Sony Ericsson Spiro
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Sony Ericsson Spiro overview

Amongst the consumers of mobile devices, there is a large market segment who do not want an all singing, all dancing device. For many of these users, the development of the smartphone is a world that completely passes them by, they are either not interested, or they are wary of such complicated products. For any manufacturer to be successful, it is vital to have a good range of devices in their portfolio that cater for this market. The devices may not catch the eye or lead the headlines the way top end converged smartphones do, but by the shear number of devices sold in this market, it helps keep the profits turning over, and that is all important in the battle to survive in a competitive industry. That brings us nicely to the Sony Ericsson Spiro, a low end device coming under the Walkman brand.

The Spiro is a compact handset, slide form factor, measuring 92 x 48 x 17mm and weighing a lightweight 90g. The screen is a standard QVGA TFT display, supporting up to 256,000 colours, measuring 2.2 inches point to point. The keys under the display share that common design as seen on many previous Sony Ericsson handsets; flanking the central, circular Navi key are semi circle menu selection keys, which circle around the call send/end keys, although these may change to bespoke action keys, depending on the level of network customisation that goes onto branded devices. The Navi key slightly slopes into the middle where there is a large button for making selections whilst browsing the menu. These main keys also double up as music control keys; pressing up from the main standby on the Navi key quick launches the music player, whilst the side parts of the Navi key operate as fast forward and rewind options. The middle key doubles up for play/pause functionality.

The Walkman 4.0 player menu is well laid out, and easily navigated, even by someone who may be new to this style of device. Music is listed in various ways, and can easily be accessed by genre, artist and album. Playlists are easily created on the handset, and there is full support for album art. The device itself, in keeping with the low price range of the handset, offers only 5MB of internal memory capacity. This is compensated by the inclusion of a Micro SD memory card slot, with official support for memory cards up to 16 GB, plenty of room for thousands of tracks. Thankfully Sony Ericsson has also included a 3.5mm audio jack on the Spiro, so you can easily listen to your music with your own favourite headset. This is still a novelty for Sony Ericsson, even in the recent past most Walkman branded devices made do with the proprietary Sony Ericsson connection port. Whilst you could use a headphone adaptor, this often meant around 2m of cable to deal with, which would be very annoying.

The music player on the device supports multiple formats, including MP3, AAC, eAAC+ and WAV, and as well as the Walkman there is also a stereo FM radio with full RDS support. The inclusion of Bluetooth 2.1 also allows you to listen to your music on the move with a compatible wireless headset.

The Spiro is a dual band GSM phone, with limited data connection options, restricted to just GPRS and EDGE. This suffices for general web browsing, but you wouldn’t want to be attempting any downloads of any kind. A good option here would be to use the Opera Mini browser, which offers superior experience browsing on low speed data networks. The Spiro includes a basic 2.0 Megapixel camera, with video record facility, and there are native Facebook and Twitter applications included on the device, too.

Clearly the Spiro is all about the music, and in that regard it works well, and would make an ideal device to use on a night out, instead of taking a more expensive handset or music player. Apart from the Walkman effect, the Spiro is just a standard run of the mill mobile phone, and this may just be the key to its success.

The Sony Ericsson Spiro is expected to launch sometime during Q3 2010, and will be available in Black contrast, Pink sunset, Green Spring and Black stealth colour variants.

Sony Ericsson Spiro full specifications