Here’s the problem. The guests have all staggered home, the place has been swept clean, the lights and music have been turned off. The party is most definitely over, but Sony Ericsson’s new Yari insists we’re just getting started.
Their “gesture” and “motion enhanced” gaming phone arrives two years after Nintendo’s Wii made waggling fashionable, and delivers half the experience. It comes a good year after every second application exploited the iPhone’s accelerometer to much giggles and cleverness. So why, in November 2009, is a tennis game that involves flailing your arms wildly a fresh new thing?
Elementary, my dear reviewer, says the Yari. It’s a sleek little ultra-portable, not-too-smart phone that’s the first to feature motion and gesture thingamajigs in such a compact package!
So is that a good thing?
The good stuff
The Yari is an elegant-looking slide phone with a bright 2.4-inch screen. The Build quality is good, and the keypad, while a little painful for serial texting, is elegant and neatly laid out.
The 5 megapixel camera at the back is robust, complete with flash, 4x digital zoom, smile and face detection, and on-the-fly photo-fixing. The phone comes with a fairly generous 60MB of internal memory, expandable with an SD card. The Yari also checks most of the connectivity checkmarks—it’s Bluetooth-enabled and GPS ready with Google Maps bundled.
Nothing in the above section is remarkable; they’re standard features from any mid-level phone, exactly what the Yari wishes not to be. But turning to what makes this phone different—that is where the problems start. The motion-controlled games are remarkably vague, relying more on blind luck than skill. Random flailings produced better results than reasoned strokes in the bundled tennis game, and merely shaking the phone up and down seemed to prove satisfactory in Fitness, which asks you to perform actual squats in front of the phone’s camera, like punishment in school. Only Loco Roco, a mobile port of Sony’s famous PSP title, proves a saving grace, and proof that a game done right on the Yari can be both motion-enhanced and fun.
Minor quibbles abound elsewhere as well. Getting a call or a message in between a gaming session, for instance, freezes the phone for a good 30 seconds.
The Yari is a solid, neat phone that would be easy to recommend at a lower price. It’s built on the solid platform that the late Sony Ericsson “K” series and Walkman models sport. So far so good, but at Rs16,950, you’re paying a premium for features you’ll never use.