Available from: Vodafone and Telecom
In the market for a phone? Own a PlayStation 3? Then the Sony Ericsson Aino demands your attention. The Aino features Remote Play functionality, allowing you to remotely control and access any of the media on your PS3 – with the exception of games – from wherever in the world you happen to be. As long as your home PS3 is connected to the Internet and on standby, you can stream any of its stored movies, music and pictures to your Aino via 3G or wi-fi. Obviously, wi-fi is the way to go to avoid hefty data charges, but it’s nice to know you can listen to any song from your music collection at any time if you really need to. Regardless, it’s a powerful feature that means you’re no longer limited to your device’s onboard memory when it comes to accessing your media content.
The Remote Play feature reduces the quality of the stream to your Aino, but it’s hardly noticeable on the device’s smaller resolution. It’s fairly impressive; the only delay in the process is that it takes 10-15 seconds to connect to your PS3 in the first instance, but then you have true real-time control of the console.
While it’s easy to tout the connectivity aspect of the Aino and overlook the phone’s other features, they’re nothing to scoff at. For a start, there’s an 8.1 megapixel camera, which effectively one-ups the previous ConnectMe camera-phone favourite, the Nokia N86. There’s also an accelerometer and touchscreen functionality (limited only to the multimedia component). And while there’s a mere 55MB of integrated memory, there’s a memory stick slot for a further 16GB. It also comes bundled with a handy Bluetooth headset/microphone with two fitted ear buds and a handy little charging/viewing dock.
PROS: PlayStation 3 Remote Play functionality is a big draw, and it features almost everything you’d expect of a phone at this price point, and then some.
CONS: Those used to some of the more popular smartphones may find the interface lacking.
VERDICT: For PlayStation 3 owners who use their console as a multimedia hub, the Aino is an extremely attractive proposition. It works well, and unlike many phones, there are no gaping holes in its wider feature set. If media access is a major consideration, the Aino delivers that on top of what is a fairly versatile phone in its own right.