By Hanleigh Daniels 1 March 2010


Like Sony Ericsson’s (SE) F305, the Yari, which means spear in Japanese, is aimed at people that aren’t just looking for a phone, but want their mobile to be a portable gaming device as well.

Portable gaming

SE’s Yari gesture controlled gaming phone sports nine pre-loaded games, four of which feature Wii-inspired player gestures. The controls work by recording your movements via the camera on the front of the phone. LocoRoco, Bowling, Tennis and Fitness all support the gesture controls, with Bowling and LocoRoco doing the best job of integrating them. Within LocoRoco for example you can press five on the keypad to jump, while tilting the phone left or right to jump in either direction. When playing bowling you must hold in the central menu button and perform a bowling motion with your arm in order to bowl.

Unfortunately the gesture controls don't work nearly as well on games like Tennis. The lag between your motion and in-game execution is rather irritating as it means you’ll miss quite a few chances to return balls.   
Other features

The Yari displays games on its 2.4" 240 x 320 pixels (QVGA) screen which isn’t the largest we’ve come across, but it is sufficiently bright and adequate for viewing pics or videos and only feels small when browsing webpages. Its 5 megapixel camera with auto focus, takes good quality pics and video. Its menu system is attractive, well designed, intuitive and easy to use. On occasion, there is some lag when scrolling through the menus, especially after using resource intensive apps like games or Google Maps.  
The Yari packs HSDPA which will ensure impressive download times, especially when using Google Maps. There’s no Wi-Fi, but GPS is on-board and some location-based services are pre-installed, including a subscription navigation app called WisePilot and a sports app called Tracker. The latter allows you to record your walking or jogging routes, lap times, speed etc. and will even let you know when you’re going too slowly to make the speed or time targets that you set yourself. Sound quality and volume on the Yari’s speakers are good on both fronts, but there isn’t a 3.5mm headphone jack which is a let down. You get a 1 GB microSD card with the phone, which supports up to 16 GB memory cards.
Final Word

The Yari improves upon the F305. It's a well rounded offering from SE and a capable gaming mobile, thanks to its motion based control integration. It is available for a recommended retail price of R3 999.

Motion based gaming controls.
Design of the phone is ordinary and plain, in contrast to its gaming prowess.

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