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Review GSM-phone Sony Ericsson T230

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There are models that have hard destiniy, when you look at them you will not notice anything bad though. A good phone, nice functionality, but their life cycle on the market will be really hard. You will find it strange, but Sony Ericsson T230 is one of these models. A good budget phone with color display was interesting when it was released, and remained in the same status by the end of the year. But at the moment, its attractiveness is decreasing day by day. The phone that was supposed to be a bestseller and fulfill the market turned into one of the many phones that are present on the market. The main miscalculation was made during the phones planning, logistics and manufacturing organization. We will not stop in order to tell you more about these facts, but describe the strong and weak aspects of this model, as well as describing those who will like this model even now. It seems to me that Ive predicted T230s fate, whenever I was starting to write the review some business appeared, or other disattracting factor. But you know what they say, its better later, than never.

The phone is built on the same platform as Sony Ericsson T310. It has a lot of that models features. T230 is released in two color variations - Steel Blue, Blade Grey. In my opinion both are good, the edging located around the screen is different, cases color is silver, perhaps even milk silver plastic if its possible to say that. The phones sides are made in the same color solution, as the screens edging. T230s size is comfortable; it fits nicely into ones palm (101.5x43.5x19 mm). Weight is an untypical 79 grams; this is really unsual for the budget segment, and marks out the phone.

Joined volume regulation button is located on the left side, it's made of rubber.

The screen is capable of showing up to 4096 colors; its resolution is 101x80 pixels. Up to 7 text lines can be shown on the phones display, this is really unusual for such resolution. This was achieved with the help of customizable fonts, 7 text lines are characteristic for the smallest font size. Only five text lines can be displayed in case if average size is turned on, but everything remains clearly visible.

Its obvious that neither screens type nor number of displayed colors is the maximum for today. But lets not forget the fact that Sony Ericsson T230 is a budget phone with minimal price. Such screens do not look like an anarchaizm in this segment; even without looking at the poor functionality (they become blind when encountering the sunlight). For example, Siemens A60 has the same type of display, but it has weaker contrast and brightness level. Short and simple conclusion: T230 is a nice model in this parameter for budget segments consumer who needs a color phone installed in this phone.

The keyboard is made of rubber; meanwhile the navigational joystick is made of plastic. It is conveninent. The inscribed OK button is glossy, due to its small size working process is rather hard. On the whole the keyboard leaves nice impression; its convenient to work with it, although its not ideal. The keyboards backlight color is green, but is nicely seen in almost all conditions.

Standard interface connector is located on the bottom; the whole for strap is located on the top.

The back cover covers battery section, it is fixed properly and doesnt have any backlash. The phone has LiIon battery with 670 mAh capacity. This isnt typical for a phone in this segment. SE claims that the phone can work up to 7.5 hours during talks and up to 350 hours in the stand by mode. The real results are majorly weaker, but this seems to become a tradition. We were testing this phone in Moscow, MTS was our operator. T230 worked for about 4 days with 30 minutes spent for talks, and only 15 minutes spent for other functions daily. It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes for the battery to charge up. On the whole the results are very nice considering that this is a budget class phone.


The main menu is presented in a list of 9 icons placed in three rows. Each of them opens the access to item/sub-item list and have its own number. As you might have guessed, the phone supports shortcut number navigation.

Phone book. Up to 250 entries can be stored in the phones memory, each of them can feature up to three numbers (cellular, work, home) and e-mail address (up to 10). The memory is spreading dynamically; this means that if you enter one number for each entry you will end up with 250 entries. 300 supports user groups. Each entry can be provided with custom ring tone and icon (there are more than 50 of them preinstalled), or a photo that was made with the external camera. An ability to create the number for each entry by default came out as a nice surprise.

Messages. Besides SMS and EMS message receiving and sending MMS receving and sending is also supported. Built-in e-mail client is present as well (POP3/SMTP). The realization of all parameters is typical for Sony Ericsson phones, this means that neither problems nor in usage nor in settings were encouterd. The presence of built-in e-mail client is really unusual for budgemt segment, this singles out the phone among its competitors. Will this feaute be in demand among the consumers is a different question.

Call information. Traditionally this menu has the log of all calls. There are only two lists in this phone: missed calls (up to 10 entries) and common (up to 20 entries). Each entry is provided with date and time. In case you decline the incoming call it will be sotred in the Missed calls list please note that peculiarity in advance.

Call length timers can be activated here as well, as well as incoming/sent data counter.

Settings. As the menu says, all settings that are related to phone's working process are stored here: date and time, display settings (contrast level, wallpapers), menu language and input language, profiles.

Organizer. Two alarm clock types can be set single and continous according to weekday. The alarm clock works even if the phone is turned off.

Timer and stopwatch with intermediate results as well as calculator are present.

You can define standalone appointemtns and setup warning signals for them.

Images and sound. all graphical, sound and theme files are stored here. You also have the ability to use the mic to record some sound, and later on use it as the ring tone.

Games. The phone has two games preinstalled Deep Abyss, V-Rally 2.

Connection. The phone supports GPRS (3+1), you can also synchronize it with your PCF via data cable.

The phone has WAP-browser v1.2.1.


The phone is overally nice in term of interluctors voice quality. On the whole polyphonic ring tones volume is enough. The vibrating alert can be rated as average. Considering that this is a budget phone, we will not say much about its functionality; however the presence of built-in e-mail client, LiIon battery that works for a really long period of time are is unique. Sony Ericsson T230 is a typical budget solution that becomes extremely popular once the price reaches the 100-105 dollar mark, not more. You shouldnt think about the screens quality in that case, since in this case the screen provides only the required needs as well as color.

You should take a look on this model in case you are looking for a phone with color display, polyphonic ring tones and casual set of additional features. The main competitors for this model are well-known models Motorola C350, Siemens A60.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Alexander "Lexx" Zavoloka(alexander.zavoloka@mobile-review.com)

Published —19 February 2004

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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