No taller than a lipstick, says Sony Ericsson – and that tells you most of what you need to know about the chubby little Jalou handset. It’s meant for girls – and, like every other handset that’s ever been designed specifically for the female market, it’s nowhere near high end.
What we like
Internet browsing, although old and pixelly and displayed on the tiny 2-inch screen, is not too slow.
Unlike any iPhone running OS 3.0 or lower, the Jalou can actually multi-task. Games, music, feed-loaders and other apps can be left running in the background while you crack on with tapping out messages or checking Facebook.
Speaking of which, the built-in Facebook app is not half bad. Once you’ve set it up, you can see friends’ updates and notifications quickly and easily on the homescreen, and the inbox is also accessible through the messaging app. It’s no worse than the BlackBerry Facebook app, although the smaller screen is a bit of a pain.
Threaded SMS-conversations, good call quality and a passable camera are all good things we’ve come to expect from even basic Sony Ericsson handsets, and the Jalou is no exception.
What we don’t like
The handset being the ‘size of a lipstick’, ‘mirror’ (aka the screen) and weird-shaped handset connotations – the implication that this basic, boring, ugly-as-sin handset meets the needs of the modern woman is laughable. Where are our apps? Our maps? Our multiple email accounts and our above-average media players?
The weird shaped handset isn’t where the weirdness ends; the buttons are weird too! The control pad is hexagonal, for some reason, so it’s quite difficult to press the direction that you’re actually after – likewise the left and right selection keys, which are funny shapes and a little bit too small to boot. Typing isn’t too bad, but the keypad is completely flush with little plastic diamonds showing where each key is and we reckon after a few months of full time use, these would be in real danger of coming loose and falling off.
Email set up is not as straightforward as we’d hope – many handsets of equal calibre are capable of detecting Gmail settings automatically, for example, but not the Jalou. It’s not a big deal to have to insert them manually, but it’s one more little thing that irked us.
Our main issue was with the screen; although the internet speeds weren’t bad, the screen is far too small to take any kind of advantage of them.
This is a perfectly adequate basic handset, but it’s no girls’ dream come true. For calling and texting it does the trick, but the extras are too often let down by the tiny screen and the frustrating button layout.