Sony Ericsson Zylo - Slick Walkman Review

Sony Ericsson Zylo - Slick Walkman Review

Michael Browne   |  26 Aug 2010
  • pros
  • Attractive looking
  • Good music playback quality
  • Great number keypad
  • cons
  • Slow, archaic browser
  • No 3.5mm jack
  • No autofocus and flash on camera
Digit Rating
70 /100
  • design


  • performance


  • value for money


  • features



A good phone, and one that performs well enough for us to recommend it. A few basic flaws like the lack of a 3.5mm jack that is shocking for a Walkman phone and the lack of both flash and autofocus on the camera detract a bit from its charm.

Sony Ericsson Zylo - Slick Walkman detailed review

Sony Ericsson’s Walkman series of phones need no introduction, and generally have a reputation for being solid handsets. The W20, better known as the Zylo is one such device. It’s an entry-level Walkman-series phone that’s been imbued with good looks and a very acceptable feature set. If you’re looking for a fancy set of features including a brilliant camera, GPS and Wi-Fi, you’re barking up with wrong tree with the Zylo, but for anyone wanting an affordable cellphone that does music rather well, consider this as a spoiler for what is to come…

Look and feel

A compact box greets you – the first indicator that SE is trying to keep their cost of production down. The packaging inside is basic too, but it gets the job done. The accessories are well constructed. The handset itself is quite attractive and one cannot help playing with it for a few minutes. Allow us to explain – there’s nothing standout that screams attention. It’s just that the Zylo is a simplistic, yet slick looking handset. It’s reasonably slim for a music phone. The front is dominated by a 2.6-inch display, and the large, attention drawing chrome ring that serves as a joypad. The middle button doubles as the play/pause key within while in walkman mode. A burnished chrome trim runs around the sides of the phone. Everything has clean, precise lines.

Check out the contour on the rear (the side facing up) - a little bling on the cheap!

Flip her over, and you’re greeted to a curved rear that integrates the SE logo, speaker and camera – this slight tapering is what makes the W20 look so tasteful. The volume rocker doubles as a device status button, and looks sleek, while retaining functionality. Below it is the camera button, that doubles cleverly as the Walkman button. While the menu buttons are tiny, they work well on account of surprisingly good feedback. On the left side, we have the painful, proprietary interface that SE continues to dish up from time to time. What’s sad is that, for a Walkman phone, we’d expect at least a 3.5mm jack – that wasn’t to be, so you can kiss your third party earphones goodbye. This proprietary connect is also used for the data cable – another major bummer. The earphones integrate a rather bulky microphone/handsfree unit.

A nice keypad - large, usable keys with the right amount of  bevelling

The call buttons are well placed, and sufficiently delineated while offering great feedback. The slider mechanism is a strong plus – it’s slick, ultra funky, but nothing more than the typical brilliance of SE sliders. The number keypad looks pretty normal though its usability quotient is actually excellent. The keys have sufficient bevelling to be used without visual supervision and exude good, firm feedback. They’re also large – very good for ham-fingered blokes. Typing out long SMS’ is pretty easy, and one hardly misses a QWERTY. Overall, for the most, SE got the ergonomics spot on.





The interface

SE hasn’t changed the menu system around much, and anyone who has used a “w” or “k” series phone will, at once, be familiar with the menu structure. While the display is large enough, looking at the menus and options, it’s easy to conclude that the W20 isn’t a “smartphone”, at least not in the strictest sense. The Organiser tab has the usual gamut of utilities, including a calendar, tasks, stopwatch, calculator and notes among others.

The Applications tab has a few options including a Facebook application designed for SE. There are quite a few games too – the Zylo comes with eight pre-loaded titles. The browser, while basic, has readable fonts and works pretty well. For a basic phone, the scrolling is also pretty nice and the Zylo features a virtual mouse pointer when using the Internet. All in all browsing on the Zylo is a pleasure, and even visual-heavy web pages are rendered rather well. However, we had an issue with the built-in Facebook application that was very slow. In fact, slow enough to render it unusable.


The Zylo is a very satisfactory music player. The loudspeaker, (owing to the slightly curved rear), works fine even if the phone is laid on a table. Audio quality is pretty good, and the volume is quite high. Obviously bass goes for a toss, but if you were expecting any from a cellphone speaker, you need to get your head checked. Plug in the supplied earphones, and prepare to be impressed further. Music flows pretty effortlessly, with good clarity and volume levels. There is a slight issue with vocal clarity at times, especially female vocals where there’s a hint of a veil, but for the most, and considering the likely audience, the experience is highly satisfying.

The camera offers very basic settings, no exposure compensation and three effects. No autofocus is a pain, and a surprising omission as it severely cripples usability. For a three megapixel shooter, we’ve seen better but the Zylo isn’t too bad. Captured images show good colour and very decent exposure. However, you’re best off shooting outdoors in bright sunlight, as the lack of a flash unit cripples indoor performance by introducing noise. Video capture quality is basic at best.

In zone one, we had no issues with dropped calls and voice clarity was good. In zone three, we had a problem with static on the line, when the number of available antennas fluctuated between one and zero. Calls did not disconnect, however there was a marked loss of clarity. When the number of antennas showed up as two, the problem ceased. The loudspeaker quality in-call is decent, while the handsfree unit offers much better volume levels and clarity – on par with some of the better handsfree units we’ve come across.


Despite the fact that the Zylo is a flawed Walkman device, i.e. no 3.5mm jack, and it has a largely neutered camera i.e. no autofocus and flash, it tries hard to impress. Ergonomics are a strong point, browsing is a decent experience and music quality is very good. Perhaps one of the most important points for this price range is the look – the Zylo is undeniably stylish albeit in a more suave way. The MRP is Rs. 9,000, but we’ve spotted the Zylo selling at around Rs. 7,800 on the street. A fair price for what you get, and it’s a good phone. We recommend it to anyone looking for a good, cool looking, music-able handset.

Specifications: display: 2.6-inches, 2,56,000 colours, 240 x 320 pixels; memory: 260 MB, microSD expansion; camera: 3.15 MP; battery: 930 mAh; weight: 115 grams.

Features: 6.5
Performance: 7.5
Build: 8
Value: 7
Overall: 7

Company: Sony Ericsson
Phone no: 1800111800
E-mail: None
Price: Rs. 9,000

Sony Ericsson Zylo - Slick Walkman Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Price: ₹9000
Release Date: 26 Aug 2010
Market Status: Discontinued

Key Specs

  • Screen Size Screen Size
  • Camera Camera
  • Memory Memory
  • Battery Battery
Michael Browne
Michael Browne

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