Ever since the joint venture, more and more Sony lifestyle technologies have been making their way into Sony Ericsson mobile phones; prime examples being the Cyber-shot K800i and the Walkman W850i. However, while these phones have powerful features, they've never made as deep an impact in the consumer markets as they should have. Considering that they target the younger crowd, partial blame can be placed on their business-like designs. Thus, like a sibling taking fashion tips from an older sister, Sony Ericsson has borrowed yet another design element from Sony for their latest Z610i clamshell. Following in the footsteps of the sleek Sony NW-A1000 Walkman, the Sony Ericsson Z610i features the same mirror-finish surface and hidden OLED display. The result of this crossover is a stunningly elegant clamshell mobile phone; a new breed of Sony Ericsson like you've never seen before.
From its initial looks, the latest Z610i doesn't seem like the usual Sony Ericsson phone we've come to know of. Many of their recent phone models show a masculine front, boasting features and technology, but the Z610i takes on a more Zen approach with form and function. The Z610i is a fashion statement with an elegance that should appeal to the ladies and even the men – never mind that Rose Pink is one of its available colors (the other two being Luster Black and Airy Blue). The conceptual design of the phone is simplicity and has a completely smooth surface except for the 2.0-megapixel camera out front. The high-gloss surface should turn some heads the moment you take it out from your pocket. What's so cool about the mirror finish is the hidden OLED display that lights up to shows information like Caller ID, SMS alerts, missed calls, time and other basic information. During a conversation, it even plays a simple animation, raising the 'bling' factor.
The Z610i utilizes an external 2.0-megapixel camera for photo and video recording and can either save into its 16MB internal memory or optional M2 (Memory Stick Micro) memory cards. 16MB is a paltry amount of memory to have on a phone today, especially with the Z610i's audio, video and multimedia capabilities. Sony Ericsson does bundle in a 64MB M2 card in the package, but even that seems hardly enough. Like the K800i, the Z610i also has a photo blogging feature. This feature requires registration though and thankfully, with 3G capabilities, uploading photos doesn't take too long. The Z610i has a dedicated music playback button on its left and let's you access its media player function.
Overall, we like the Z610i not just for its stunningly seductive design, but also because it is a feature-complete phone. 3G video calling and messaging, web access, RSS support, MMS, push email, decent 2.0-megapixel camera and music playback (MP3/AAC) are just some of the things this baby can do. The Z610i doesn't need to have a complicated or cluttered design as its simplicity just grows on you. Our only gripe with the mirror-like surface is its characteristic for being a fingerprint magnet. You'll find yourself cleaning the phone pretty often, but luckily, its surface is scratch-resistant to a certain degree. Fans of Sony's latest NW-A1000 Walkman will find the Z610i clamshell a great compliment to their collection. Strangely though, there isn't a hook anywhere you can attach a lanyard to, but if you're looking for a phone that can be worn just as well as it can be used, the Z610i may be an interesting choice to consider once it becomes available sometime in mid-October.