With no 3G and no Wi-Fi on-board, the Sony Ericsson Spiro is limited to using Edge for anything internet. You might be thinking that this will immediately put it at something of a speed disadvantage, and you'd get no arguments from us.
The thing is, it's not just speed. Pretty much all web browsing was a total failure on the Spiro. Reading TechRadar on the phone is just a fevered fantasy – though it will load half-way, which is more than we can say for many sites, which will simply return an error message.
Even dedicated mobile sites often failed, with only a few managing to make it all the way to loading fully. Those that did load often fit awkwardly on the screen (though were still navigable).
The thing is, once or twice we did manage to get it to work properly, but could never repeat it when we wanted to. In any case, the success rate was less than 10 per cent, and appeared to be totally random – the quality of internet signal available seemed to make no difference to whether the page would load or not.
The browser functions seem to work well enough, with the option to set a home page and have sites you've previously entered saved for quick access. It's standard Sony Ericsson fare, and is really rendered moot by the inability to load most websites.
The Facebook and Twitter applications are one of Sony Ericsson's selling points for the phone, and they at least produced better results than the browser.
The Facebook application is a little ugly and somewhat unwieldy (particularly in its habit of hiding your news feed under your notifications), but mostly serves its purpose.
Along the top you have tabs for Home, Profile, Friends and Inbox. Your notifications and news feed are in Home, while Profile and Friends take you to those parts of your account, and Inbox accesses your messages.
You can update your status from the Home tab without too much bother. It's hardy the definitive word in Facebook apps, but it worked well enough except for the fact that most picture thumbnails wouldn't load for us. We suspect they just timed out over the Edge connection. Not a deal-breaker, but hardly ideal.
The Twitter app is better laid-out, owing in part to the simpler nature of Twitter. It generally needs a manual refresh when opened (which we actually think is a good idea on the programmer's part, since it stops it eating up your battery when you open it).
Similarly to the thumbnails that didn't load in the Facebook app, people's Twitter avatars rarely load in this app. Messages are easy to read and post, so we've no complaints in terms of basic tweeting, but it's a bit silly that you can't click on links from messages. Not that you'd get anywhere in the rubbish browser, but it still undermines what a lot of people use Twitter for.