Sony Ericsson S312
Of all the various Sony Ericsson handsets I have looked at, the S312 is perhaps the smallest unit yet. Even down to the packaging and the folded User Guide, this product goes for the compact look. Adopting the candy bar style, the S312 is available in a choice of Dawn Blue or the Honey Silver of the review unit.
As mentioned, compact is the name of the game for this handset which measures 100 x 46 x 12.5mm (L x W x D). The S312 weighs in at 80.1g. Taking over the top half of the handset’s front is a 2.0 inch colour TFT screen with a 176 x 220 pixel resolution and capable of displaying 256K colours. As screens go this one is perfectly adequate with a reasonably bright display especially if you keep it clear from finger smears. Positioned beneath the screen is a fairly standard control and telephonic keypad arrangement. Due to the small size of the unit, this layout is rather cramped especially the four ribbed lines used for the telephonic alphanumeric keys. This is definitely a handset more suited to those with more flexible and nimble fingers than I possess.
The familiar connection slot for charger, hands-free and USB connectivity is found on the left side of the S312. Arranged along the right side of the handset are volume/digital zoom, video recorder and camera keys. The S312 camera, where else but on the rear of the device, is of the 2.0 megapixel variety. Settings are available for burst, night and delay mode plus flash, basic effects, photo fix and sending images by email or posting to a blog. There is an option to zoom in on a portion of a captured image but the results are blurred which rather defeats the purpose.
Images can be stored in the 15MB of internal memory or on a Memory Stick Micro (M2), which is not supplied, with support for up to 4GB. The memory card slot can only be accessed once you have removed the back of the unit and the battery. This is hardly the most convenient operation especially for those who like to switch between different memory cards. While on the subject of gaining entry to the innards of the S312 (battery, SIM and memory card), this is not the easiest task and you will require a decent length of fingernail or a sharp implement to prise the cover away from the back.
Music player facilities, as you would expect from a Sony Ericsson handset, have not been forgotten. Play modes can be set to shuffle or loop. You can select from ten different Equaliser settings or make manually adjustments plus add stereo widening. Music tracks can be viewed by artist, album, title or user-created playlist. Unfortunately the review kit was supplied without any hands-free or headphone unit so I was unable to check out the handsets radio feature as it requires the hands-free lead to be connected to act as an antenna. Three games (NitroStreet Racer, Guitar Rock Tour and Sudoku) are supplied as standard.
The S312 has the usual collection of telephony features. The product’s phonebook can store up to 1000 entries. You can send SMS, MMS and picture messages. There is predictive text for those who like the feature – personally I don’t and always turn it off – alarm clock, stopwatch, calculator, timer and calendar features. You also have access to the Web and can send/receive emails. Sony Ericsson has rated the handset’s battery life as up to 400 hours on standby with up to 480 minutes talk time.
If you are looking for a basic handset that has an appealing appearance then the Sony Ericsson S312 should suffice. It can carry out basic tasks, provide some entertainment and capture quick snaps with some video. Pay-as-you-go customers should be able to purchase this handset for around £90 while various contract offerings are available.
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