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Sony Ericsson Aino review

Will PS3 connectivity make this a mid-range media marvel?

Sony Ericsson Aino review
Sony Ericsson Aino review

Media on the Sony Ericsson Aino is pretty darn good, as you can imagine. Well, it's not as good as the Satio, but the ability to listen to music in two different ways (when the phone is open and closed) is a pretty nifty feature.

We found ourselves mostly using the media player when the phone is shut, simply because we prefer touchscreens for this application. The capacitive screen was far from being as responsive as we'd hoped, but it was still slick enough when needed.


The music player was a good effort on the Sony Ericsson Aino, with easy to use controls and the MH100 Bluetooth headset making the experience very nice to work with.

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The music interface was slow to react in portrait mode, although tunes sounded excellent over the wireless connection, and the whole thing sped along nicely on the touchscreen.

One major flaw was the inability to search for music to use on a playlist - we had to copy all the songs to a certain folder on the memory card in order to set them up to play continuously.

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Due to the low resolution of the screen, the Sony Ericsson Aino isn't capable of playing a huge number of our videos we've encoded specifically for mobile phone use.

The only way through was to resize and convert them all using the PC software, meaning a couple of overnight jobs just to watch a movie on the 3-inch screen. The experience was again enhanced by the MH100, but not supported by an average resolution. We could understand these characteristics in a cheaper phone, but for something that's fairly pricey we're a little perturbed.

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Video access was OK, especially in touch mode, and scrolling through and all the usual options worked well. We wouldn't use the Aino as a PMP regularly, but if you're willing to convert the files then you might enjoy the experience.

FM radio

Witchcraft-alert - somehow the Sony Ericsson Aino asks you to connect wired headphones to act as an antenna for the FM radio, but pull out the Bluetooth headset and it will work fine. We can only assume that the MH100 unit sends the signal back for the FM radio to pick up - either way, it's clever and very much unexpected.

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The radio is simple enough to use, and once again makes good use of the touchscreen for manual tuning (even if it did keep switching itself off).

YouTube and BBC iPlayer

You know how these work by now - we like the way Sony Ericsson packages them in the Xross Media Bar for easy viewing, and we imagine finding BBC iPlayer on board is a great surprise for some people.

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SMILEY MILEY: Yes, that's a grainy Miley Cyrus. She's rapping about not being on Twitter any more. Kids these days, eh... back in our time, we'd have to phone people to tell them

We won't go into great depth, as both do what they're supposed to - YouTube mobile needs a wider range of videos, but BBC iPlayer brings a very solid mobile experience.

PS3 connectivity

As we mentioned before, one of the big draws of the Aino is PS3 connectivity - offered both over 3G and Wi-Fi networks.

The set-up process is pretty convoluted, with codes having to be issued by the base unit to be synchronised with the Aino. It then asks for your PlaySation network user name and password, and the whole thing begins searching.

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The first time we tried it over Wi-Fi it worked pretty well - OK it was very slow, but the movie did play OK. However, get a text or a call or anything else other than the connection and the whole thing starts to go awry, and the phone slows down so much you're forced to pull out the PS3 connection.

And it gets worse - it would not work for us over 3G no matter how many times we tried (and that was nothing to do with the poor reception this time). And when we tried to use it over Wi-Fi again, it didn't work.

We'd advise if you're really after remote play from your PS3, pick up a PSP Go - at least they work more often than not.

Media Home

But weirdly, Media Home does work. Install the software to your PC, make sure it's switched on and let the phone find the content you've dubbed as share-worthy from your computer.

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It's neat, and as long as you have Wi-Fi turned on (and the settings turned to auto-update) users can get easy and automatic access to their favourite content without having to mess about with connecting up the phone.

Why this is hidden in 'Entertainment' and not on the media menu we're not sure, but it's a decent application nonetheless.