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(Pocket-lint) - Sony Ericsson continue to offer an increasingly wide range of phones, so can the Z555 offer anything different? We get calling to find out.

Coming in the common clamshell format, the Z555 is a compact device, measuring 95 x 49 x 17mm. The most notable feature from a design point of view is the prism-like styling on the lid of the phone.

Open up the phone and you are presented with a fairly uninspiring face, with a small 176 x 220 colour TFT, which seems to be undersized for the phone: a lot of plastic surrounds the screen giving this a somewhat outdated look.

The bottom half of the phone, as usual, is home to the key pad, which in this case is accented with gold, which looks a little out of place, especially around the main four-way control, which is a little too striking. The key pad, however, is positive to use making this a breeze to dial and to send text messages on. Unfortunately the back panel is a little too flimsy, so creaks in the hand as you type.

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Returning to the outside of the phone, you’ll find a small display under that prism-esque front which is perhaps the jewel in the crown (or diamond in the rough), because you can’t see it when it is off. However, it will give you the time, battery status, and so on, as well as show you who is calling. Not a new idea by any measure but we like the way it is done here. It will also scroll the details of the song you are listening too.

One of the headline features here, also playing into the idea of not having to open the phone too often, is being able to use gesture control to mute the ringing phone or snooze an alarm. Simply waving your hand over the phone's 1.3MP camera mutes the ringing, giving you time to excuse yourself to take the call. Fun, but of little practical use.

The menu system is normal Sony Ericsson stuff, so easy to navigate via a number of familiar icons and options. Despite the fairly basic nature of this phone, it does fall back on those credentials that made Sony Ericsson popular – it is simple and intuitive.

In calls, the clamshell design plays to its strengths because calls are clear and free from echo and a handily placed volume control on the right allows you to raise and lower the volume, both for calls and when playing music. There is a small speaker on the front for those back-of-the-bus moments, which sounds pretty tinny at best, perfect for irritating all the other passengers.

The supplied headphones are a little on the big side so you’ll be lucky to get them into your ears. You do get A2DP Bluetooth stereo as well as the normal PlayNow and TrackID offerings. There is also a Memory Stick Micro expansion slot under the back cover.

In terms of tech specs, there is nothing too exciting here, tri-band GSM and EDGE (if you can find EDGE coverage), but this is really a basic offering and doesn’t purport to do anything more. There is email support, but you will have to enter all the settings manually, after all, this isn’t an enterprise handset.

Sony Ericsson claim that the battery will give you 7 hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby time and we found that due to the small screen and the absence of any other power-hungry elements, you do get a healthy life span from a charge of the phone.


Whilst the design is interesting and the gesture control a flashy gimmick, there is nothing here that really excites. The tech specs are fairly conservative: this phone isn’t trying to be the latest and greatest, but the things it does, it does fairly well.

The exterior display is a little gem, shining through the quirky exterior and as much as you want to dismiss the Z555 as behind the times, you can’t help feeling a little affection.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 1 August 2008.