Sony Ericsson R306i

The Sony Ericsson R306 Radio is not a radio, despite the name and its looks. Instead, this is an inexpensive clamshell phone that looks like nothing else we can think of.

If you look at the R306, it's hard to tell just what it's about. On the front are five buttons with "up", "down" and "1", "2" and "3" on them. Flip it around, the the R306 has a 1.3 megapixel camera. So what is it? A radio? A camera? Both? But it says "Sony Ericsson" on it, and they only make phones, don't they?

The design philosophy is interesting, and it applies to both the R306 Radio and its sibling R300 handset. Not everyone can afford a phone with a multimedia player and expandable memory, and if all you really want is a radio then why not make the radio function easy to use by including dedicated keys?

So, when closed the Sony Ericsson R306 resembles a small handheld radio with built-in stereo speakers. But we understand that it opens up into a pretty conventional clamshell phone with a standard numeric keypad and basic 128 x 160 pixel display on the inside.

There's no MP3 player on the R306, although it does support MP3 ringtones. However, it does include Bluetooth, a wap browser, speakerphone and Sony Ericsson's TrackID technology to help the phone identify the music that is playing. There's no expandable memory, but the R306 can record radio transmissions onto its internal 5MB of memory. Stereo wired headphones are included in the standard sales package

Despite the novel radio features, the Sony Ericsson R306 is not a hugely sophisticated phone. Apart from keeping the price down, this simple design also helps with the battery life - the R306 has an impressive 9 hours talktime and up to 17 days standby time. The battery should be able to support 27 hours of radio playback.

Underneath is all, this is a tri-band GSM mobile phone. The R306i (international) and R306c (China) versions are 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz devices, and the R306a (Americas) is an 850 / 1800 / 1900 MHz device.

No guidance on pricing was given, but this should be a pretty low cost phone. You will have to wait a while for it though - Sony Ericsson say that the R306 will be available in Q3 2008, in Coffee Black and Champagne White colour combinations.

Brand / Type

Brand Sony Ericsson
Type R306i Radio
Form factor Clamshell
Color Black, White

Phone Network GPRS, GSM
Service 900, 1800, 1900

Bluetooth Yes
Infrared No
Wi-Fi (WLAN) No
Fax / Data No

Main display Color TFT
Color display 65.536 colors
Dimensions N/A
Resolution 128x160 pixels
External display Yes

Internal memory 5MB
External memory No
Memory slots No
Storage types No

Battery Lithium Ion
Standby time 410 hours
Talk time 9 hours

Vibrate alert Yes
Photo ID No
Ringtones MP3, Polyfone

Camera Yes
Megapixels 1.3 megapixels
Maximum photo resolution 1280x960 pixels
Digital zoom 4x
Optical zoom No
Auto focus No
Flash No
Recording video Yes
Second (front) camera No

T9 text function Yes
E-mail No
Internet browsing No

FM radio Yes
Java Yes
Audio player AAC, MP3
Video player 3GP, MPEG4

Add ringtones Yes
Organiser Calculator, Calendar, Reminders, Currency convertor
Video call N/A
Other features Track-ID, Picture editor, Radio buttons, Built in hands free, Voice dial, Voice memo

Weight 3.3 oz.
Dimensions (H x W x D) 3.5x1.9x0.6 in