Sony Ericsson Zylo

Full review: iPod Nano alternative? The budget music phone the Zylo

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An old-school slider with Walkman skills, can this standard cell cut it against modern day rivals?

It's hard to argue with Sony Ericsson's Walkman range. It's sturdy, offers cracking software for playing back a significant number of tunes and smart features like TrackID to corner the kids and even Flac support.

But some will find the Sony Ericsson Zylo outdated, a phone from a simpler time, when you couldn't demand the Earth from a basic budget blower.

There's no denying that the Sony Ericsson Zylo's Walkman skills are ace. With Micro SD support of to 16GB, there's room for approaching 4,000 tracks, which can easily be handled via the music controls on the front of the device.

You don't need to slide the phone up to tinker with tracks and information is clearly laid out. It's a breeze skipping through tunes, albums and playlists, while TrackID lets you identify songs from the radio.

But surely a phone with music skills should have a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can use your own buds rather than the bundled efforts? The latter aren't bad, but we'd much rather slip in a pair of Sennheiser's than have to put up with Sony Ericsson's tiresome insistence of using its proprietary system. That might have cut it a few years back, but any phone that wants to battle it out musically needs support for proper cans.

You can pair up headphones via A2DP Bluetooth however, which means wireless music access, but that means a further outlay when you're more likely to have a pair of standard ear plugs lying around. The pricey PlayNow music store is not up to snuff either, offering overpriced tracks which can be had cheaper on Amazon MP3 or 7Digital. Sony Ericsson really needs to get with the times and offer an affordable alternative when everybody else is.

The bad times don't stop there. The 3 megapixel camera is fine in bright light, but lacks a flash, so shots in the dark are a no no. The browser is also utterly woeful, hardly a winning feature when this is supposed to be going toe-to-toe with budget efforts like the HTC Wildfire.

The keyboard and form factor are surprisingly likeable though, with texts easy to tap out and the slider giving a reassuring thunk every time you open it, so for a budget messaging phone it's certainly great value for money. But as a music phone, beyond the interface the Zylo feels ancient and if you love tunes, you're better off nabbing a phone which can offer Spotify support or at least a proper headphone port. However for the youth market the Zylo is aimed at, it does exactly what it says - at a very reasonable price.

The Sony Ericsson Zylo is out now, find out more from Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson Zylo Specifications:

  • OS: Sony Ericsson propriety
  • Storage: 260Mb, microSD slot
  • Screen: 2.6-inch 240x320
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Camera: 3MP
  • Video:640x480, 24fps
  • Talk time: 3 hours 30 mins
  • Dimensions: 103x52x16mm
  • Weight: 115g