The Satio was Sony Ericsson’s first cellphone with a 12MP digital camera. It very practically grew to become the primary 12MP cellphone ever, but it surely was overwhelmed by a couple of months by rival Pixon12 from Samsung. It is a rivalry that we are going to revisit in only a bit.
Even when it couldn’t declare the bragging rights of being first, the Satio produced top quality images on the click on of a button. And it had loads of buttons – you’d be forgiven for those who mistake the correct aspect of the cellphone for the highest aspect of a point-and-shoot digital camera. The rear was very camera-like as nicely, plus you had a pleasant huge display screen with which to border your shot and assessment your images. Actually, if it wasn’t for the pink and inexperienced buttons on the entrance, this might simply have been a Sony digital digital camera.
We’ll discuss in regards to the digital camera in a second, however enable us to set the scene first. It was a turbulent time for Sony Ericsson – the Satio was its first Symbian cellphone with the S60 fifth version interface (later renamed to Symbian^1). This was after SE’s contact interface of alternative, UIQ, shut down improvement. And it was simply earlier than the corporate adopted Android. Additionally across the similar time got here SE’s flirtation with Home windows Cellular.
The seek for the One True Touchscreen OS is an fascinating story that we are going to inform sooner or later. Now let’s take a look at some digital camera samples. The primary one reveals a graffiti rendition of the iPhone, the perpetrator that prompted Sony Ericsson’s cut up persona. The corporate could not have flown at Nokia’s altitude, but it surely was fairly profitable within the period when function telephones dominated. The launch of the iPhone turned the entire trade on its head, inflicting the corporate (and others) to scramble seeking a response.
Digicam samples: Sony Ericsson Satio • Sony Xperia 1 II
Again to the photograph. The very first thing we observed is simply how slender the lens is – we took a Sony Xperia 1 II alongside to check how a lot Sony’s cell pictures has developed prior to now decade. This photograph was taken with the principle 24mm digital camera of the trendy flagship and it has a noticeably wider discipline of view. That is earlier than we even get to the ultrawide-angle digital camera.
Right here’s a comparability between the only digital camera of the Satio, towards the pliability provided by the three cameras of the Mark 2 flagship.
Digicam samples: Sony Ericsson Satio • Xperia 1 II (extensive) • Xperia 1 II (ultrawide) • Xperia 1 II (telephoto)
The explanation we’re holding each a Satio and an Xperia 1 II is as a result of we wished to see how far alongside smartphones have come when it comes to picture high quality and typically. These are Sony (Ericsson)’s finest digital camera telephones of the 12 months 2009 and 2020. With all that progress, some issues haven’t modified.
The SE Satio is dwarfed by the Xperia 1 II – telephones have changed into giants over the past decade
You will have observed that each the Satio and the Xperia 1 II shoot at 12MP decision. In truth, most smartphones lately goal that decision. Even those with excessive megapixel rely sensors are inclined to default to pixel binning to 12MP.
Take into account that a 1080p TV has solely 2 megapixels or so, a 4K TV goes as much as 8MP. Even accounting for the totally different side ratios (16:9 for TVs and Satio’s display screen and 4:Three for its sensor), the digital camera outputs 9MP pictures. 12MP is the candy spot between having sufficient decision to zoom in a bit or fill a contemporary 4K TV and having picture recordsdata which can be a manageable measurement. Plus the tiny cellphone optics are actually pushed to their limits already so rising the decision additional brings quickly diminishing returns.
Digicam samples: Sony Ericsson Satio • Sony Xperia 1 II
In its heyday the Sony Ericsson Satio was one among finest cell digital camera round. In our assessment we described the picture high quality like this: “the quantity of resolved element is nice and the noise ranges are tolerable”. After all, that was again in 2009, picture sensors and picture processing have developed at a formidable tempo over the past decade.
Via trendy eyes we see a good bit of coloration noise, even after the noise discount system smudged up a big portion of the nice element. The dynamic vary is sort of slender, although the digital camera does nicely to protect the darker areas. Colour rendering is nice, if a contact oversaturated. Plus, for those who zoom out a bit, the images usually are not unhealthy in any respect.
The expertise of utilizing the digital camera additionally reveals how far we’ve come. The ponderous autofocus of the Satio takes ages in comparison with the lightning quick Xperia AF system. Processing and storing the picture is slower too. Talking of storing pictures, we left the workplace with no microSD – we’ll simply shoot a couple of photograph samples, we thought, no want for additional storage. It’s been some time so we had forgotten that the Satio has solely 128 MB of built-in reminiscence, a few of which was reserved for the system. This implies the cellphone can match solely 22 pictures at 12 MP. We made it work, however a bit extra storage would have been appreciated on a digital camera cellphone.
Capturing with the Sony Ericsson Satio was fairly enjoyable, although. The digital camera is protected by a spring-loaded slider – you push it out of the best way and the digital camera app launches. It retains the lens free from smudges and scratches. Shut the slider while you’re carried out (once more having fun with that tactile motion of the spring-loaded mechanism) and the cellphone locks and goes to sleep.
The cellphone has a really camera-centric set of controls too. The 2-stage shutter secret is right here, a Sony staple even in the present day, although this one is surrounded by blue gentle when it’s prepared for motion. There’s a devoted button to modify between photograph and video mode, a button to open the gallery and the quantity buttons acted as zoom out and in buttons.
As primary because the digital camera app is, it has a number of preset scenes and smile detection. BestPic is spectacular – it takes 9 pictures in fast succession and mechanically selects the perfect one (although you may choose a number of different of the sequence). Additionally, there’s a built-in GPS receiver, so the cellphone can geotag the images.
The digital camera is much less spectacular in video mode – the Satio may solely report VGA movies (640 x 480 px) at 30 fps. This was expanded to widescreen (WVGA, 864 x 480 px) with an replace, however nonetheless no HD. The primary Sony Ericsson cellphone able to 720p HD video recording was the Vivaz, which got here in 2010, however that’s a narrative for one more time.
The cellphone is reasonably thick, particularly the half with the sliding digital camera cowl, but it surely has each xenon flash and an LED flash. Can this outdated timer truly rating a victory towards its great-great-great-grandson due to its extra highly effective flash?
Nicely, no. Even again within the day the Satio had one of many weaker xenon flashes and it’s nowhere close to highly effective sufficient to offset the darker lens (f/2.eight vs. f/1.7), the last decade outdated sensor and decade outdated picture processing. Lenses, sensors and algorithms have come an extended, great distance since 2009. The xenon flash nonetheless helped the Satio to get an honest view of a close-by topic, however the background, which is additional away, is all however misplaced.
Digicam samples, flash enabled: Sony Ericsson Satio • Sony Xperia 1 II
Listed below are some extra digital camera samples within the not-so-dark – these had been shot close to massive retail shops with loads of illumination across the property. Nonetheless, the Sony Ericsson Satio wanted to drop to 1/eight second shutter velocity to assemble sufficient gentle. At this velocity (and with out fancy algorithms) handshake is seen and smudges the picture. The trendy Xperia 1 II does additional processing to each produce a greater picture and counteract the handshake (the OIS helped as nicely).
Digicam samples, low-light: Sony Ericsson Satio • Sony Xperia 1 II
The Satio is a touchscreen cellphone, although removed from Sony Ericsson’s first. In truth, the Ericsson R380 had a big touchscreen and ran the EPOC OS, the predecessor of Symbian.
The Satio has a 3.5” LCD on the entrance with capacitive contact. Impressively, it might probably show 16 million colours – one thing early Android units couldn’t do (e.g. the Xperia X10 was restricted to 65Ok colours). And it’s a 16:9 display screen with 640 x 360 decision (typically referred to as nHD or 1/ninth of 1080p), whereas extra squarish shows had been the norm prior to now. Regardless of its thickness, the entire cellphone feels completely tiny subsequent to the Xperia 1 II.
The resistive contact layer is a ache to make use of with our fingers that at the moment are used to the responsiveness of capacitive contact. Simply touching the show doesn’t do something, you need to press on it.
And Symbian simply wasn’t prepared for a touch-driven interface as we coated in our Nokia 5800 story. You possibly can virtually see the key-based logic behind the interface. In menus, first you tapped to pick an merchandise, then tapoed once more to activate it. Scrolling was awkward too, you both had to make use of the scrollbar on the aspect or press, maintain and transfer your finger to the highest or backside fringe of the display screen. This moved the choice from one merchandise to the following, inflicting the listing to scroll as needed. You get used to it, however you’re not significantly better off than utilizing a D-pad.
And the proprietary port is inexcusable, even for 2009. You wanted a particular cable to cost this cellphone or to hook up with a pc over USB. Even the headphones want to make use of this port and the retail package deal got here with a one-piece headset (as a substitute of a two-piece that may have allowed you to plug in your personal headset).
There’s a microSD slot on the aspect – again within the day our assessment unit got here with an 8GB card and the cellphone may help as much as 16GB. It was positively needed because of the little or no built-in storage.
The GPS receiver is also used for voice-guided navigation due to the Wisepilot app. Nonetheless, there isn’t a method to obtain maps and retailer them for offline utilization, which made this a dear affair (information was costing a reasonably penny again then). Worse, the GPS wasn’t all that delicate and has hassle getting a lock in case you are too near a tall constructing.
Different options embody a Flash-capable net browser (although Flash is now as lifeless as Symbian), a viewer for Workplace paperwork and PDFs and a Walkman-branded music participant. There’s a video participant, but it surely lacks DivX and XviD help, which is a ache.
Sony Ericsson Satio
The Sony Ericsson Satio was a view of a future that by no means got here, a future the place Symbian retained its market dominance and Sony and Ericsson by no means cut up. Nonetheless, the transfer to all-touch telephones compelled all corporations to start out from scratch and gave smaller rivals the prospect to out-compete the established names. And so the Symbian future was misplaced.
It’s simple responsible the clunky Symbian OS for the failure of this cellphone. After all of the digital camera and display screen had been nice if not fairly the perfect on the time. Software program points brought on by provider customizations additionally added to the woes and should have turned some potential prospects away.
Even that apart, the Satio was a succesful digital camera cellphone, but it surely was priced out of attain for some customers and its plasticy construct could have turned off a few of those who may afford it. The Satio was a terrific digital camera however a not so nice cellphone.