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Product Review: SonyEricsson T610

I’ve had my SonyEricsson T610 at least six months now, and I have to say, I’m quite impressed.

I don’t ask too much of mobile phone, I’m not into all of the ring tones, polyphonic tunes and the like. I have simple needs and I’m no longer a teenager, so I like to keep things simple.

However, this is the second handset I’ve had. The first one had to be sent back. Now, I could go into a long rant about what happened, why the first handset had to go back and how the customer support I received was utterly ridiculous, and how I told them as much to their faces in the store in town, making them look quite stupid. But I won’t.

Suffice to say, this handset is fine. So we’ll leave it at that. I run my own business, so I have a defined set of needs straight away. My requirements are simple: I need to be able to send text messages, I need to make calls, I need voice mail, I need to be able to check my email on the road and I need to be able to connect my mobile to my computer to synchronize address books, calendar events, notes and the like.

So the choice of mobile was probably narrowed down a little further, but I feel that I made the right choice. I’ll dispense with any insight into tariffs and other trivia, this review is about the phone.

The handset has a pleasing weight to it, and given that some of the carcass is metal, there’s a qualitative feel as well. However, the upper portion is made of plastic, and quite thin plastic at that. This being a contributory factor in the return of the first handset .. but I did say I wouldn’t go into that.

But, it’s worth noting, the upper portion of the case can be fragile, so be careful when messing around with the battery compartment, and just generally throwing the thing around.

Being an old Nokia user, I was concerned about ease of use. I’ve not found anyone else that has come close to Nokia in that department. So when I knew my new mobile phone wouldn’t be Nokia — mainly because of connectivity and cost — I had to be very careful.

In the end, the user interface isn’t all that bad. There are some moments of strange feature grouping, and some features are so buried there’s nothing left to do but to dip into the manual to figure out where the design team have squirreled the thing away.

Thankfully things like Bluetooth, Internet connection, silent mode and Infrared are all a single button away. This a bonus for me. I go to the cinema quite a lot, so I really don’t want to be that ignorant bastard with their phone going off at that crucial point in the film.

Connecting the phone to my computer is a breeze. I use Bluetooth to synchronize data between the two, which is so much more convenient than cable connections.

I had to pick my phone from the list of supported types and manufacturers which isn’t all that restrictive, given my needs. So being able to synchronize so seamlessly was just sublime.

The battery life is bit of a joke. The colour screen is an enormous problem in this particular equation. I have all of the power saving features on, but I still don’t get a full week of mild usage and standby, which is a shame.

Using such things as the built-in camera will knock the crap out of the battery in no time, and sending picture messages and the like will only add to that. By way of a smooth segue, that brings us to the built-in camera.

It’s rubbish. If you’re in the business of taking poor-quality passport photographs, you’re in luck. If you’re wanting to take spur-of-the-moment snapshots of your hectic and fun life — as the marketing drivel would have you believe — then forget it.

There are no compression settings, so the images degrade noticeably before your very eyes. Still, if you want that kind of thing, you go for the models up and above this one. They support higher resolution images, as you’d expect.

But this is all academic, I don’t use the camera. If I had a need for such things, I’d have bought one of the other models and not this one.

In conclusion, the SonyEricsson T610 suits my needs quite well. It’s simple enough to use and other than the frivolous inclusion of games, tunes et cetera, there’s no feature bloat, it’s compact, doesn’t look like a girls phone and has the bells & whistles that will suit the suits down to the ground…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

7 replies on “Product Review: SonyEricsson T610”

It sounds pretty good (except the camera). I went with the PalmOne Treo 600, and I have all the things you mentioned in your phone (including the crap camera, which is a toy I never use), except bluetooth (I couldn’t afford that little extra for the Treo 650). I bought it because I was already familiar with the Palm software/interface/tools and you can get pretty much any kind of application for it that you might like. I moved away from the ever-familiar Nokia and wanted something I could get up and running with immediately.

Like the Ericson, the battery life is a joke, but I tend to work in an office and charge it regularly so no real problem there. It seems pretty robust (only dropped it once so far), but occasionally I try a new Palm application not specifically designed for it (just generally for the Palm platform) and it reboots on some operations. The only other real concern I have is the screen – you (can) use a stylus to drive the palm applications, and it seems to me the screen scratches (or at least dulls) a little too easily.

The only thing that would worry me about the Ericson is the same problem with the palm – the tiny keypad.

Why can’t they either improve the speech recognition so you don’t need a keyboard, or make a built in fold out keyboard so that if you need one you’ve got one you can use?

This phone isn’t nearly as sturdy as my last, the venerable Nokia 6310i

Excellent battery life, good set of features and just damn near indestructible.

My sister has it now and she loves it.

Not too big, practical and a pretty sizable memory for text messages and phone numbers.

Plus, you get to store multiple contact details under each personal entry just like most modern phones.

But, it had to go.

I needed to be able to integrate my phone with my workflow…

Oddly enough my last one was a Nokia 6310i too. Great phone, I just needed more. As mine is supplied by my employers, I bought my Treo on eBay, and stuck the (work) sim card into it. Works just fine. The 6310i is still sitting in my desk drawer at home (coz my employers will want it back if/when I leave).

“The 6310i is still sitting in my desk drawer at home (coz my employers will want it back if/when I leave).”

And do what with it?

Use it as a door stop?

Who the hell is going to want to use an out-of-date phone like that?

A nice phone yes, but it’s almost like wearing someone elses’ socks, isn’t it?

That’s the thing about stuff your employers give you – you can’t throw it away, no matter how useless, because they always want it back! Even if they just tick a box and throw it away themselves.

If I leave while it can still be used, then, yes, it’ll be given to someone else. On the other hand, it’s a free phone for whoever gets it.

On the negative side I’ll also have to give back the sim card! that’ll hurt more!

I’d had Nokias from day one, starting with an 8110 (used in The Matrix) through various other models, including a 6310, until I jumped ship and went with a SonyEricsson Z600 – basically a foldable T630.

As you said: camera’s shite, but otherwise not bad.

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