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Sony Ericsson Summer 2005

Intro W600 1 W600 2 Z520 Accessories Comments  28  

The other major new phone revealed today is the Z520, the successor to the Z500.

The Z520 is very similar to the Z500, simply with upgraded features in most areas. The big upgrades are the addition of Bluetooth and an extra GSM band to make it quad-band for the best possible GSM roaming coverage. The displays are also upgraded, with a higher-quality TFT display on the inside, and a slightly larger color display on the outside. The memory has also been increased, from 6 MB to 16.

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There are a few minor downgrades, though. The Z520 lacks EDGE, although it does have class 10 GPRS (the fastest type). And while the Z500 had a completely internal antenna, the Z520 has a loop-style antenna. This protrudes from the top, although it doesn't ruin the clean lines like a stub antenna would, and it's useful for attaching a strap or clip. It's possible the loop antenna was necessary for the quad-band capability.

Other features are pretty much the same, including a VGA camera with video capture, streaming video playback, Java, SyncML, and changeable faceplates.

Like the Z500, the Z520 is designed to be a very mainstream, affordable clamshell phone. While Bluetooth and quad-band may sound higher-end, it's things like the relatively low-resolution main display (128 x 160), VGA camera, (instead of megapixel,) and lack of memory card slot that help keep the cost down. The unique mix of features should make the Z520 a good addition to carriers' lineups.

Like the W600, the Z520 feels solid and well-built, and the ergonomics are excellent. To me, the Z520 feels better in-hand than the Z500.

One neat new feature is the "light effects", which are powered by eight blue LEDs that surround the keypad and can flash in different pre-set patterns. The Siemens CF62 has a similar feature.

The effects are visible with the phone closed, and specific patterns can be assigned to specific contacts, to use for a kind of light-show caller-ID. Check out the short video clips below to see the effects in action:

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