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Sony Ericsson Aino

The must-have PS3 accessory?

Touchscreen functions are restricted though. For instance, with music playback, using the touch interface you can choose to play newly added tracks, albums and playlists, or resume something you’ve paused. For other tasks such as listen to all tracks by an artist, choose a particular track, or add to a playlist you have to slide the phone open and use the standard Sony Ericsson interface.

Sony Ericsson Aino

A bit on the bulky side

Furthermore, it wasn’t exactly obvious where to tap or stroke the screen to get out of submenus. Just dabbing away from icons doesn’t do it – you have to stroke the minimised main icons row. You get used to it, but it’s far from intuitive. But the real problem with this semi-touchscreen system is you want more touch control than offered. When web browsing it’s easy to assume you can sweep around the screen, pinch to zoom, tap on links and suchlike, but you’re stuck with the navpad to move around, so you need the slide open.

Close the slide mid-browse and, abruptly, you are taken back to the closed position home screen‚ the one with the arrow graphic that lets you access those media capabilities. Thank goodness for the redeeming feature of an accelerometer which – with Web browsing as in some other applications – flips the screen into wide mode as you turn the phone in your hand.

On the plus side, movie playback is vibrant and with good sound quality. Sony Ericsson’s Media Go software converts it and video on the fly. You can, incidentally, connect with this application to either a wired link or with Wi-Fi. If you’ve movies in mind, there’s 55MB on board and an 8GB micro SD card included. Yes, micro SD. Sony Ericsson has, at last, abandoned its Memory Stick Micro.

You get a bundled Bluetooth headset. It is a rather large beastie with multiple flashing lights and you are cajoled into using it because the provided earbuds have a 3.5mm connector to link them to the Bluetooth receiver but there is no 3.5mm connector on the handset. We also tested a headset using the standard horrible Sony Ericsson proprietary connector, which worked fine. The Bluetooth headset is paired by default and ours connected as soon as we switched it on.

Sony Ericsson Aino

Open in the hand, the phone lacks balance

The headset charges from the docking cradle and this is also what you use to link to a PC. The Aino sits sideways on and the arrangement looks rather cool. There’s a huge amount of software crammed into the Aino, though like the GPS using tracker app and NearMe we’ve seen much of it on other Sony Ericsson handsets.

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