Sony Ericsson S312

Despite its budget price point, the Sony Ericsson S312 has good intentions with its classy look and good build quality – but is it just a wannabe?

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On opening the box, one of the first things you’ll notice is how the top portion of the handset looks like it’s entirely screen. This is a nice effect that contrasts well with the lower half of the silver keypad. With the screen off, it has a slight mirror effect to it which may annoy some, but it doesn’t ever become unusable.

The keypad is separated into four striped rows that are slightly bevelled, which is great for moving from top to bottom and vice versa, but moving from left to right, you don’t get the usual separation of each key that you normally find. It’s not a deal-breaker but those who find themselves texting a lot may find it tricky to get used to for the speed-texters out there.

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A touch of gold and chrome finishes off the keypad design and helps accentuate the whole shiny theme of the handset. Dedicated shortcut keys can be found on the right edge of the phone which are multi-functional. In camera mode, you can use the volume keys for zooming functionality and the shutter button which launches the camera to take the shot. A dedicated key for switching into video mode can also be found for quick access to snap a video.

Flip the phone over and you will find a 2.0 megapixel camera with an LED light. Picture quality is reasonable in well-lit conditions but indoor shots and nighttime shots don’t really make the cut with the single LED. Video recording is a bit like going back in time though with the maximum resolution at 320 x 240 and a 15fps refresh rate. When you’re in camera-mode, the 3, 6, 9 and # keys give you access to a number of camera functions such as activating the timer and changing the focus mode.

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Internal flash storage comes in at 15MB, so if you do intend on keeping your photos and videos on the handset, you’ll need to invest in an M2 card. Not a big problem these days since even the largest of the M2 cards can be picked up for next to nothing.

The S312 has a distinct look that will appeal to fashionistas on a budget. The features don’t quite match up to appearances and they could have made the camera a little bit better, but given the price point, you can hardly blame it for the shortcomings.

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Overall, the S312 is a ideal if you’re looking for a no-nonsense phone that looks like it might be more expensive than it actually is – as long as you don’t have any need for the plethora of new features that can be found in modern phones today, then the S312 is the one for you.

2009-10-12 Onwah Tsang

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