Designed for the communication savvy youngster, the Mylo offers broadband messaging in a compact if slightly toy-like format. Mylo stands for ‘my life online’, and is a brave stab at grabbing the attention of the MySpace generation.

It rides the wave of the instant messaging phenomenon, allowing you access to all your currently online friends via its ‘What’s Up’ screen. We can’t help saying it in a Budweiser-style ‘Wassssup!’, but that could just be us.

Don't chuck your mobile

It looks like a cross between a shrunken PSP and a phone – think T-Mobile’s Sidekick – but the Mylo can’t make calls. Well, that’s not exactly true, because one of the features included is Skype compatibility, but we are far from convinced that the target market is ready to ditch mobile calls for VoIP just yet.

All the messaging is facilitated by Mylo’s wireless capability, in the form of 802.1b Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s dead simple to get connected at home or around town, and the speeds of communications and loading internet pages is impressive – think faster than 3G.

You can also set it up in ad hoc wireless mode to communicate head-to-head with another Mylo. But, seeing as there are no games on board, the only use for this we can think of is friends passing illicit messages in double history.

Web slinger

Along with instant messaging, Mylo can also access web-based email accounts such as Gmail with no difficulty. However, there’s no email client built into the device, which is a shame, as it rather limits its appeal.

The impression that this is a kid’s gadget is enhanced further by the hidden keyboard. It slides out from under the main body with a convincing click, but getting average sized thumbs around the QWERTY pads is dead tricky.

The best physical aspect of the Mylo is its screen. Along with being a decent MP3 player the Mylo can also play MPEG4 movies and display still images, and both were well served by the 2.4inch 320x240-pixel resolution LCD with 65,536 colours.

Camera obscurer

The lack of a camera is very surprising, and we think it will be a major factor in people deciding to ignore the Mylo. We can imagine the meetings at Sony’s head offices where Mylo was discussed: the gaming division not wanting it distracting from the PSP; the Cyber-Shot bods vetoing the camera; and the Sony Ericsson marketing team refusing to let it make proper phone calls.

But the biggest problem we have with this device is the price: £250 sounds like a lot. However, when you consider that there’s no contract involved as there would be with a mobile…it still sounds a lot! Especially as you won’t be able to upgrade Mylo after a year.

The result is a neat but niche product that offers a well-packaged bunch of features that are, nevertheless, available elsewhere.

Use it with…

Stuff Essentials – In-ear headphones

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Stuff says... 

Sony Mylo review

Sony’s Mylo looks like the ultimate communications device. But with too many major drawbacks we doubt mobile manufacturers will be quaking in their boots just yet.