Sony Ericsson K610 review: Sure 3G choice
Calls made simple
The Calls log is divided in four different tabs. They are: All, Answered (Received), Dialed and Missed. The tabs altogether contain up to 30 call records, which are shared between the separate tabs.
Trash the typewriter
All messages, except emails, use one Inbox. No matter what kind of message has been received, it goes to the common Inbox. Only email messages have their own separate Inbox. There is a My Friends feature which works like an instant messaging application and can be used if your network operator supports it. The phone also offers a RSS feeds reader that in fact uses the NetFront web browser.
When you start typing a message, first you must choose from the three variants: Text message, Picture message or Voice message. There is no point in that as you can easily transform a SMS into a MMS along the way by simply attaching multimedia objects to the message. The editor shows up to 5 lines en bloc. There is a character counter which activates when you reach 20 characters before the 160 limit. When you pass the limit a "2 SMS" warning sign comes up for a second to alert you that the message will be divided in two parts. Of course, there is the T9 dictionary to assist the typing.
The email client supports POP3 and IMAP protocols. It can also manage several accounts simultaneously. You can choose from downloading only headers or headers and text. There are many options available for the check interval, you can set it to check from every 5 minutes to 12 hours or disable the automatic check at all.
Music all over
Sony Ericsson K610 supports MP3, WAV, MP4, AAC, AMR, MIDI file formats. The media player has an equalizer with several options and can manage Playlists. It also plays both music and video files. It can be set to run in background so you can do other things with the phone while listening to music. Unfortunately, when in background mode, there is no indication of the name of the song and artist of the track currently playing. Otherwise, the control of the player is intuitive, it can be controlled via the navigation D-pad and that makes it really easy. The player is identical to the one seen in W-series music phones, and Sony Ericsson claim that the final version of the phone would include the MegaBass® equalizer preset which is a Walkman trademark. Unfortunately, our test phone didn't have such an equalizer preset. Generally speaking, the player has the same functionality as the first generation of Walkman phones - similar to the one of W810, for example.
File management at your fingertips
If you have used other Sony Ericsson handsets you won't be surprised by the K610 file manager because there are no significant improvements here. On the other hand if you are still new to SE phones, well let me tell you that they have one of the best non-OS file managers. It allows you to mark files (single or multiple), copy them, move them, and also create and delete folders as you please. There are three tabs of file lists - one for the phone memory files, one for the memory stick files and one mutual for all files. By selecting a given tab you can filter the file list you wish to see.
Browsing your pictures is as easy as ever - you could do that as a list with or without thumbnails while the file names are visible. You can also choose to view your pictures as a grid matrix of thumbnails in 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 grids with no file names visible. The video files can also be browsed as thumbnails.
You can view the pictures themselves vertically (in portrait mode) just as you would on a normal phone or horizontally (in landscape mode) if you prefer. The landscape mode allows for more details since most of the pictures are shot in a landscape aspect ratio and they fit better in a landscape screen. When viewing the pictures one by one the phone downsamples them and preloads the images in order to allow you fast browsing. By downsampling we mean that it displays them with a much lower quality than normally. Once you find a picture you would like to see in its full glory you should stop browsing for a second and the phone would load it with its normal quality.
You can zoom in to the actual size of the picture or even more, up to 32x. Zooming is performed by small incrementing steps. That allows greater control but is kind of irritating since you have to go through several stages before you zoom in to the actual size of the picture.
The new thing about the file browser is the Timeline view which allows you to filter the pictures according to the month they have been taken in. After you specify the month, you could even choose the exact date. It's that sort of image filtering that is offered by computer picture browsers. The Timeline sorting will be seen more and more often in the K-series of mobile phones.