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Review GSM phone Sony Ericsson J230i


  • Handset
  • Battery
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  • Manual

Any attempt of creating an adequate low-end solution faces resistance inside the company of Sony Ericsson. Some products are released despite all the estimations of marketing specialist (and a good example is T310), some products are postponed as the current models should be realized first. Nobody can decide on canceling old developments to start with a blank page losing low-end models, for they should be developed anew.

The result of this slow down is both morally and technically outdated models. And the J230i is one of them, which is positioned as one of the top solutions in a low-end segment. As the market specialists think, the only thing that youth needed in this segment is radio. The company accounts on success after integrating a radio into the J210i, having changed the design and setting another price. However, the hopes are vain, and an example of other makers, which tried to offer a similar solution, proves this. Let's remember Nokia 2300, which is a good youth phone with radio and monochrome screen. The launch was followed with a great pomp, good perspectives were expected. However, the first months of sale forced to reduce the price, the product was not popular. And by the way, one should remember that was one of the first mass models (that means cheap) with radio, and also a popularity of Nokia trade mark added to its benefit. On a new development turn, Sony Ericsson tries to repeat an unsuccessful Nokia's experience. And the situation is worsened with the fact that other makers have created similar solutions. For instance, the company of Motorola, which is very strong in the low-end segment, produced its Motorola C168 with integrated radio.

Besides the radio, Sony Ericsson J230i the developers claim a simplified interface. An interface "innovation" represents integrated Nokia UI typical of low-end phones by Nokia of the previous generation. That is for sure you can set a second view of the main menu besides a matrix of icons. It shows a large icon on the screen and a tip for it, you can scroll the menu in a vertical line. Now the company of Nokia moves its budgetary phones to another type of the menu widely, as the company considered it plainer and intuitively clear. That means Sony Ericsson tried to jump into a train that has already left the platform.

The design of the J230i is typical of the J-series. That is a classical candybar with smooth edges, various body colours. There are no interchangeable panels for this device, so you will have to select of three standard colours - blue, orange white and red. Phone characteristics are 102x44x18 mm, 85 grams. It is comfortable in a hand and you can carry it as you like.

To diversify the device several cuts were made on the back, they carry no sense except for the esthetic component.

The screen here is 65K STN 128x128 pixels. It shows 5 text lines.

The screen fades in the sun. The picture can't be called good or saturated. The grain is noticeable. At least that model belongs to the previous generation in the screen quality. However it may be considered to be a couple of years behind (that is a question of only the price and positioning of this solution, it will not raise if the price were 50 USD, then it would be even a bestseller).

The keypad is made of plastic. It is average in comfort; the backlighting is orange and well seen in various conditions. There are no side buttons, no IrDA (it was present in the J210i, and here it is refused). A considerable change is placing a Fast Port interface connector on the bottom. In this parameter the phone coincides with the latest company's models.

The back cover is removable with a loudspeaker for call signal under it (gaps are present in a corresponding place of the cover) and a 700mAh Li-Ion battery. In Moscow the phone worked for 3 days in case of 20 minutes of talks and 30 minutes of sing other functions a day. Full recharging takes about 1.5-2 hours.


The main menu is represented as a set of 9 icons traditionally for Sony Ericsson. Quick navi using numerical orders is present. Also the main menu in Nokia UI style is available, one icon and a tip for it.

Access to these or those menu items may be assigned to joystick deviations in standby mode. Up deviation is assigned to FM-radio always.

Phonebook. The handset's memory may contain up to 200 names and one of them can have a single number assigned. A picture and a melody may be correlated to a contact, besides you can create caller groups. There is a first letter search in the list. Both phone numbers from SIM-card and phone memory are displayed in the total list. Fast dialing for 8 numbers is present. Also you can save e-mail address separately (name and address).

Phonebook capabilities are enough for a modest user with a big contact base.

Messages. This is rather commonplace once more. EMS standard is supported and some pictures are pre-installed for that. The memory permits to save up to 50 messages. Group message is supported.

You can work with MMS, which also distinguishes this model from the predecessor. MMS editor is plain and clear making no troubles.

Call info. All the data about dialed, received and missed calls and call timers.

Connectivity. All the network and data transfer settings are here.

Parameters. Here are phone settings. Adjust profiles from here. For a display, choose wall-papers, set contrast and backlighting.

Entertainment. Three games are present. They are well known by the previous company models. Simple melody editor is here.

Choose and set one of the four preset themes.

Besides folders with all the melodies and pictures are here. For extra melodies and pictures download you can use 500 KB of memory.

FM-radio. Radio interface is similar to elder models, automatic search for stations, saving them, a possibility to assign a name to a station. The settings are ascetic, no RDS, and other capabilities (for instance, you can't set a radio playback to alarm signal). Radio quality is medium, and subjectively it loses to Sony Ericsson K750/ W800.

Organizer. Alarm clock is only one, though may be either once or recurrent.

Calendar view is possible monthly, weekly or daily. All the events may be viewed at once. For an event you can set date and time of start and end, enter some text and set preliminary alarm.

A plain calculator, a stopwatch with intermediate values and a countdown timer are present.

Internet services. There is a WAP-browser version 1.2.1.


The quality of connection is average; we had no problems while testing. Loudspeaker volume and microphone sensitivity also roused no cavils. The polyphony is 32-tones with medium quality; however the signal is loud and hard to miss thanks to a separate loudspeaker. The power of a vibra is average.

The price is extremely high and doesn't correspond with the capabilities of the phone, there is no Java, mp3 support, IrDA and content exchange are lacking. And Motorola C168 similar in functions and filling will be twice cheaper. And what is the sense in buying Sony Ericsson's model then? In one word, you should pay attention to this device if only you are an absolutely loyal worshiper of Sony Ericsson.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Mitina (maria.mitina@mobile-review.com)

Published — 05 December 2005


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