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Review: Sony Mylo 2

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Many of you may have read about the Mylo 2 a few weeks ago when someone else broke embargo, but we chose to take the high road and follow the rules. The purported images of the Mylo 2 were legitimate, but you could have figured it out for yourselves. It’s much larger than the first gen Mylo and while it’s features are above and beyond that of the its predecessor, one has to wonder what Sony was on to think it was a good idea to release another one.

It builds on the Mylo’s greatest feature, which I thought was Wi-Fi and expanded upon that for the Mylo 2. You still have the standard suite of IM clients including Skype so you can make VoIP calls. Well, the Mylo 2 now includes a slide out backlit QWERTY, camera, 2.5-inch touchscreen and widgets. Cool, I guess, but it’s a beast of a device. Much, much larger than the original. About three times the size.

The nice thing about the Mylo 2 is that it doesn’t require a monthly service contract, and Sony was generous enough to offer free access to participating Wayport hotspot locations in the U.S. including more than 9,000 McDonald’s locations until Dec. 31, 2010. That’s not a bad deal at all because the Web browser is much improved. With Adobe Flash Lite 3 software, the Mylo 2 can access YouTube and flash-based sites. You can also upload and download content.

The added 1.3-megapixel camera surprisingly takes good photos and there is pre-loaded photo editing software so you can resize, draw and add text to your photos, which can be uploaded to Facebook and other sites as you please. Which brings me to the addition of widgets on the communications device. It’s actually pretty cool. You have immediate access to Google search, YouTube and Facebook among other widgets that you can add. The firmware on our unit was pre-production so we didn’t have access to anything, but what came pre-loaded. Surprisingly, it wasn’t glitchy, at least not that I noticed. There is a MyContacts widget that was essentially on the original Mylo, but that was limited to just your Mylo contacts. Now it compiles all of your IM contacts to let you know who is on and ready to mingle.

In terms of storage for music and video, which it does quite nicely, there is 1GB (850MB available to use) of built-in storage and you can have up to 8GB with Memory Stick Duo. But this isn’t limited to photos, video and music. You can store flash games, downloaded content form the Internet or anything side loaded from your computer or digital camera.

The Mylo 2 supports Windows Media DRM 10 and plays MP3, AAC, ATRAC or WMA files. Video support includes MPEG4 and MPEG4/AVC. Battery life is rated at 20 hours for music playback, six hours of constant Skype talk time and seven hours of video playback. Included with the handheld is a microphone, stereo headphones, USB cable, a stylus and neoprene case. There are also accessories for the Mylo 2 like face plates ($20 per pair) and an optional charging cradle ($30).

LIke the first Mylo, I think it’s a great device in terms of features, but the I just don’t see the point of it. The PSP will soon get Skype and I’m sure the next generation PSP will have the same feature sets as the Mylo. I’m guessing Sony is trying to grab the folks that don’t play games and just want a communications device, which I guess could work, but I don’t think it will. The one thing I have a problem with is the keyboard. It sucks and it’s very confusing to use and attempt to figure out. Other than that, it’s fine for what it is and will retail for $300 later this month. Oh, and it comes in black and white.

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