Sony Ericsson has actually been placing some pretty decent cameras on its phones these days, and the Aino is no exception. 8.1MP, an LED flash and video light as well as some decent photography options - that's the top end of what nearly everyone will need. And those that yearn for 12MP and above - well, you're just being greedy, aren't you?
The camera has a range of functions, from being able to divide the screen into thirds for better pictures to a touchscreen focus mode, which will take a picture based around the point you've touched on.
This is a great way to work around the problems of not being able to focus on the elements you want simply by using the built-in hardware, and something we think should be integrated into all cameras.
The time taken from one picture to another is absolutely ridiculous though - we're talking up to 14 seconds to take another picture, and that's only with the camera on 6MP setting. We've no idea why it takes that long to save a photo, but it does.
The touchscreen borders on appalling in this mode as well - we lost count of the amount of times we tried to hit a pop up icon on the camera screen only for it to register no input - we assume this is down to the icons being too close to the edge of the display.
However, there are some nice tweaks like touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection, image stabiliser, smart contrast and red-eye reduction, all of which work well and do the job they're supposed to, which is what you'd expect from a camera using Sony tech.
Here's how the Aino stood up to the Olympus SP-565UZ prosumer camera. The Sony Ericsson Aino takes pictures in 16:9 format at 6MP, which we've used here to show how much more photograph you can get:
Sony Ericsson Aino - colours look a little washed out on the Aino, but overall reproduction is good:
Sony Ericsson Aino:
Sony Ericsson Aino - the macro mode is excellent at sharpening edges, but the Olympus is much more able to pick out detail:
Sony Ericsson Aino - both cameras are decent in direct sunlight - the Aino certainly holds its own and picks out a good amount of detail:
Sony Ericsson Aino - Face detection works well on the Aino, instantly bringing it into focus:
Sony Ericsson Aino - the LED flash on the Aino is better used as a torch - it's very poor in darkness, losing a lot of detail and colour compared to a Xenon:
Video is recorded in VGA and at 30fps on the Aino - which is very good indeed. It takes a lot less time to start up than the camera, and will save video files faster too.
And we were delighted to see NearHD video recording included as well - this allows users to record video that will actually look pretty decent on a large screen.
Video detail is satisfactory, and although boot up time is a little slow, leaving us all too often asking someone to wait while we started up the camera, it's passable for run-of-the-mill movie making.