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Review GSM phone Sony Ericsson Z300

The attractive and unordinary design of Sony Ericsson Z200 provided the company with good sale of this model. Its technical characteristics were quite typical of the class, which made this phone popular due to few cheap clamshells in the segment. Now after some time the company decided to repeat the successful experiment and launch the Z300, which is the maximum close to the design of the Z200. A curious fact is that first the latter was targeted at youth exclusively, but even at the beginning of the sale it got clear that women liked the clamshell much, and the secondary focus concentrated on youngsters. And basing on this experience, the company offers three various colours of the model and also interchangeable Style Up panels (one extra set is included into the kit). You will find no trouble to change the panel, and it will take only several seconds. The fastening is reliable and the front panel wouldnt be thrown even at a fall.

Very often Sony Ericssons design of low-end solutions turns rather dubious, but in this case we consider it good. That is due to copying the Z200. In contrast to the previous model the antenna became inner and there is a slight bulge in the top part. An open device should lie on the antenna but falls due to the heavier upper part. It feels like the battery should be heavier to balance the model.

 

The external screen is backlit in pastel colour and shows indicators responsible for the battery charge, signal level and time. You can activate the backlighting by the side button. At an incoming call it also shows a callers name, but the scrolling is too slow, and surely you will find it inconvenient if you have several coinciding names or surnames.

The screen can't feature the whole number; however the shown part is represented more comfortable. I'd like to note that if you have this number in the phonebook, then first an assigned name will be shown and the number only after. Due to its type the screen behaves well in the sun, after all it is monochrome.

The left side surface holds a coupled volume button, which is deepened into the body much; we found it comfortable in use. An interface connector of the previous generation is placed on the bottom end, it is not Fast Port. And this exactly feature gives away that the model is morally outdated. Any manufacturer will try to pass to a new type of connectors as fast as possible if he changes the interface connector and the whole accessory line correspondingly. That allows forming a demand on accessories on a necessary level and accustoming users to a new product line. And it seems that users of the Z300 are unlikely to change their phone on another Sony Ericsson. And correspondingly the company doesnt plan to care about such assortment and accidental customer. Accessories compatible with the Z300 and necessary to users of such a phone are a headset and a charger. They both are included into the package.

You will easily open the device with one hand, no stops and paddy contacts making typical clicks, this is a cheap phone with all the features following from it. The first thing you surely pay attention to is the screen. This screen is outdated for this moment and seems not enough for such a phone. The resolution of this STN screen is 128x128 pixels, which allows showing up to 6 text lines and one service line. As the manufacturer declares, the display is 65K, and truly we failed finding differences from the one in the J200i, since the picture is completely identical. So, we can certainly consider the screen having no pluses and on the level of the previous generation. It fades in the sun.

The keypad block gives away the low-end models of the previous years. Sony Ericsson follows its concept of adding a Back button and refusing from a context menu button (the latter is inherited from the times of the 300, 310). There is only one case when implanting the features refused earlier is unexplainable from the logical point of view, which is when you plan to make the model mass. And if you want it to be an assortment offer and you do not care about what users will think about you later, then the solution seems very logical.

The buttons are made of plastic and deepened into the body in order not to touch the screen. That makes discomfort for some users. We found the keypad average in comfort, the backlighting is orange and pale.

The back panel features a loudspeaker gap and the very panel hides the battery compartment. This panel has no backlash. A 670 mAh Li-Ion battery is integrated. According to the manufacturer, the phone can work for about 200 hours in standby mode and up to 4.5 hours in talk one. In Moscow the device lasted for about 4 days in case of 3 minutes of talks and up to 20 minutes of other functions. Full recharging took 1.5 hours.

The phone lacks IrDA, and no means to connect to a PC are provided either, the developers considered it excessive.

Menu

This model copies the J200i including all menus. Total free memory bank is 670 KB. But it is of no use due to the absence of mp3 and Java.

The main menu is represented as a set of 9 icons opening an access to item and subitem lists. Each of them has a number and that means the present of quick navi using numerical orders. The model is a typical low-end solution and this implies reductive abilities relative to many functions.

Phone book. The handset's memory may contain up to 200 names and one of them can have a single number assigned. A picture and a melody may be correlated to a number. Caller groups are present. There is a first letter search in the list. Both phone numbers from SIM-card and phone memory are displayed in the total list.

Messages. This is rather commonplace once more. EMS standard is supported and some pictures are pre-installed for that. The memory permits to save up to 40 messages and there is a memory for templates. Still the device does not support e-mail.You can receive and send MMS, but the limited number of pictures and little memory make it only ridiculous makeweight.

An alarm-clock can be single or repeating.

Organizer. This menu has a countdown timer, a timer measuring intermediate values, and a calculator.

Calendar. There are three types of viewing events: for week, month or for today. In the latter case, you see task and note lists and, in two former cases, event time and date are marked. There is an event view from the same place.

Call info. The present menu is traditionally engaged in registering and checking calls. The handset has two lists - missed calls (to 10 numbers) and a total list (to 20 numbers). Call date and time are indicated. If you cancel an incoming call using Cancel key, that number will be enlisted in the missed calls. You should be aware of such particularity beforehand.

Parameters. As evident from the title, this holds all settings concerned with the device's service - time and date, screen settings (contrast, screensavers), menu and entry languages, and profiles.

Fun & Games. The handset has three games - Black Deal, Minigolf, Honey Cave2.

Melody editor is simple monophonic.

Themes are placed in this menu.

You may view all files in the list of melodies and pictures.

Connectivity. The device supports GPRS 4+2, work being possible with a cable or an IrDA gap (connection to PC) using.

The handset also has a WAP browser of version 1.2.1.

My Shortcuts. The main menu holds an item for assigning tags to the navi button deviations. As for me, games would look more suitably and logically here, and this seems a regular attempt to fill the menu with items.

Impressions

This model really has no problems with the connection quality, and the loudspeaker is loud enough in many cases. Speakerphone is lacking, and a complete set of functions hardly corresponds with an idea of a budgetary phone. This model is predicted only for calls, but at the same time provides with no extra conveniences like a phonebook, memory for SMS and so on. Every possible and impossible function is cut. Ones feeling nostalgia for the coming-to-be of mobile connection and the first models will probably like this phone, and others will find it uninteresting.

In July 2005 we focused the group of Sony Ericsson Eva (Z300 in the end, though the Z100 would suit better) on demand of one maker. The results were rather expressive. Youth audience appreciated its looks, but the absence of mp3 and any capability of connection to other phones even using IrDA made buying it dubious for them. However, the percentage of possible sale based on the appearance and its price is rather high, it forms 74% for each customer group the device is targeted at. At the same time it reduced on 15 percents after starting the device for the first time, examining it for several minutes. Those numbers show that this is the phone that parents will impose to their children, or it will be bought as a present. And a short review for 5 focus groups is the following. This phone will be sold well as a cheap clamshell if the price really falls much. In other cases it has no advantage over its rivals, and thus wont be demanded. Considering the fact about 65 percents of Sony Ericssons users are men, we can say the niche for the Z300 is rather small.

The company thinks the life circle of the model will form the whole 2006, and its shipments will start in the middle of February. Approximate price forms 150 USD for the first time. And Samsung's clamshells, for instance, the X460 and X480 act in the same class, but their price doesn't exceed 135-140 USD, and is likely to even reduce more by the Z300i's release. Also a line of new solutions is coming in this price category, and the only advantage of the Z300 remains its design. So, you should pay attention to this device if you are searching for a phone for a pupil, a young girl, and the only function demanded is speaking, but not other extra options.

Unfortunately, Sony Ericsson is incapable of creating a low-end phone appropriate to the current market situation today. Each year the company makes worse to itself producing really weak morally outdated solutions. When a company takes little of the market and is not very famous, such things will do. But that is absolutely inadmissible for a trade mark which positions itself as an innovation one. By releasing the Z300 Sony Ericsson put a delayed-action mine under its future sale. Users of the Z300 are likely to change the manufacturer and the model. Thus they will be lost for the future company models. It seems Sony Ericsson realizes it, but only aspires to hit the assortment target and doesnt care about its image.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Mitina (maria.mitina@mobile-review.com)

Published — 13 November 2005

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