Sony Ericsson S500 Preview

Sony Ericsson S500 Preview
This is one of the few Sony Ericsson phones with “S” symbol in the beginning of the name. Announced in the early May, it is still not commercially available, but we managed to get our hands on a prototype unit and will present it to you in a for of a preview.

The S500 is available in two color versions: stylish gold and black-green, which has very futuristic design. Our unit is in the second one, and although the label below the display says SE123 , it is a S500. It is mid-level “your average phone” and is not part of either the Cybershot or the Walkman family, but still packs multimedia features.

S500 is mid-sized slider with average weight and relatively slim profile measuring 0.6” (14mm). It fits nicely in the hand, and for the opening of the slider, spring mechanism assists you. We don’t like that its movement is not smooth and when you open it to the half, the mechanism pushes it sharply to the end. Also, the upper slider doesn’t cover the whole bottom part, and you cannot push from the bottom, but should push the front side instead.

When closed, the phone has glossy black finish applied to the front, the back is math black and the sides are in contrasting white. When opened, you see that the front of the bottom slider (where the keyboard is) and the back of the top slider (where is the camera) are in green metallic color. This whole combination, together with the colors of the lights, looks very … strange. It is unusual combination of colors which is extravagant, and makes the phone stand out of the crowd.

The display and the navigation buttons are on the front side of the top slider. The display is QVGA with 262k colors and size of 2.1 inches. It is bright and contrasting unit but as it was with the W910, the colors could be more and the transition from one hue to another is not very smooth.

Below are the navigation keys, including two software buttons, back (arrow) and clear keys, internet button and shortcut. Typical for Sony Ericsson, they are small but with good relief and enough space between each other. In the middle is the circular 5-way d-pad which is illuminated in signal green-yellow.

Right below, located on the front side of the top slider is the loudspeaker, which is used for ringtone playback. It is loud one, but one of the tracks preloaded with the phone had noises when put to highest level.

The numeric keypad is almost totally flat and they keys are small, grouped together in rows. We would prefer them with bigger size, using the space otherwise left in areas around them. The whole keyboard is illuminated in white.

PhoneArena's Sony Ericsson S500 Video Review / Preview :

On the right is the proprietary jack, and on the left is the volume control rocker, which is the only side key. Rather strange for the brand is that this key is on the top slider instead on the bottom one. The two sides also pack elongated LED lights, which blink in bluish (theme dependent) color. When a call comes, they blink in Red-Green-Blue, but don’t indicate a missed call with any color.

The top side houses the tiny power button and the slot for M2 memory cards.


As the software of the phone is based on the old Sony Ericsson UI, we won’t discuss all of its features, but just some. This software almost a copy of the one of K800/K810 and is not like the one of the W910.

We are happy surprised that this one supports flash themes, which the Walkman phones feature. Preloaded are three themes: Clarity, Everchanging and Day and Night; the latter is most interesting as it changes the main menu view to horizontal list instead of 3x4 grid, which is the standard view.

Not part of the Walkman series, the S500 has the standard music player with it, the one from K800. It allows sorting the music by artist, tracks, playlists and has equalizers.

The camera interface is neither the one from K800/K810 Cybershot phones, nor the new one we saw in W910. It is in portrait orientation and in menu-structure offers options like shooting mode, night mode, self-timer, Effects, White Balance and settings. Here also is the camcorder.

We won’t comment on the phonebook, organizer and the messaging menus. Check the Sony Ericsson K800 review to view what they are, if you are not familiar.

We like the S500 – it is extravagant, stylish, and eye-catching slider with pocket-friendly size and not a few features. Still, it is targeted to limited group of people who won’t worry about using a phone in signal-green (and black) color.

Don't forget to check our Gallery for a few more images.

Expect our full review when final, commercial samples are released.
Also check our previews of Sony Ericsson: W580, W660, W910

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