Hands on: Sony Ericsson Idou review

There are some people that believe that the constant pursuit of more and more megapixels in mobile phones isn't a good thing; that more attention should be paid to improving other features first.

However, sometimes it's possible to do both, and a look at the recent Sony Ericsson concept / prototype Idou shows that the Swedish-Japanese alliance has had a pretty good go.

Although we weren't able to see the camera in action, which was pretty disappointing given the promises made on leveraging the Cybershot brand 'to new levels', it's understandable given the phone is barely off the design table and the camera software required for a 12MP sensor isn't ready yet.


However, the new interface will be enough to get some people excited, given it's the first time in a while Sony Ericsson has departed from its original, and some might say dated, UI (with the exception of the Windows Mobile-powered Xperia X1).

The first thing that caught the eye was the slickness of the touch interface on the 640x360 3.5-inch screen, with the ability to move between applications registering almost no lag at all.

Given that this phone is still in prototype phase as mentioned above, it's all the more impressive. Users can set different panels at the top of the home screen, and swiping left and right takes you to pictures and contacts.

A Sony Ericsson spokesperson told TechRadar that while these are unlikely to be customisable, there will be more available in the final version of the handset, due out later this year.

The contacts can be customised to allow you to quickly view your favourites, which is quickly becoming a common feature in high-end handsets as most people only regularly call and text four or five people.

The home screen will also always keep a part of the media player open as well, so you'll always be able to listen to music or open some video when picking up the phone.

Room for expansion

The phone will use an M2 Memory card to offer expansion, although the amount to be bundled hasn't been decided yet, according to the spokesperson.

The Idou will also make use of the recent additions to the Sony Ericsson feature set, namely the PlayNow Arena and the MediaGo software which will allow users to easily sync between devices on a home server... Sony Ericsson is extolling the virtues of the system with the likes of Bravia TVs and PS3s, but it should also work on any DLNA-enabled server.

Given the phone is only a prototype we didn't get a chance to really play with it, which was a shame as it looks like a real contender for 'Phone of the Show'. However, when it gets another 'debut' later in the spring, we'll be first there to see whether the handset can actually live up to all the promise.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.