Sony Ericsson Satio £514.99

14th Oct 2009 | 11:01

Sony Ericsson Satio

Is the 12.1MP behemoth worthy of the year-long hype?

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

A good media device that doesn't quite beat the likes of the Samsung i8910HD in terms of overall performance

Like:

Great camera; Good range of media options; Nice chassis; Clear and simple RSS reader

Dislike:

Poor battery life; No 3.5mm jack; Slightly unresponsive touchscreen; Internet browser not powerful; OS is laggy at times

Sony Ericsson Satio: Overview, design and feel

Update: read our Vivaz review (the successor to the Satio).

Sony Ericsson has finally launched the Satio, the phone it showed off back in February under the guise of Idou, packing the best of all its brands into one phone. But can the sheer range of gadgetry and a new OS be enough to lure customers back to the brand?

Not content with being leaders in cameraphone and multimedia technology, Sony Ericsson has decided to put the two Walkman and Cybershot brands together in the new Satio. This means an industry-leading camera, a full range of multimedia playback options and it's based on Symbian S60 5th edition to boot.

The overall feel of the handset is odd. Thanks to the sheer range of camera-related gadgetry on board the rear of the phone has a massive camera section bolted to the back, which makes it a little chunky.

But weirdly the phone didn't feel heavy at all – in fact we thought the battery needed to be put in, it was so light, but the power pack was snugly under the cover, so this is pretty impressive.

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The Satio feels OK in the hand – it's not snug, but the 3.5-inch touchscreen (although sadly resistive rather than capacitive) is well positioned, and most of the functions are within a thumb's reach.

The front of the phone is very minimal – it's got a call, hang up and menu key, and that's about it. We would have quite liked to see a cancel/back button too, but that obviously wasn't on Sony Ericsson's agenda with the new Symbian OS it's packing.

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There is a front facing video camera on there too for all that video calling fun everyone has these days, but it's down the sides of the phone where the button frenzy really begins.

On the left-hand side is the slider for unlocking the phone (which is in just about the right place for most hands), the standard Sony Ericsson port for USB connection, charging and headphone connection (boo!). Below that lives the microSD slot, which is covered by a nice hinged flap.

Over on the right side of the phone we get the camera controls, with the zoom buttons doubling as the volume up/down keys, despite having the 'proper' zoom icons on.

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Below this is the photograph playback key, allowing quick access to your snaps in both camera mode and standby. There's also a video/camera swap hard key as well, which we're trying to work out if it has another function in other applications. It appears not to.

And below that is the stylishly hewn shutter for the camera. This side of the phone is well put together, laid out in the right manner and given the Satio's penchant for touch operation, a welcome addition.

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On the back we've already mentioned the massive camera section, and while the cover might be massive it still has a really pleasing action to it, uncovering the decent lens underneath.


It's not the most wieldy of phones, we'll admit, but given the sheer amount of technology under the hood we're happy to say this is pretty much the best job Sony Ericsson could have done.

In the box

The Satio is being tipped as a multimedia device, and to that end the box is filled with audio and visual goodies. We've already pointed out how very, very disappointed we are there's no 3.5mm headphone jack on the Satio, but Sony Ericsson has tried to temper that problem with a variety of headphone options in the box.

The connector also comes with a music controller, which works pretty well for both media and as a hands free unit. The bundled buds are of a slightly better quality than the usual pin-thick ones Sony Ericsson puts in the box, but we quickly changed these to some better options.

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However, if you do want to use them, there's a variety of ear buds to fit your ears, which we liked.

Video-wise, Sony Ericsson wants you to see the Satio as more of a multimedia hub, and to that end has popped a video out cable in the box (and a pretty rugged, rubberised one at that). It connects using the standard port on the side, and allows you to pump whatever you want to the TV from the phone.

Beyond that, there's a charger, a USB cable and a stylus – you might as well have this if you're using a resistive screen, and handwriting recognition works better with it.

And there's no installation CD in the box – Sony Ericsson has placed that on the phone in the bundled 8GB microSD card. We like this idea a lot, as it just simplifies the process, so well done to SE.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Interface

The Sony Ericsson interface is built on Symbian S60 5th edition, which has been used in all Nokia's touchscreen devices so far (bar the N900) and also on Samsung's i8910 HD.

However, Sony Ericsson has taken it one step further with the Satio, making it a lot easier to navigate around the areas users need.

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The homes screen is almost Android-like in that it has a number of different screens to scroll left and right to.

The photo section is the most impressive – it shows the photos in all their glory, yet is superbly quick to scroll through. Considering the Sony Ericsson Satio only has a 600MHz processor on board, this is an area where we expected the phone to struggle.

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The central home screen also has some quick links to important areas of the phone, such as a search button that opens both Google search and the contents of your phone – such as messages, music tracks, pictures and video clips. It lacks the slickness of the iPhone or Android and is rather slow in checking for stuff, but it's still a nice feature to have nonetheless.

The bottom icon bar also holds access to stored media, which has been Sony Ericsson's forte in recent years. The interface jumps to a pseudo-Xross Media bar when entering this area, listing music, photos and videos in a similar fashion to the PS3 or Bravia TVs.

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The bottom bar also gives access to the dial pad and a direct link to messaging too, although we have problems with the former of the two.

Yes, we know we can set up favourites, but to not have a direct way of accessing contacts from the home screen seems counter intuitive to us, as this is the real reason for phones still, despite what the likes of Apple are trying to make us believe.

Flicking left and right to move through the separate levels of the home screen can be a bit of a pain, especially past the gallery section, as inadvertently hitting a picture happened all too frequently, meaning we have to fiddle about with cancelling menus a lot.

There's also an option at the top of the screen to call up information on active connections and the alarm, although you seemingly have a 2mm thin gap to hit at the top of the phone to activate this, and we couldn't make it work first time no matter how hard we tried.

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Using the Symbian S60 OS is a good and bad thing for Sony Ericsson to have done in our book. On the one hand, it's a well established, hard working OS with a lot of heritage and development gone into it. Compare it to the TouchWiz-based proprietary Samsung UI on the Pixon12, and you can see the potential for widening your experience on the Satio.

However, it suffers from the 'stereotypical Symbian lag', whereby you'll ask the phone to do something and it will pause slightly, flash some blocky screen transitions and then get round to what you asked. This is mostly apparent in the messaging section, where opening a message will lead to the phone showing you all the commands it has to execute before opening your message.

It's not the biggest problem in the world, but when we've become used to the likes of Apple, HTC and Palm all giving us slick UIs, we've perhaps started to expect a little bit more.

And another problem – the Satio uses a resistive screen. This means that although you can use handwriting recognition and work it with gloves on, it's just not as accurate as a capacitive screen, which recognises the presence of a finger much more accurately.

This means we were constantly left tapping a menu option a few times in order to open it up – we're sorry, but we're just not using a stylus any more, technology has moved on too far for this to be necessary.

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The menu systems are both a bit long winded and confusing too – sometimes you need a single tap, sometimes a double. This can also change depending on how long ago you pressed the screen, which combined with the aforementioned lag can result in pressing the wrong option in the end.

And if you're looking to change something on the phone, for instance the alarm time, you have to hit the menu option, which opens up a dialogue box for editing. You then need to tap that again to edit it – very long winded.

The lock method is also far too convoluted for our tastes. Too often the phone screen would burst into life with a message or the like and we wouldn't be able to touch it because we've failed to notice the tiny key icon in the corner, meaning we have to use the slider to open it up.

This then lags for up to a second to open up the phone, especially when coming out of blank screen sleep mode, and we'd imagine this might get a little infuriating over time.

Overall we're fans of Symbian, as it's a simple, well laid-out OS with the bits mostly in obvious places. But it's possibly getting a bit long in the tooth, and combined with the touchscreen isn't really what we were expecting from the Sony Ericsson Satio.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Calling and contacts

The contacts menu on the Sony Ericsson Satio is arranged in the standard list format most people are used to on their phone, and have mostly managed to get used to on a touchscreen.

However, the problem with scrolling on the S60 5th edition is there's no dynamic control on the list, meaning if you flick down the list doesn't fly past as you'd expect it to (and the way it does on the iPhone and Android handsets).

In fact, it goes the opposite way, meaning you have to either hold your finger down to scroll through (which is highly inaccurate in practice) or use the scrollbar at the side, which is equally difficult to perfect.

The best way of finding the right contact is to simply type the name in the bottom – it might take a little while for the dialogue box to come up, but the phone cleverly lets you only type in letters relevant to the person's name, making it easier to locate the contact you're after.

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Each name has the usual stuff you can assign to it, and SO much more. You can obviously do pictures, ringtones, mobile number and name. So far, so standard.

But then you can add a fax number and email address. A company name. An assistant's number. The assistant's name. Even a carphone number.

You can also set up groups of contacts if you're into that sort of thing, allowing you to send messages or call a group when trying to set up a meeting. If you're the captain of some sort of team this function is invaluable, if you're not – then you probably won't use it.

At least calling is a simpler process, with video and voice calling all in the box and easy to access. You can either highlight a name and simply press the call key to get things going, or select video call from the menu.

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We actually like video calling on the Sony Ericsson Satio, as it allows you to do a lot of things with it. For instance, you can use the front VGA camera or the rear 12MP effort to show off your video, although the latter does lag somewhat.

You can also share a picture from your gallery as your video image, making things a lot more palatable if you've just climbed out of bed to take the call.

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However, while signal was generally very good, call quality was apparently not. Despite having full bars on a number of occasions, we had people telling us we were cutting out a lot, with one remarking it was 'like speaking to us over a very low bandwidth connection'.

Calls coming in sounded great, but if the person on the other end can't hear you well enough, then calling becomes something of a problem. It mainly happened over 3G, but given the need for data connection for many applications we were loathe to switch it off.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Messaging

Messaging on the Sony Ericsson Satio is actually well laid out and easy to do, thanks to the refined Symbian S60 system. It simply lists your inbox, sent messages, outbox for pending messages and so on, and it's all easy to work out what's going on.

You can also add in a personal webmail account through the wizard, as well as a corporate Exchange account using the bundled RoadSync software, which instantly pops up in the account list when you install it.

Parsing through messages is a similar experience to looking through contacts – except this time you don't have a search function, so you're best relying on the scrollbar to do what you need.

It's not the most accurate way of doing things, and we really hope that Sony Ericsson decides to follow Nokia's lead and update its phones with dynamic scrolling.

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Typing a message is a bit of a hit and miss affair on the Sony Ericsson Satio as well, mostly thanks to the resistive touchscreen in our opinion.

We mostly opted for the full screen version of the keyboard (although the alphanumeric approach was pretty good too especially for one handed operation), and we constantly found ourselves hitting the delete key when we misspelt words.

And curiously, at one point the phone stop registering the haptics touches (where it buzzes under the finger when using the screen) and just carried on letting us type without it. Then the buzzes seemed to remember they were supposed to be there, and all happened at once in a hurry – very odd indeed.

We're very much against the need for handwriting recognition on a mobile phone – we've yet to encounter a system that will let us input more than 30 per cent of the letters we write accurately, so we're not really sure of the point.

You are able to drag the handwriting box around the screen, but ultimately it's not enough for us.

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Using email was a little bit easier, especially when it came to the push variety with Roadsync. Emails turned up instantly into our mobile inbox, replying was a doddle and generally it all worked as it should.

Google Mail was a little harder to work out, as the phone couldn't find the relevant settings for automatic installation of our account. This means a long old trip on the internet to find the exact settings to allow forwarding of our Google mail to a mobile account, and inputting these all with painstaking precision.

And you need to keep the messaging window open at all times to receive the email from Google (that's thankfully not the case with Roadsync, but that does need to be open anyway).

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The weird thing these both have in common is that you can't drag the screen to move through the message – this just activates the copy and paste functionality. Don't get us wrong, we're all for that, but we'd also like an easy way to move through the message without highlighting everything in sight.

If it seems like we're making a lot of negative comments on the messaging function on the Satio, that's only because the main functions of the phone are blindingly simple – it's just the stuff around the edges that's niggly.

We're not saying you'll struggle to tap out a simple text, because you won't. It's just if you want to extend messaging a bit further and use some of the additional functionality on the high end Satio smartphone you may struggle a bit though.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Internet

The internet browser on the Sony Ericsson range has previously been a little basic to say the least. It's been functional, but it's ranked alongside Samsung's proprietary browser in basic needs and a dependence on mobile versions of pages.

The good news is the Sony Ericsson Satio moves beyond that with some nifty tricks thanks to the Symbian S60 browser, allowing full HTML browsing.

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It's pretty darn fast on the Satio as well, which bodes well. We're not talking iPhone levels of page rendering here, but if you're used to using some of the more basic SE browsers in the past then this is going to blow you away.

And that's only over 3G – when you get Wi-Fi involved the whole thing ramps up to some ridiculous speeds, enabling very fast downloading and web browsing.

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One thing we will say about web browsing – take some time to familiarise yourself with the connections menu in 'Settings'.

You need to make sure your Wi-Fi and 3G connections are both ready to work with the internet, and set to do so automatically, else you'll find yourself having to decide on a connection each time you connect.

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The buttons to help you navigate through the browser are nice and easy to press thanks to the 5th edition upgrade to the S60 interface, but going full screen either involves waiting a very long time or heading through the menus, when there should be a simple button to do it for you.

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We like the ability to view multiple windows as well, although switching between them can be a little bit difficult, as you have to trek through two menu options and then select another simply to close a window.

On other handsets you could simply press the 'cancel' button and it went away, and given there's no physical cancel key on board it's not an option with this phone.

Another annoying feature of internet browsing on the Sony Ericsson Satio is there's no hint of smart-fit technology, so when you're looking at pages with wide elements of wording, you have to either zoom out far enough to see it all at once or scroll back and forth.

Given the likes of the HTC Hero is able to resize text almost infinitely as the screen zooms in (through a nifty pinch and zoom method) it's a bit of an oversight for Sony Ericsson not to have included it.

If it is possible, we couldn't find it when hunting through the settings, and it should be turned on by default if it is.

Zooming in and out is a little bit of a conundrum too – double tapping the screen does work, but you really have to master the knack of doing so, and it will mostly zoom right in or right out for no apparent reason.

You're better off using the slider bar, but after the problems with reformatting the text we found it often easier to stay zoomed out.

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We found ourselves using the internet less than usual on the Satio beyond our usual range of bookmarks – although we have to doff our cap to the excellent RSS reader on board in the browser.

The browser is very good at detecting feeds present on the page, and will allow you to subscribe straight away. It updates quickly and lets you jump from story to story with ease, which is a really nice touch if you're somewhere without signal and still want to keep up to date with your latest technology website.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Camera

This is the bit we've been really excited to talk about – and for good reason too. The Cybershot range on Sony Ericsson mobile phones has been leading its class for a number of years, and the Satio continues in that tradition.

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We're talking a smooth sliding cover that clicks nicely into place, a good quality lens, a veritable plethora of photography options and just being able to take some darn good pictures.

We love the fact there's touch focusing (where you tap the screen to re-focus on a specific object), BestPic really does often find the best in a bad bunch, and nearly every other feature you'd expect in a decent compact is there as well, such as face detection, sports mode, macro mode, and so on.

The only slight downside is the time it takes to shoot another photo directly afterwards, where we found we had to wait as long as we might on an Android phone at times (and that has a noted problem with such an issue). Also, 12MP shots were only able to be taken in 4:3 ratio, whereas we like to see them in glorious widescreen (you have to drop down to 'only' 10MP to get this option).

But check out the photos on comparison to our prosumer Olympus SP-565UZ camera and make up your own mind whether the Sony Ericsson Satio is worth picking over a separate device.

Here we show two Satio pictures - the former without intelligent auto capture on, the latter with:

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Sony Ericsson Satio - As you can see, both pick out detail well, but the Olympus does better with overall colour:

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Olympus SP-565UZ:

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Sony Ericsson Satio - There's no match between optical and digital zoom, but the full digital extent on the Satio is pretty poor:

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Olympus SP-565UZ:

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Sony Ericsson Satio - and the same at lower distance - the Satio loses detail quickly in zoom:

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Olympus SP-565UZ:

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Sony Ericsson Satio - Both the Olympus and the Satio have excellent macro modes:

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Olympus SP-565UZ:

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Sony Ericsson Satio - The Olympus does better in sunlight, although the Satio does better than most compact cameras:

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Olympus SP-565UZ:

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Sony Ericsson Satio - The Satio actually picks out wording in greater detail than the Olympus thanks to a dedicated text shooting mode:

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Olympus SP-565UZ:

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Sony Ericsson Satio - The Satio arguably has the better, more even flash, creating a less harsh shadow and more even glow:

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Olympus SP-565UZ:

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Video recording

Video recording is excellent on the Satio, with VGA recording at 30fps easily matching the likes of the iPhone and several sub-HD camcorders on the market.

Video was able to be taken quickly and with minimal lag (although the camera didn't like capturing continuously shaking motion, which may be something to do with the anti-shake feature).

There's an LED video light as well, meaning even those late night vids you want to shoot (no, not those – there's no night mode) are easy to do – another nice touch from Sony Ericsson and showing it's really thought about this category.

There's a number of options to upload both your photos and video too, with Picasa, YouTube and Facebook links all included. Getting to these options is a little long-winded at times as you have to navigate through three menus to get to YouTube for instance, but overall it's a great device to have for both video and photo, with only the Samsung Pixon12 coming close to providing the same level of features.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Media

And from great photography to a cracking media offering as well. Sony Ericsson's decision to marry the Walkman and Cybershot brands together has resulted in a well-stocked package media-wise, with music and video taking centre stage.

When it comes to headphones, you could use the bundled adaptor, but we'd advise heading out to get some Sony Ericsson MH100's – a Bluetooth adaptor for your normal buds. From easy syncing to music controls to a touch sensitive volume control, this was the ideal way to get around the 3.5mm jack problem.

Music

Those of you who have used a Sony Ericsson before as a primary music player will know that the company has pretty much got playback nailed on its devices, and that continues with the Satio.

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However, let's remind ourselves that Sony Ericsson has scored something of an own goal by not adding a 3.5mm headphone port onto the Satio – especially as it's managed to do so on the acclaimed W995 recently, so you'd assume the flagship handset would carry the same.

There's no messing about with the SensMe stuff on the Satio either – it's a straightforward list of songs, easy to play, with nice and large buttons to hit when you need to make things shuffle or repeat or whatever.

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The album art is easily displayed, and the track listings are well laid out too – with the kinetic scrolling we talked about earlier making it easy to look through your collection. Why the same principle can't be applied to the contacts list we don't know.

But despite needing an adaptor to use your own headphones (admittedly it's a better quality one than usual) from the mini player on the home screen to the connectivity to audiobooks, the music playback on the Satio is top notch.

Video

We've noticed that as time has passed and phones have gained higher resolution we've become a little bit snobbish when anything but the best is used on a handset.

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The Satio uses a (made up by some phone manufacturers) near-HD pixel count on its phones – it's 640 x 360, which isn't really near HD at all. But the point is while it's a little lower than the WVGA (800 x 480) resolution, phones video still looks very good on the Satio.

The demonstration videos don't really do the handset justice, as it's when you use your own video that the Satio really gets going. There is a but here – if you're thinking about using DivX or AVI files, it's not going to happen unfortunately. But other types – MP4, RealMedia, and so on will all play OK, and the PC software features a converter.

We know it's not ideal, and we don't know why support isn't there either.

But those videos that do play look great, and the screen is just about big enough to watch a full length movie, although you may feel a little bit tired afterwards. The widescreen aspect ratio is able to stretch movies to make them look even better on the display too.

One problem with the Satio is that it is a little rotation happy, meaning even the slightest movement makes it change orientation. This can get very annoying as if you are listening to music this stops it playing – so get ready to keep a rigid grip on that Satio.

Also included in the box is a TV out cable that allows you to port your videos to the big screen – we found this less useful without AVI and DivX support as all our 'proper movies' (ie those in the necessary resolution for a large screen) were in that format, and mobile footage looks very grainy when pumped up to that level.

FM Radio and TrackID

A staple of the mobile phone, the FM radio is a very basic affair with easy to use up/down and left/right buttons to tune and cycle through stations. It manages good reception in most cases, and is definitely part of the new more functional wave of radios on mobile phones these days.

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And anyone that knows Shazam will know what the next application does – TrackID does the same music recognition thing, and when it recognises the song it will send you either to the Sony Ericsson PlayNow arena or your network provider's music store in order to help you purchase the track.

It has searchable elements, a portal to the most listened to and downloaded tracks and an easy to use interface – but at the end of the day you'll just use it down the pub to see what's on the jukebox.

YouTube and BBC iPlayer

These applications are fast becoming old friends of Sony Ericsson thanks to being available on the phones nearly every time now.

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We won't go into too much depth as they both simply work in the way you'd hope they would, with searchable content and in the case of the iPlayer, downloads over Wi-Fi.

A couple of niggles – YouTube is clearly made for the mobile and the range of videos on offer is pretty poor compared to the proper website, and the iPlayer won't allow you to watch licensed videos on a large TV.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Applications

Those of you that are waiting with bated breath to see how Sony Ericsson is trying to take on the might of Apple and Google with its own version of an application store should breath now or asphyxiation is certainly on the cards.

We were told the PlayNow Arena would be that portal when we were given the phone – let us tell you: it's not.

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It has roughly 50 applications on there now, with most of them appearing to be (expensive) dictionaries. We're hoping this ramps up quickly, but it's making Nokia's Ovi Store look bulging in contrast.

Of course you can buy music and movies from the site as well, but that's not really what we're looking for. We want pointless free applications we can play with and put down after five minutes.

We did find Snaptu, the application that can pretty much do everything from Twitter to News to London Underground updates, but it's a drop in the mighty Apple App Store ocean really.

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However, there are some pretty neat applications already installed, so let's run you through the best:

Worldmate

Not just a place to learn the weather or check your flight times – this will give you a recorded announcement at 9PM and when your alarm goes off in the morning to let you know what the weather is going to be like.

Labyrinth

You play David Bowie, intent on uncovering the mystery of a fantasy world... OK, not really. It's that wooden game with the ball bearing, but using the accelerometer. Infuriating and addictive.

MyLook

Mess about with your wallpaper – let the phone change it for you every day, or depending on your location, or even if you just shake the phone.

Who wants one wallpaper these days? You're right – losers, that's who.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Battery life and organiser

We're sadly back to the negative points again when it comes to battery life – a 1000mAh battery isn't enough to sustain a phone with all these capabilities.

We were using Roadsync pretty much all day, as well as being open to Google Mail, Wi-Fi scanning when needed and also listening to streamed music through Bluetooth headphones, which is a lot for any phone to take. But given the way Sony Ericsson is pushing the Satio in the market, we'd expect to be able to multi-task this way with no problem.

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However, there is a problem, in that users will find that the battery will run down in a day under such usage. It's not a massive problem as if you charge every night you'll be fine – but we found ourselves getting pretty close to the border of battery life at times.

The organisational skills of the Satio are pretty good too – don't expect them to throw you a birthday party or anything, but if you want synchronised Google and Exchange calendars here you've got it.

There are the rest of the things you'd hope to find on a Symbian phone – calculator, converter, PDF reader, QuickOffice – but we think you're a pretty smart bunch and will be able to work these out.

Location based services

Google Maps is included on the phone, as is a trial of WisePilot for turn-by-turn directions. Both of these are massively helped by the presence of an excellent GPS chip that can locate you seemingly in milliseconds – a far cry from the Nokia N86 which threatened to get us lost every single day.

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Google Maps works better with the resistive touchscreen – but although it's nice to have a semi-dedicated sat nav, we doubt there will be hoards of people heading over to pick up the Satio just to get the free trial of WisePilot.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Connectivity and PC Software

As we just mentioned, the Satio is fully stocked with some great connectivity options, even if these do drain the battery somewhat.

Wi-Fi is very good as it sits in the background, quietly switched on until you need it to connect to something for you – it's reliable and very rarely failed on us.

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GPS is just fantastic on the Sony Ericsson Satio, as we just said, locating us within a few seconds and sending us on our merry way. This made geotagging photos a lot easier, which is something that will probably become more prevalent in the next year or so.

Bluetooth is only v2.0, which means you have to mess around with passcodes to pair devices, but stayed strong in terms of signal, had a good range and most of all was able to auto-connect to our MH100's without a single hitch.

The PC software was bundled inside the phone on the 8GB memory card, which we liked a lot as it makes the installation process just that much easier.

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We're actually pretty impressed with Sony Ericsson's PC Suite, as it offers the basics and does it nicely. Backing up contacts, saving texts (so many people find this element crucial) and converting media to work on the phone are all there and included too.

The interface is plain, as you can see, but it does the job it needs to, as well as providing some more advanced functionality like Adobe Photoshop Elements for touching up photos.

Sony Ericsson Satio: Hands on gallery

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Sony Ericsson Satio: Official photography

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Sony Ericsson Satio: Verdict

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Sony Ericsson needs a strong handset this year as it's slightly come off the boil with its plethora of mid-range beauties. The likes of the Xperia X1 have failed to capture the imagination, and we're having to wait until 2010 to see the Android offering.

We wanted the Satio to be that phone, but we're not sure it scales the necessary dizzy heights.

We liked

The photography on the phone is fantastic, and is backed up by a decent video player as well. The sheer amount of customisation to your photography is great, but we all know Sony Ericsson can do this well.

Media was also well put together – the Satio really could be your media hub (if the file compatibility problem is solved). Video, Music, YouTube, iPlayer - you can't really ask for more.

Add to that a well designed, light handset with decent elements like a nice RSS reader and you've got a nice package.

We disliked

Sadly there was a lot to dislike too. What's more annoying is the phone is just filled with little niggly points rather than one big problem, like the HTC Hero had with lag before the firmware update.

No dynamic scrolling, a fiddly accelerometer, no smart-fit on the web browser, inaccurate touchscreen... the list goes on. We're sure most people can live with this for the functionality the Satio brings – but the question is: would you want to?

TechRadar verdict

The Satio is a good phone, there's no doubt about that. The sheer amount of technology under the hood is testament to a good design team, and we can see a lot of photography lovers seeing it as their must-have phone.

However, the amount of little problems (as well as the big ones, like a poor touchscreen at times and no 3.5mm headphone jack) all add up quickly, and it's a shame as we wanted to Satio to be one of the biggest devices of the year.

It might well still be, but it's not going to challenge the top dogs for phone of the year or anything – we're still waiting to see how good Sony Ericsson's Android offering will be, as that could be the turning point for the company.

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