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Sony Ericsson K220i review

Sony Ericsson’s latest tiddler of a mobile is a basic phone that offers a lot of bang for very little buck

In mobile phone world you easily pay a premium for compactness. But the K220i rubbishes this ancient law of tech by being cheap, easily pocketable and packing a colour screen, camera and FM radio.

This wouldn’t mean much in a top-range style handset, but in a model aimed at commanding a low price on pay-as-you-go, it’s impressive.

Some candy talking

The K220i’s looks are decent enough – it’s a weeny little candy bar with blue-black casing (also available in white) and chrome trim.

The colour screen is not the latest (65,536 colours, where top-flight screens have 16 million plus), and the simple wallpapers on offer don’t make the screen shine.

The camera is similarly basic at VGA resolution (that’s 0.3 megapixels). The direction pad at the base of the screen handily has a camera icon, so pressing up switches the snapper on.

You can send images in messages or via infra-red – there’s no Bluetooth on board, sadly – and images are fine for messages or wallpaper, but not blowing up the poster size.

Radio daze

The other directions on the navigation pad take you to contacts, messages or FM radio. As with other phones, the FM radio only works when you have the antenna, the headset, connected.

However, although the radio tuner is stereo, the headset is not. Since there’s no standard audio jack, it’s hard to see a way around this without buying an extra one at further cost.

The sound is good through the headset, especially for talk channels, but it’s a shame you can’t do anything else (like write a message) without turning the radio off. Still, it’s easy to use, and lets you save 10 favourite stations.

Scrolling menus

The menu system favours a scrolling list rather than the more common grid of icons, perhaps because the screen is so small. It works fine, helped by the features not being as comprehensive as those on tip-top handsets.

There are three games on board, including Quadra Pop, a plinky-plonky scored underwater puzzler, and Honey Cave 2, which features a gun-toting bear, bees, honey and deathtrap platforms. Enough for short out-of-coverage moments, perhaps.

Basic means basic

You’ll find alarm, calendar, timer, stopwatch and calculator functions, but little else. Enough, then, for those people who swear they only want a basic handset.

If that’s what you’re looking for, the K220i is a good choice, with decent but unexceptional battery life, simple and intuitive menus and looks that belie its budget price.


Stuff Says…

Score: 3/5