The Sony Ericsson Spiro is Walkman branded, so is destined to have a good level of multimedia literacy. The options and formats are nothing beyond the ordinary, but with a 3.5mm jack for output, it's a distinct step up on being stuck with SE's proprietary earphones.
In fact, those that ship with the Spiro would be particularly worthy of replacement if it weren't for their hands-free capabilities and use as the antenna for the radio.
We found the earpads to be just a bit too large, though this may not be as much of a problem for other (we're far too classy to make a Gary Lineker joke here). They were pretty uncomfortable at first, but over time we started to get used to them. Still not what we'd call ergonomic, though.
Sound quality-wise, the earphones are actually slightly better than you might expect. Bass lacks a bit of oomph, and the mid-range doesn't seem to come across with much depth, but they're not bad by any means considering the price.
More than anything, they're nice and loud. A lot of bundled headphone are easily drowned out, but there's plenty of volume in these. It's sad that the audio quality takes a sharp downturn when you get them up high, but at least you can hear it over the
The Walkman music player can handle AAC, MP3 and WAV files – bog standard stuff really, but should suit most people, including iTunes users, well enough.
You can browse your music by artist, album or tracks. The music player is generally fairly basic, but there are options to change equaliser settings and a few other tweaks.
More music can be downloaded via the PlayNow service, or using TrackID to identify a song that's playing and immediately download it. We found TrackID to be excellent when we tested it, despite the slow internet connection.
The video player takes MP4/H.263/H.264 files, as well as playing 3GP files recorded by the phone. We really struggled to get videos to work on the phone, to be blunt. We tried putting a standard-definition H.264 video on the phone, but it wouldn't play.
We tried lowering the bitrate, and loaded it onto the phone again. This time it was recognised as a song, not a video. When we tried a third time the phone crashed and reset itself.
To be honest, you wouldn't even want to watch video on the screen. The footage we did watch was even tinier than the 2.2-inch screen because it only plays letterboxed on the screen in portrait mode.
The screen is bright and clear enough to enjoy a couple of quick clips you've recorded though, so the video player can serve a purpose.
Unlike many similar (though admittedly slightly more expensive) phones these days, there's no YouTube app available on the Spiro. This is likely due to the lack of 3G internet access – after all, the Edge connection can often barely load simple web pages, so you'd be waiting a long time for videos.
The photo viewing menu enables you to browse in a thumbnail view that's actually pretty snappy and easy to browse. While you can then send your photos on via MMS, there's no photo sharing via services such as Flickr.
Again, the vibrant screen lends itself well to viewing photos at a glance, but the low resolution means you'll never get the most out of them.