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Review of Sony Ericsson W20i Zylo GSM/UMTS phone
Live photos of Sony Ericsson Zylo
In the box:
Sony Ericsson singlehandedly created the segment of music phones in 2005, but lost its pioneer image long ago by not adding any new features to the phones. In 2010 the manufacturer decided to resurrect old projects and put them to work. SE tries to prolong the lifecycle of Walkman phones and Zylo is a good illustration of the trend. It has a spirit of old Sony Ericsson with the maximum of music features, but has no 3.5 mm jack on the body or headset from the box. It is a strange decision as otherwise the phone would have been the best music solution for young people. The handset attracts with its features and for the first time in a SE phone we get lossless FLAC support (before it was possible in smartphones only courtesy of third party apps).
For Sony Ericsson Zylo is not only an attempt to capitalize on nostalgia, but to attract new users too. The phone aims at young people and competes with the earlier announced Nokia X3-00. This slider comes in many colors for those who need a music phone without any additional features. The niche for such models is not huge, because young people prefer touchscreen models or smartphones, but it still exists. Sony Ericsson Zylo buyers may be divided into two groups – schoolchildren (who do not need permanent data transfer and use Internet irregularly) and young people who listen to the music all the time and require quality sound. The handset suits those who does not use additional features and or spends much time online. Zylo is a good phone for rare use of Internet and social networks. Bearing this in mind will not make Zylo outdated and it will be considered on par with appropriate rival products.
It is an open question for me if this handset attracts SE fans, who already used its music phones before. It looks like a good replacement of Sony Ericsson W580i or W595i. This choice will be slightly conservative, but not everybody buys only the cutting edge models and traditional menus have their followers. Zylo resembles an old friend you can trust, but it has new features to add to its nice design and style too.
The model is available in three colors - Jazz Black reviewed in the article, Chacha Silver and Swing Pink.
All colors look nice and the phone has soft touch plastic all over, which gets soiled, but is resistant to wearing off and scratching. The build is excellent without any back cover looseness.
The dimensions of the phone are 103х52х16 mm (4.05″x2.04″x0.62″) and it weighs 115 g (4.05 oz). The phone is heavier than it looks, but there is nothing extraordinary here and you get accustomed to it quickly.
The side has a chrome-like ornament. On the left you see a Fast Port and a hand strap hole. The right side features a paired volume rocker and a Walkman button also responsible for camera activation. Such combination is not traditional, but it works fine.
The slider mechanism has auto assistance, which is good. Two components move not easily, but you do not have to put too many efforts anyway. This golden middle gives a special charm to the model.
The handset offers a 2.6″ TFT screen with the resolution of 240х320 and up to 16 million colors. The picture looks nice and bright indoors. The screen is protected by a mineral glass.
It fits up to 9 text lines and 4 service lines. In separate modes you can have more text lines, but in the sun it is difficult to read the screen.
The phone has an in-built movement sensor to turn the screen in the browser automatically when you move the phone. The same can be done during photo viewing.
Numerical buttons are located in rows. They are glossy and convenient with the even white backlight. Symbols are visible in all conditions. The navigation key is also easy to use. Soft keys are small, but it is not a problem whatsoever. Ergonomics is high class.
The model features a 900 mAh BST-39 Li-Ion battery. The manufacturer claims up to 4 hours of playback and 340 hours in the standby mode.
In real life the phone worked around 1.5- 2 days in standard conditions (up to 1 hour of talktime, 30 minutes of gaming, 20 minutes of browser use, and several hours of music playback). Better networks can boost operation times at least 1.5 times. Music playback is 26 hours. The battery requires 2 hours to charge fully (1.5 hours for 80% charge).
The main criteria was FLAC playback, which matched мр3 and reached almost 26 hours. This excellent result is close to official information.
The phone has around 270 MB of memory available to users. Memory cards are hot swappable with the maximum support of 32 GB. They are located under the battery cover.
The phone sports a 3.2 MP camera without the autofocus and flash. For the product in this segment it is a standard camera without anything exceptional.
Samples of photos:
Video is recorded in 640х480 and 320х240 resolutions and mpeg4 format. The length of shots can be limited (up to 10 seconds) and unlimited. The quality is average (24 frames per second for the maximum resolution).
USB connection requires obligatory choice of memory card files access (data transfer mode), the phone mode (when the handset is used as a modem) or Print (photo printing option). There is also the Media Transfer Mode (operation in MTP, for example with Windows Media Player). In the first case the phone switches off and you see the memory card and the phone's memory. Data transfer speed is 5 Mbps. In case No 2 different USB settings are available to access networks and the phone functions as a modem.
Bluetooth 2.1 supports EDR, while in the menu you can choose a high energy efficiency mode. A2DP is also supported, so you can use wireless stereo headphones. Data transfer speed reaches 100 Kbps. The following profiles are supported:
There is no point in discussing all software peculiarities, because the tried and trusted А200 platform has been described in a separate article long ago. We will mention the features of this particular model though.
On the screen in the standby mode you can use widgets now and see a selected application (one at a time). It can be some sort of a tamagochi (you feed a teenager, dance, etc.), pace counter, Twitter or Facebook. In the latter two cases the app automatically updates your events. Unlike Hazel and Elm the widget app is quite useful and works fast. You can also select not a widget, but an app as a background (for example, a flash one, though backgrounds somehow disappeared from the model).
You are spoilt for choice in terms of games– BeJeweled Twist, Brick Breaker, Bubble Town, Dance!Music, LocoRoco, Luxor Quest, Powerboat and Quadrapop.
SE decided not to save on applications and here you have everything you can think of. Let's mention the main ones without paying much attention to standard Facebook and YouTube applications.
AccuWeather – shows weather forecasts in a selected city.
Checkbook manages all your accounts and tracks income and expenses. This useful piece of software helps to analyze your budget.
NeoReader reads bar codes and is quite useless, because it cannot read 50% of codes.
Music Quiz helps to guess tunes from the ones installed in your handset.
3rd version of the music player is coupled with customizable cover/player style, equalizers and FLAC (lossless format) support. You cannot hear the difference between FLAC and мр3. The headphones from the box are average and will not satisfy true music fans. The worst piece of decision making was the non-inclusion of a 3.5 mm jack. To add insult to injury we even cannot get an adaptor in the box.
SensMe. Standard Walkman features also have a SensMe option. This playlist includes tracks classified by type (speed and mood). You do not have to add tags to tracks as it is accomplished by Sony Media Manager, which analyzes all tracks on a PC and adds all necessary information. It takes much time though. It took us 20-25 minutes to analyze around 1.5 GB of music files. Luckily, Media Manager can work with memory cards and the phone itself should not be necessarily connected. The app can also convert photos and videos for the phone among other things.
Is SensMe a useful feature? My answer is definitely positive. On tracks map you see the location of every track expressed by dots you can move between. A dot is highlighted and starts playing. Several dots-tracks can be targeted together. Press enter to create your own playlist with tracks, which offer similar speed and mood. It can be quite useful in certain cases.
Remember that the feature will work well only if you listen to the music of different genres and you have many tracks on your handset. If you add 2-3 albums of one performer you will see them in one part of the map and the idea behind SensMe will be lost. You should use memory cards of 2 GB and more, because only this size is enough for varied playlists to please you.
Shake Control. The full version of shake control is used here. It works the following way – press and hold Walkman button and shake the handset. When you move it forward you go to the next track. Move it back and you will return to the previous track. Simple shake starts a random track. There is a vibro feedback every time you use the feature. Volume can be controlled by shaking up or down to sound louder or weaker.
This feature is unlikely to enjoy mass popularity. It is interesting only for those who jog or do other sports and want to change tracks on the go. Young people would merely like to try it and that's it. It is more convenient to connect a remote to control the playback.
Among other filters pay attention to the time machine, which plays tracks for a particular year. You can also access the most and least frequently played tracks.
General features of Walkman 3.0. Serious difference from Walkman 2.0 is the support of DRM 2.0 and MTP to transfer tracks from Windows Media Player directly.
The phone finds all files and directories on a memory card and gets info from the metadata (ID3 tags). MP3, AAC, AAC+, E-AAC+, WAV, WMA and m4a are supported. МР3 files have no bitrate limits and you can also download files with VBR. SE recommends using files of 192 Kbps.
Music library breaks down all saved files in the following way:
Switching between categories is different from the 2nd version, though everything is traditionally horizontal. Navigation is easy with several pressings and in every list you can search by one or two letters.
One or all tracks can be repeated and the random playback is supported as well. Progressive rewinding has an option of speed change by pressing and holding. The standard player does not offer visualization instead of an album cover. You can only see a picture.
If the music is playing and you are in the standby mode press media to go to the player straight away.
Sound quality has not changed in comparison with previous models. A 7 band equalizer allows customization and supports stereo pan boost.
TrackID is another standard option together with RDS enabled FM radio (detailed description is available in А200 review).
Playback quality. Standard headphones offer decent sound quality typical of other Walkman models. Volume controls have 15 positions, which is more than enough.
The model is devoid of surprises. The vibro is powerful enough and ringtones are really loud. Connection quality is decent, but outdoors you have to open the phone as otherwise the wind will blow into the microphone.
There is no GPS in the phone, but Google Maps make it an excessive accessory. At the same time the absence of WiFi is a serious drawback. At the price of €140 the model looks a bit overpriced, but Nokia X3-00 has a similar price tag. I would go for Sony Ericsson Zylo if I had to choose between these two models. FLAC support is not a huge advantage, but the phone definitely boasts maximum music capabilities. It oozes the spirit of Sony Ericsson and offers the multitasking of А200 platform. It is not a music box and has no stereo speakers, but it is not a catastrophe. This music oriented model for young people gives you good build and many games. It is an ideal solution for a high school student. They do not need Internet all the time, but start finding their music preferences and SE Zylo can help. All in all we have an accessible and pleasant offering for a particular niche and it does not have many rivals there.
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Published 20 October 2010
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