The Sony Ericsson Yendo is the first full touch walkman phone from SE. With its Walkman logo, ten vibrant colours from which buyers can choose – red , yellow, purple, white, orange, green, silver, black, pink, and blue, as well as its very attractive price, SE clearly has its sights set on the teen market (and those who are young at heart).

With 93.5 x 52 x 15.5 mm dimensions and a weight of 81 grams, the Yendo is compact, fits nicely into the palm and is comfortable to handle. The 2.6-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen is on the small side, and displays 256,000 colours with a QVGA resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. Touchscreen sensitivity is good, but that is expected of all capacitive touchscreens. Despite the relatively low resolution, image quality is pretty decent; due in part to the Yendo’s diminutive screen. Sunlight legibility and viewing angles are quite good too. Plus, the screen is scratch-resistant, so fret not, butterfingers. It is, however, a bit of a fingerprint magnet. Although users might be put off by the all-plastic casing, the Yendo feels solid enough and thankfully does not feel cheap. The front casing is invariably black, but users can choose from the aforementioned ten colours for the rear casing to suit their personalities. The rear casing also has a matte coating, which renders it stain-resistant. The Yendo comes with a proximity sensor, which turns off the touchscreen whenever the phone is placed near the user’s ear. This prevents unwanted incidents when the user’s cheek presses on the screen icons, which would have been deactivated by the proximity sensor.

Powering the Yendo is the 156 MHz ARM 946 processor, which, unfortunately, is hardly adequate for a full touchscreen phone like the Yendo. Users are in for a frustrating phone experience, what with the considerable lag and almost constant freeze-ups. Although the Yendo bears an uncanny resemblance to the SE Xperia X10 Mini, a smartphone the Yendo is not. It runs the Sony Ericsson Proprietary OS, not the Android OS. It just comes disguised with the Four Corner user interface, which first made its debut on the Xperia X10 Mini. However, unlike the Xperia X10 Mini, the homescreen does not display any widgets. The customisable shortcuts on each of the four corners of the screen lead to the phonebook, walkman player, messaging application, and call log (by default). At the centre of the homescreen is a large clock and beneath it, the date. A major shortcoming of the Yendo is its lack of support for multi-tasking. The Event log, Running Apps tab, and My Shortcuts tab are all absent, making it impossible to switch between tasks. Even the File Manager that allows file browsing and accessing is missing.

The Yendo’s performs well in terms of reception, loudspeaker and in-call sound quality. Messaging can be a bit of a hassle for those on the go or hardcore texters, as it does not come with a virtual QWERTY keyboard. Its lack of an accelerometer also means it’s not capable of screen auto-rotation.

The Yendo features the latest in Walkman software, which strives to offer a user-centric music experience. The music player supports various formats (MP3, WAV, WMA etc). Users can create playlists and sort their music by various categories. SensMe is a nifty little feature that assesses the mood and tempo of the track that is currently playing and uses that information to suggest songs and generate playlists. Because the Yendo does not come with an accelerometer, it does not offer the Shake Control feature that many other Walkman phones have. Considering that the Yendo is a Walkman phone, it is a little odd that the music player does not come with a manual equaliser, only presets (Bass, Megabass, Treble etc). Moreover, repeating tracks is impossible. The 3.5mm audio jack allows users to use their own favourite headsets, and also supports the Sony Ericsson MH-810 headset, which of course, is optional.

The Yendo features a 2.0 megapixel camera with 4X zoom. Autofocus, flash assistance and geo-tagging are all absent; and photo quality is mediocre at best. There is also no secondary camera for video-calling. Suffice to say, the Yendo’s camera is underwhelming.

The Yendo’s very basic video player supports MP4, WMV, H.263 and H.264 3GP files and is capable of recording videos in QCIF resolution (approximately 0.02 megapixels). Quality of recorded video is below average, but manages a fairly consistent frame rate of 30fps.

The photo viewer allows one-finger zooming instead of pinch-zooming. It is simple and does not take any getting used to.

The Yendo’s Obigo Q7 browser felt very much like an afterthought. There is no page zooming option, multiple tab function, and flash support. The standard Youtube application does not make an appearance either.

The Yendo fails to impress on the connectivity front. It only supports 2G, GPRS class and EDGE. For some, the lack of WiFi, 3G and GPS is kind of a deal-breaker. USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP are included; enabling file transferring as well as phone charging, and audio streaming to a paired Bluetooth headset respectively. The 5MB internal memory is insufficient for music lovers, but the Yendo supports up to 16GB Micro SD memory cards.

A 970mAh Li-Polymer battery powers the Yendo. It provides 312 hours of standby time and 3.5 hours of talk time.

Pros and Cons
The attractiveness of the Yendo lies in its stylish design and hard-to-beat price. However, they are outweighed by its many weaknesses, namely its poor connectivity, frustratingly sluggish UI, sub-standard camera. For a Walkman phone, the music player is not anything to shout about either.

The Yendo’s target audience – media-centric users who want nothing more than an affordable, visually-striking but basic touchscreen phone that they can flaunt; might lap the Yendo up, notwithstanding its many flaws. However, a laggy user interface is unacceptable to any phone user, discerning or not. Therefore, the future of the Yendo may well be a bleak one.

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