Sony Ericsson Aino Axe Murderer

Yesterday I was reading an article about a new BMW hybrid car, the X6 ActiveHybrid. Now this sounds rather nice, a car powered by two electric motors and one petrol. It wont kill polar bears with an axe, wont burn fuel like its water and it will make you seem all sensitive so liberal women will sleep with you.

There is one small issue though. This “green” BMW is powered by two electric motors and a HUGE 4.0L V8. Altogether producing a massive 358Kw which makes a Porsche 911 look a bit camp. So this BMW is a bit scitso, it’s like a conservationist who moonlights as an axe murderer.

Naturally this brings me onto the Sony Ericsson Aino. Again Sony Ericsson have given it a stupid name. But no matter, the Aino is a slide phone with a touch screen. So it’s also bit bi-polar.

I fully expected it to be a bit of a joke. Here is the issue. It feels half-assed. When you slide the phone down, the media interface in enabled and it’s a touch screen. No other features of the phone can be accessed by touch, only the media interface. When you slide the Aino up, it becomes a normal Sony Ericsson, with a navigation pad. Up, down, left, right. It’s almost as if the code-monkeys at Sony Ericsson where going to make the whole OS usable by touch, but then they just went home.

I don’t get why they didn’t go full touch. When the phone is closed, and the touch screen enabled. It’s a very good touch screen. One of the best we have used. So why not utilize its full potential?

No I’m doing this wrong, I haven’t been fair. I’ve been bitching about the media interface. Which just is not right. The fact is the Aino has one of the best multimedia interfaces I have ever come across. And when you slide it open you notice it’s actually a great phone to use.

It uses Sony Ericsson’s proprietary OS which is the same as it was a few years ago, despite a tweak here and there, and some new apps. Unlike Symbian which has aged as well as milk in the Sahara, Sony Ericsson OS still feels pretty good.

The pre-installed apps, like Facebook, AccuWeather and Wisepilot Navigation all work smoothly, even when running multiple apps at once. Yes, it does have multitasking! The built in email application is not at iPhone or Blackberry level, but it is way better than anything Nokia or Samsung offer on their entertainment phones.

It also handles SMS’s like conversations rather than individual messages; all this is not to mention the whole OS is the most visually appealing OS by far. With cool animations, that don’t seem to slow down the Aino at all, and awesome themes.

From an aesthetics point of view the Aino looks super classy it is available in black and white. My personal preference is the white model. It’s also a solid piece of kit, making any Nokia N-Series feel a bit like a kid’s toy. It slides up with a reassuring “Thwak!” giving it a very expensive feel.

On that note, the Aino is not exactly cheap. Retailing for around R5700 ($599 – £374.99) that’s serious money. But it looks cool, works well and feels great so why not? It may seem a bit odd that Sony Ericsson made a half touchscreen device. But BMW paired a scalextric engine, to a monster V8 and that seems to work and so does the Aino.

Brendon Ambrose