I'm in love
When you're in love, you tend to overlook the little imperfections, such as a screen which is a tad difficult to read at times, and a slider mechanism which is a bit fidgety, not to mention a camera which can do with a lot of improvements.
The object of my desire is the Sony Ericsson S500i. A slider phone, which looks utterly amazing.
The model I played around comes with a price tag of just over Rs. 28,000.
It's black, with a glossy black screen and a matt black back panel, and has a thin streak of white in between. The phone is characterised by its lighting system, which has around a dozen light effect themes. Although you need to be very very observant to differentiate between the lot.
The glossy front-end of the phone is prone to smudge marks and fingerprints, but that's kind of it, when it comes to the negatives. The perfect (there is no other word) screen is bright, and has vivid colours which are sharply rendered in its' 240x320 resolution screen.
The user experience starts the first time you switch the phone on, with its wizard-like setup assistant helping you configure the phone. And in normal Sony Ericsson style, it's very user friendly, and the supplied side-scrolling theme is an absolute joy to look at, and to use.
The response time of the menu tends to be a tad on the slow side, and coming back to the 'home screen' takes a while. No Nokia-style 'close all' key here.
Specs wise it has a 2MP camera, and then the usual GPRS and Bluetooth connectivity. But again keeping with Sony Ericsson's new blogging-friendly style, it has a photoblog feature and a native RSS reader. The RSS reader fetches an excerpt from a post or a news item, and the whole story can then be opened in the phone's native web browser.
Music playback quality is good, and Sony's years of experience in the audio industry shines through.
Sadly though, the S500i does not have an FM radio. And even though the phone parts are made in Malaysia, and the final thing comes to life in China, the phone is pretty well built, and feels solid overall.
Verdict: It's the best looking phone I've seen so far. Features wise there might be some other phones which might be available, but the looks and the usability tilt the thing in the phone's favour. And I say it again: I'm in love with this thing. And when a hardcore Nokia fan falls in love with a Sony Ericsson, that says a lot.