Sony Ericsson may have made big headlines with their slim 'Ai' concept phone, but the current line up of phones seem entirely oblivious to the success of the slim RAZRs. The Z series of mostly women-oriented phones continue putting on pounds with the new Z610i.
Design The phone has a very glossy, mirror finish on the top, just like the Motorola KRZR K1. The Z610i also has an external display that's hidden away underneath the shell, however, it's a monochrome display unlike the KRZR's. But even then, it does look better since you can't see the edges of the display; you only see the text from outside. Also, text is more legible on the Z610i's mono display compared to the KRZR's color display.
As mentioned before, the Z610i is a pretty thick 2cm phone that I didn't feel like carrying around in my trouser pockets. Even in the hand, it felt quite bulky. The phone is also considerably heavy at 110gm.
The inside of the phone shows off a large 2.0-inch screen, but it is marred by a low resolution of 176x220 only, though it shows 262k colors. Most of the text is too large for comfort and graphics don't look as sharp as you would expect a 2.0-inch display to show. The aforementioned external display is 128x36 pixels.
The keypad is well spaced out, but the keys are too flat, making the Z610i a fast-typer's nightmare. Even the backlight of the keypad is quite low and the very finely printed text and numbers are not easily visible. On the other hand, the 5-way navigation pad was a decent experience and should present no problems like the joystick on the K700i/K750i does.
The tri-band only, EDGE-lacking GSM/GPRS radio on the Z610i may not sound too interesting, but the phone does have 3G support with video calling, Bluetooth stereo A2DP and a driverless USB 2.0 interface that you can just drag and drop from. You do need the proprietory USB connector, but you won't need to carry around your driver CD. I still prefer the KRZR's standard miniUSB connector, but the driverless feature is a good step.
The phone memory is only 16 MB, but the Memory Stick Micro (M2) slot gives you the option to upgrade.
Browsing the web on the Z610i is nice with the built-in NetFront XHTML web browser. The lack of EDGE is a disappointment, though.
The phone comes with an MP3/AAC player. When the phone is closed, the outer display shows the name of the track playing, which looks pretty cool. Sound quality from the phone is good, but it does distort quite a lot at higher levels of volume. It comes with a video player that does 3GP streaming and even WMV and RealVideo 8 — impressive. As mentioned before, the phone supports stereo headsets via A2DP. Unfortunately, there's no FM radio in this phone.
The 2.0 megapixel digital camera on the Z610 is nice. The colors turned out quite good, and the sharpness of the pictures was also higher than other phone cams. The camera also seems to have some level of noise reduction that generally produces better pictures. Overall, a pretty nice camera. Gagan feels it's better than the KRZR’s 2.0 megapixel shooter, too.
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