Written by: Aidan Noda
I have a love for keypads on phones. This may be caused by my fear of touch screens. You see my last phone could only be controlled by touch and when the sensors stopped working, oh boy was I in trouble. After numerous texts sent to the wrong people, I vowed that the next phone I bought would have tactile buttons in case the screen broke. The problem was that most phones companies now promote full keyboards, which are fine and dandy if you are 12, but I needed a real phone with bigger more manly sized keys. I wanted something sleek, simple, and with fewer buttons (plus I became pretty fast at texting with T9 and I didn’t want to lose that valuable skill). A few days of Google searching and I found the phone of my dreams, the Sony Ericson Aino U10i.
The Sony Ericson Aino U10i is a cell phone produced by Sony that continues the Sony Ericson phone lineage with semi-touch capabilities. Despite its small size, the Aino does not pull back any punches in functionality; the phone offers remote play capabilities, an 8.1 megapixel camera, 300 batteries of stand by battery life, 55 MB of storage, and microSD compatibility.
My initial reactions to the Aino were positive. The first time I touched the phone, I immediately started texting and I discovered to my delight that there was a conversation system similar to the iPhone being used for text messages. Conversations can easily be followed by looking at speech bubbles and each text is color coded too. It is possible to send messages through Facebook and emails with the messaging system, but I did not have an active internet connection while testing this phone.
Another area the Aino shines in is in the multimedia sections. The phone when open is like any other normal slide phone, but when you close it the touch sensors activate! From this interface you can listen to music, movies, view pictures, and even listen to the radio, but sometimes there is a bit of a lag time between the phones response and your touch. Also, the Aino has the most addictive game I have ever played on a cell phone called Crazy Penguin. It plays very similar to Angry Birds, but there is a lot more control and upgrades. Locoroco is also a good time killer offered on the phone.
The remote play capabilities are a major draw to this phone. The idea was that you can take your Aino and connect it to your Playstation 3 console and then control it with the phone. Supposedly, it is possible to check up on your downloads with the phone, while you are out; however, I was unable to test this particular feature. I was able to connect my phone to the Playstation 3 through a WiFi connection and it was fun to control my system from different areas, but I did not notice any major benefits for doing this as the Playstation 3’s controller can serve the same function. Also, for all of you Mac users out there the Aino comes with software for synchronizing your system and phone, but it is only PC compatible-which is unfortunate.
The phone’s camera while having an impressive 8 megapixels is honestly not very impressive; it is hard to get a decent picture with it even in optimal light settings. The battery life also performs at less than satisfactory levels. I have to charge my phone every night before I go out. At the end of the day I normally half a battery gone even though my phone usually just sits in my pocket all day. Also, memory storage is a bit of a problem for this phone model as I am constantly having to delete my messages, because of limited storage space. I found this a bit strange, because I set the phone up so that it should go to my microSD card. I’m not sure exactly what the issue is there, but it is troublesome to have to delete messages every few days just to receive a text message.
1) Stylish sleek design
2) Allows connection between other Sony products
3) Conversation Style Text Message Balloons
5) Crazy Penguin is crazy fun
1) Memory Storage Issues
2)Low Battery Life
3) Image Quality is less than optimal
4) Feels as if it is aiming to do too much at once
5) Lack of standard USB or headphone inputs
The Sony Ericson Aino is a good product if you are looking for a stylish smart phone that isn’t as mainstream popular as the iPhone. At times it feels as if the phone has too much going on for it to truly excel and it seems a bit dated now. Despite the many hiccups, I do really like the Sony Ericson Aino and think it is a good product; however, I would wait to see the next version of it that Sony creates if they decide to keep this model. Until then I will just pass the time playing Crazy Penguin.