Sony Ericsson Z610 review: Glossy magic

Michal Sedlák, 10 October 2006.

Magnificent keypad

I am overwhelmed. It has been ages since I last typed on such a brilliant keypad as is the one of Sony Ericsson Z610. One sure thing is that mobile manufacturers usually install spacey keypads in clamshell models. Sony Ericsson Z610 however comes to offer an exquisite keypad design, ideal key distribution and perfect key reactions - basically all one needs for seamless and comfortable typing.

Sony Ericsson Z610 Sony Ericsson Z610 Sony Ericsson Z610
Keypad is extremely comfortable • main switch-off button is untraditionally situated in the bottom

Numeric keys are spacey; they stand out a little, this way facilitating the finger to move from one key to another. The functional keys are glossy, which makes them optically stand out from the surrounding surface. The main control key has a confirming center and is generally very comfortable to manage.

Sony Ericsson Z610 Sony Ericsson Z610
Main four-way key with confirming center, surrounded by functional keys

Beneath the control key you will see three keys with fixed functions. The left one runs the web browser, the middle one activates the camera, and the right one provides access to My menu. All three keys are slightly uplifted and easy to find by touch. The keypad is illuminated in white. It gets activated gradually from the display downwards every time the phone is opened or a random key has been pressed. Cool, indeed.

Sony Ericsson Z610 Sony Ericsson Z610
Keypad backlighting

In the part called "My shortcuts" you can create a list of all important menu items with instant access. The folder "New events" stores received but unread messages, missed calls, and alerts of events in the calendar. The next in line is the folder containing frequently browsed websites. Another excellent folder is "Running applications"; here you can manage all running Java programs (there could be three to four of them running in background simultaneously). This is what I call real multitasking - an extremely rare option to find in common mobile phones without OS.

The display is slightly bigger than the display of Sony Ericsson K750. The pity, however, is that SE has decided to stick to a basic resolution of 176 x 220 pixels and visualization of 262K colors. Both brightness and contrast are good. Besides, the black surface below the large glass of the display makes the latter look even bigger than it really is.

Sony Ericsson Z610 Sony Ericsson Z610 Sony Ericsson Z610
Display • resolution is nothing special, but looks good

Menu with animation

The main menu hides no surprises. It is a typical Sony Ericsson menu as used in many recent models. Icons are elaborated precisely; nearly every menu corner features animation. Even so, Sony Ericsson Z610 is fast. No function took it more to open or activate than one would have expected.


Three built-in color schemes with animated wallpaper

When the device is on stand-by the left functional key provides access to information about calls, while the right one opens the menu. Calls are controlled through the keys located below the display (as you know it has already been some time since Sony Ericsson stopped applying the classical green and red keys). Each way of the main control key can be assigned an instant-menu function. Just on the contrary, the functions assigned to the functional keys are fixed, that is, not user-configurable. Having a huge clock appear across nearly half the display is quite nice though.

Phone settings consist of 5 items

Video calls

Having once mentioned the display and the second camera for video calls located above its top edge, let me detail video calling and its options here. Once you have selected a contact in your phonebook, you can choose whether the call you want to execute should be a standard one or a video call. In the latter case the phone reserves the down left corner of the display for the image created with the front camera (VGA resolution of 640 x 480 pixels). Here you will watch yourself. The rest of the display is occupied by the picture of the person on the opposite side. I guess some people may want to change places of the two pictures...

Sony Ericsson Z610
VGA camera for video calls

During a call you can zoom in the other party's image twice (by one step at a time); exposure compensation, however, is no more a subject to modification like it used to be earlier. Darkness is not a problem as the phone has a night mode. The front camera could be fully deactivated. If you feel like showing the opposite side a subject or your environment, you can switch to main-camera mode without having to interrupt your call.

Video calling and its interface