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Review GSM phone Sony Ericsson T290

Sony Ericsson T290. Live pictures

Standard kit:

  • Handset
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Manual

Sony Ericsson has launched a renewal for its model Т230 that actually got the index of Т290. The models are very alike in appearance and differ only in the body colours. Another difference from Т230 is the presence of a speakerphone mode. There are no other hardware or software differences in the phone and that is almost a complete copy of T230.

The device is comfortable in size and lies well in a hand (101.5x43.5x19 mm). The weight of 79 grams is now typical for a low-end model of the class. A coupled rubber volume button is on the left-side surface.

The screen shows 4096 colours and has the resolution of 101x80 pixels. Up to 7 text lines are displayed and that is unordinary for this resolution. That is achievable due to the changes font-size and 7 lines are characteristic for the minimal font-size. A usual font-size allows showing 5 text lines and they are seen well then.

The display is morally outdated even despite the phone is a low-end model. A thing acceptable in a two-year-old low-end model is an anachronism now.

The keypad is made of rubber and a navi joystick in on the contrary of plastic. An inscribed OK button is glossy and small being hard to work with. In general the keypad leaves a pleasant impression though is not ideal. The backlighting is green and seen in not in all conditions.

A standard interface connector is on the bottom end and a strap hole may be seen on the top end of the device.

The back cover covers battery section, it is fixed properly and doesn't have any backlash. The phone has LiIon battery with 670 mAh capacity. This isn't 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. The device 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./p>


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 phone's 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. Т290 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 receiving 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 encountered.

Call list. 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 sorted in the Missed calls list - please note that peculiarity in advance.

Call duration 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 continuous 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 appointments 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 microphone 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 interlocutor's voice quality. On the whole polyphonic ring tone's 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. The difference from T230 mainly concerns the loudspeaker mode realization but that is evidently not enough for making another index like the company did. The price will form 100 USD or even higher in the retail networks. That will be done on purpose to divide the model from 230 (the price is about 85 USD for the moment). Models Motorola C380 and Siemens A65 looking more preferable than this model are represented in the same segment. Unfortunately, the attempt of old device renewal was not a success and the company failed in launching an adequate replacement. The model got is morally outdated even for the release moment.

Melody samples (mp3, 194 KB)>>>

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

Published — 28 February 2005

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



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