Chuck your digital camera

Sony Ericsson’s “Satio” Mobile Phone has a 12.1 megapixel camera. It isn’t a bad phone either.

Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: December 13, 2009

There are mobile phones and then there are more mobile phones. You could walk into a store and be inundated by choice. This is a techophile’s idea of a candy shop, the only difference being that a candy shop does not have so much choice. The new handset from Sony Ericsson however, stands out in a crowd.

Now, “stands out” is a common cliché used in reviews, but the “Satio” has a 12.1 megapixel camera. Which verges on the ridiculous when you consider this is a mobile phone. Only about five years ago did cameras become a hygiene factor on high-end mobiles and today you have a device featuring 12.1 megapixels of camera goodness. This actually makes the Satio more a competitor to Sony’s Cybershot cameras than to other mobile devices.

The point is that this is the best camera on any mobile device out there. Sony Ericsson has always had the best cameras on their mobiles but this one does put a lot of fairly decent point-and-click digital cameras to shame. Sure, like most point-and-click cameras it cannot shoot in RAW mode, and low-light photography while superior to some pointand-clicks, could be better. And the “Face” focus usually locks in on one person making everyone else in the shot seem a bit out of focus.

But operating the camera’s settings is a lot easier than on any other mobile. The touchscreen implementation on the Satio is surprisingly good. In fact, one would go as far as to say that the Satio is the best mobile running Nokia’s Symbian Operating System thanks to its very beefy main processor. Everything else about the phone, including the interface, is very good. The 3.5 inch touch-screen is not as smooth as the iPhone’s (it is resistive-touch not the iPhone’s capacitive “multi-touch”), but the menu options and application support are excellent.

But that said, the Satio has a few critical flaws. The 640x360 pixel resolution screen is very good but Sony Ericsson has not built support for a 3.5mm headphone jack. The second is that it costs a lot. For Rs 35,950 you could probably pick up a very good Sony Cybershot anda decent phone as well. Though, chances are that you will becarrying your mobile with you everywhere and not your camera, and if you want shots from your mobile phone to look good you can’t do any better than this.

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