The Sony Mylo is back (remember that little Wi-Fi messaging device?), and it's looking a bit more mature and wiser after learning some lessons the first go-round. Available for $299 (in black or white), the Sony Mylo Communicator 2 has a new look and more features, including a camera, widgets, direct downloads/uploads, and AIM and YouTube support, but is it all enough to lure the young'uns? Sadly, we don't think so. Sure, there may be a small audience that will be lured by the handheld but its downfall is the lack of cellular technology. We understand that Sony isn't trying to go after the cell phone market with the Mylo COM2 and that it's aimed at 14- to 22-year olds. However, when you consider that you can get the T-Mobile Sidekick LX, Helio Ocean, or even an Apple iPhone for around the same price and get more features, including voice capabilities, what's the point of the Mylo? We give props to Sony for making improvements to the Mylo Communicator 2, but we just can't find a compelling reason to buy it.
The Sony Mylo COM2 has grown up in looks, and we're glad to see it since we thought the original Mylo looked like a child's toy. Gone are the bubbly, plasticky parts and in its place is a more solidly constructed handheld with a sophisticated design. The Mylo 2 isn't a particularly compact device. It is 5.2 inches wide by 2.6 inches tall by 0.8 inch deep and 6.8 ounces, so it's a bit thick and heavy for slipping into a pants pocket. Sony does package the handheld with a soft carrying case, so you can always throw it in there and put it in your bag.
You'll also want to use the case to protect the gorgeous 3.5-inch diagonal WVGA touch screen on front. The display is one of the Mylo's greatest assets as it delivers an amazingly sharp picture, making it a pleasure to surf Web sites, watch videos, and view photos. The touch screen is also responsive, though you'll probably want to use the included stylus (attached to the hand strap) for more precision.
The user interface is intuitive with self-explanatory menus, and you can navigate and manage the device using the touch-sensitive controls that flank the screen. On the left side, there are Option, Display, and Back buttons, while the right side has shortcuts to the Info, Mylo, and Home pages. If you touch the Mylo , you'll be taken to a customizable page where you can add widgets--a new feature to the Mylo 2. They're all quick ways to access the other menus and functions of the Mylo. There's also a joystick on the left to help you scroll through the various menus, and you can press it in to select an item.
For text entry, there is a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, which you can access by sliding up the front screen. The individual keys are a bit small, but it helps that there is ample spacing between the buttons. Still, we didn't have the easiest time typing on the Mylo 2. There were a couple of times when it didn't recognize a keystroke, and the number keys aren't highlighted or marked differently from the other keys so they're a bit hard to find at first.
Other controls on the Sony Mylo include a power/hold switch and a wireless on/off button on the left spine, and a volume rocker and a Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo expansion slot (supports up to 8GB cards) on the right side. On top of the unit, you will find a proprietary headset jack, a power connector, a mini USB port, and the camera activation button. Finally, the camera lens, self-portrait mirror, and reset button are on the back.