, Sony Ericsson K850, Sony Ericsson W580, Sony Ericsson S500

The display is 2 inch, with a resolution of 176 x 220 pixels and 262 144 colors and a very wide visibility angle. It has the same colors like the K510, but with better screen resolution. The images displayed are well saturated and contrasting, which makes them decently visible even at bright daylight.

The control buttons and the numeric keypad are situated below the display, evenly backlit in white, so one can see them well in a dark environment. One cannot escape noticing that, as in most new models of the company, there is a five-position navigation button here, instead of a joystick. Despite of the fact that the numeric keys are tightly set next to each other, it will be hard to press several of them simultaneously because of their step-like positioning and the distance between the columns.

The camera buttons and those for volume control are on the right side, and the slot for the memory card is on the left. The ON/OFF button is placed on the top – this has come to be a standard location not only for Nokia, but for Sony Ericsson as well.

The camera is on the back of the phone. Apart from it and the socket for an external aerial, you will not find anything else here. The lack of a mirror will be an unpleasant surprise when attempting to take pictures of yourself. The lens is laid flat on the back panel without any sort of lid for dust, fingerprint, or even shock protection.

The second, video conversation camera, is reasonably located on the front of the phone, right below the initial part of the “Sony Ericsson” inscription above the screen.

When held in your hand, the phone feels comfortably. The plastic on the back has a coating meant to prevent the unit from slipping or possibly dropping it.

During our tests of K530’s prototype we noticed that the battery-covering back lid was not steadily fixed, which caused an excessively irritating play. We are now glad to acknowledge that the company designers have obviously worked on solving this problem; changes in the construction, however small at first sight, have been sufficient to do so. Closing the lid is now tight and it is well secured in place: we congratulate the constructors of Sony Ericsson on this development and consider the problem to be overcome.


Controlling the unit is rather familiar; this is the traditional user interface of SE. Pressing the navigation button in the middle reveals the menu, arranged in three columns, of four lines each. For quick access to some of the sub-menus you can also use the buttons of the numeric keypad, whose positions correspond to that of icons on the main menu.


The phonebook disposes of the standard options and this is why we will not dwell much on it. One can enter up to 1000 contacts with as many as 2500 numbers. Several phones (mobile, home, work, fax, or other) can be memorized with one name; commands for voice dialing, photo, ringtone, and a lot more can also be added. Regrettably, there is once again the “traditional” drawback of the telephone book: one can search for contacts using only the first name.


Sony Ericsson have taken care to provide you with an organizer, featuring an abundance of functions indeed, so that you could put your everyday jobs in order and not forget anything important. Video Call, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Synchronization, Timer, Stopwatch, Calculator, Code Memo and Alarms are all at your disposal. Up to five alarms can be set with the additional options of picking a different signal for each as well as setting them to go off on certain days of the week or just once. You can easily initiate a video call, during which the display is partitioned in two in the usual way: on the larger section you can see the other participant, and in the smaller one – yourself.

The remaining functions of the organizer are standard and well-known from previous models of the company, so we will not discuss them.

The phone features about 16 MB free built-in memory (depending on the installed software) and an option to add a Memory Stick Micro (M2).


The Messaging menu is the one that we are accustomed to seeing in most Sony Ericsson models, providing the opportunity to create text, multimedia or voice messages, as well as e-mails. In order to keep you informed on the latest news at all times, you also dispose of an RSS reader.

Connectivity and Internet:

Besides the standard GSM networks (900, 1800, 1900 MHz), the phone is operable in the 3G UMTS 2100 as well, and the front panel camera enables the users to make video-conversations with their loved ones. Supporting only one of the American GSM bands, the K530 will be limited only to areas with 1900 MHz coverage.

The full Internet browser allows for various view settings in accordance with the personal preferences for convenient work. Both landscape and portrait orientations are also feasible. In this case the high-resolution display can aid a more convenient page viewing. Through the Smart-fit option, pages can be set to appear in one column, thus eliminating the need to scroll horizontally and making it easier to go over pages of wider format. At opening our site we noticed that the browser was not able to correctly visualize all the elements of the page.

For instant access to news and reading it at the time of breaking, the phone disposes of an RSS reader.

Connecting to a computer is done in the normal for Sony Ericsson way – through a data cable or wirelessly, via the Bluetooth version 2.0, supported by the phone. In contrast to the earlier K 510, we can easily make out the absence of an infrared port here – it is no longer needed.

It is possible to use the unit as a remote control for compatible Media Player, Desktop, or Presenter. To this end you will need a Bluetooth device on the computer.

Sony Ericsson K530 is one of the models that can work with HGE-100 – an external GPS receiver, integrated into stereo headphones, a function that is typical for units of the highest class. Since it has not been released on the market yet, we were not able to test this option.


The camera is a 2 megapixel one with a 2.5x digital zoom and landscape orientation. It is put into operation from either the side button or the menu and is ready to take pictures within a second.

The camera control in K510 model is carried out through tabs, whereas we observe that in K530 it is the same as the control in the Cyber-Shot models of Sony Ericsson, that is, by a horizontal menu.

In photographing mode, information about the current settings is displayed on the screen and “1”, “4”, and “7” buttons are also available as shortcuts to the most common modes. Pressing “0” activates a help menu, which indicates the function of each shortcut button.

Pictures, taken at strong light in the open, look well despite the slight blurring. At week light, the lack of a flash predetermines the unsatisfactory result. A somewhat compensating feature is the “night” mode, but it will not be of much help when the light grows very weak.

The unavailability of a “macro” mode is an easily detectable hindrance to taking photos from a short distance; as a consequence of this the images are unfocused and in reality – rendered unusable. In case you try photographing a small-font text from a book or a magazine, it will not be actually readable afterwards.

Shooting videos relies on the same low resolution as that of the old SE (176 x 144); so low, in fact, that the films will be usable for MMS only. Their quality depends mostly on light: for best results one should make videos either in the open or in a very well illuminated room. Duration is only limited by memory availability.

Media Players:

The music player is a standard one, using a manual equalizer setting or several pre-set profiles (normal, bass, voice, and treble boost), as well as loop and shuffle play mode. While listening to music (MP3 and AAC formats supported), one can make use of the other functions by simply minimizing the player.

For much more enjoyment while listening to music, Sony Ericsson K530 also features A2DP. This enables the usage of stereo Bluetooth headphones, thus eliminating the irritating entanglement in the standard headphones wiring.

The phone also disposes of an RDS radio, capable of storing up to 20 radio stations, either manually or automatically. However, if you wish to listen to the radio, plugging the “cable” headphones will be indispensable – in this case they serve as an aerial.

The video player supports the following formats: MPEG-4, H.263, and WMV. It also features video clip viewing on landscape-oriented full screen. We tested the player and see that it doesn’t have any problem with MP4 H.263 video.


If you do not know the name of a song that is being performed, the Track ID function can be of help. This is a service for music recognition, which records a fragment from the piece of music, sends it over the Internet, and then feeds back information about the artist, song, and album. We have been delighted and fascinated by the excellent performance of the Track ID: it coped with identifying all the songs we included in the test.

The phone comes with a preinstalled two web based application, called AccuWeather, providing information and weather forecast after connecting to the Internet, and with Audible you can download spoken audio entertainment, information, or educational programming . For your spare time you have two preinstalled games at your disposal.One is the familiar tennis, named here “Tennis Multiplay”. It enables the user to play in a network with friends via the Bluetooth. As with computer games, one can either host the game or join it. By contrast with the sports simulator, the other game is rather different: it is called “Investigators” and the action takes place in an office. Proceeding in the game is done through making conversations with different people and interacting with the environment. For instance, you can open the computer case and take out the hard disk drive.

Of course, one can always complement this software with favorite games or programs thanks to the Java MIDP 2.0 support.


The phone works fast, so while browsing the menus one will not sense any unpleasant and irksome delay or “thoughtfulness”. The camera even starts in about a second and photographing with the consequent recording takes no more than 3 – 4, which is fairly rapid.

The sound volume of ringing is well above average, so you will hardly need any more. Even in a noisy environment or in case the phone is in the other room, you are certain to hear the call.

According to data supplied by Sony Ericsson, the 950 mAh Li-Polymer battery (BST-33) of the phone endures up to 9 hours conversation time or 350 hours standby. During our testing the device was subjected to a prolonged conversation, enduring 472 min (7.87 h). Regardless of the fact that this is shorter than the officially stated 9 hours, the telephone demonstrated enough “stamina” - one that will appeal to the long-talkers among you.

The voice in the receiver has a medium-high volume, sounding a bit muffled and monotonous, whereas at the other end there is strong and clear audibility with a realistic voice reproduction.


K530 is positioned in the middle of the Sony Ericsson product range and shows an excellent performance as such, without, of course, claiming the resources of the Cyber-shot or Walkman series.

Compared to its predecessor K510, significant improvements have been made: this phone stands now very near to the capabilities of the “former” high-class company series – K750/W800 – with a 3G network support at that. It is good news that the back lid problem, noted by us during the test of K530’s prototype, has been solved in the official version. We congratulate Sony Ericsson’s constructors on managing to do so.

In case you need a phone, which does not necessarily feature specific multi-media or smartphone functionality, the K530 will be one of the best alternatives yet to appear on the market.


  • Operation in 3G networks and video-conversations
  • Good talk time


  • Tri-band
  • Low display resolution

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