Sony Ericsson W715 mobile phone

Sony Ericsson's W715 Walkman phone is exclusive to Vodafone and includes GPS functionality

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Sony Ericsson W715
  • Sony Ericsson W715
  • Sony Ericsson W715
  • Sony Ericsson W715

Pros

  • Design, well-implemented controls and keypad, smooth slider, HSDPA-capable, Wi-Fi, 4GB M2 card included, aGPS

Cons

  • Slider wiggles slightly when pressed, back cover creaks, incoming audio could be louder, Wayfinder Navigation is expensive

Bottom Line

A Vodafone-exclusive mobile phone, the Sony Ericsson W715 Walkman adds GPS functionality to an already impressive handset.

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Sony Ericsson's W715 Walkman phone is a similar handset to the Sony Ericsson W705, with the exception of built-in aGPS, Vodafone-exclusive branding, and the addition of the Wayfinder Navigator application. The W715 also has a 'galactic black' design, and offers access to the Vodafone Live! content portal.

The Sony Ericsson W715 Walkman phone is a slider handset that boasts a stylish design. It features a black brushed steel finish, chrome edging and a black rear case with red highlights. We would have preferred a red to match the brighter Vodafone branding. The phone feels reasonably built, though the top half of the slider does wiggle slightly from side to side and the rear casing creaks when pressed in certain areas. The battery cover is held down by a small but effective plastic lock slider, located at the bottom of the phone.

The phone's controls are straightforward. The five-way navigational pad doubles as music playback controls, and the W715 also has two selection buttons, answer and end call keys and a number of shortcut buttons. Pressing up on the navigational pad opens the location services menu, where you can access Google Maps, Wayfinder Navigator and Sony Ericsson's Tracker application.

On the right of the handset are volume controls and a camera button. There is a dedicated Walkman button on the top, but it is a little too small. Despite most of the controls also looking fairly small, they are comfortable to use and provide good tactility. The same is true of the W715's keypad — it appears flat, but the keys are well separated and slightly raised, making text messages easy to punch out quickly.

The Sony Ericsson W715 includes the latest Walkman music software, which is integrated closely with all the multimedia features of the phone including photos, videos, games and Web feeds. The included headphones produce a crisp and warm sound with decent bass. The proprietary headphone jack is disappointing, but Sony Ericsson includes an adapter that allows a standard pair of headphones to be used. You can tailor your audio using the five band equaliser or a range of presets.

Sony Ericsson's TrackID feature allows you to record a few seconds of any song and send the snippet to a music database. If the song is recognised, the title, album and artist name are sent back to you. A2DP Bluetooth and an FM radio are also available, while Shake It! and SensME technologies are both included. Shake It! allows you to skip tracks by simply shaking the phone, while SensME creates a playlist based on mood and tempo.

The Sony Ericsson W715 is HSDPA-capable and is just the second Walkman phone to include Wi-Fi. Voice calls are crisp and clear though it is sometimes difficult to hear in noisy environments. The phone comes with 120MB of internal memory, but a 4GB Memory Stick Micro (M2) is included in the sales package. You'll have to remove the battery cover to access it, but this is a quick process.

The W715 distinguishes itself from the W705 by including built-in aGPS. Both Google Maps and WayFinder Navigator applications are preinstalled — the latter provides turn-by-turn navigation using 2D and 3D maps. It’s a nice inclusion, but the interface isn't very intuitive and the maps lack detail. Unfortunately, the service is offered only as a one-month free trial. At approximately $126 (€69) at the time of writing for a yearly subscription, or $144 (€79) for a three year subscription, Wayfinder Navigator doesn't come cheap.

The W715 also includes the Tracker application, which is a fitness program that allows you to keep track of your speed, the distance travelled, route taken and energy consumption during a training or workout session. As it has an aGPS receiver, the W715 GPS uses data and cell tower information to determine your position, in addition to using regular GPS satellites.

Other features of the W715 Walkman phone include a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash, a video player and some of Sony Ericsson's proprietary applications such as VideoDJ, PhotoDJ and Music DJ. There's also remote control and sound recording functions, and USB 2.0 connectivity (unfortunately through a proprietary USB port). The W715 Walkman also has a host of organiser features including calendar, tasks, notes, alarms, calculator, synchronisation, timer and stopwatch.

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