Sony Ericsson W995 mobile phone

Sony Ericsson's new flagship Walkman phone offers a wealth of features

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Sony Ericsson W995
  • Sony Ericsson W995
  • Sony Ericsson W995
  • Sony Ericsson W995

Pros

  • 3.5mm headphone jack, 8-megapixel camera, GPS, HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Media Go software

Cons

  • Boring/bland design, a little chunky, kickstand feels flimsy, price

Bottom Line

Sony Ericsson's W995 is the first Walkman phone to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack and a camera with Carl Zeiss optics. Its design could use some improvement, it's overpriced and we would have liked a larger screen, but the W995 is still one of the best Walkman mobile phones.

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Sony Ericsson's W995 is the company's new flagship Walkman phone. Although it may look like yet another run-of-the-mill Walkman handset, the W995 ups the ante by merging the best bits of the Cyber-shot and Walkman ranges to produce a mobile phone with an 8-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a kickstand for multimedia viewing.

Aesthetically, the Sony Ericsson W995 is a mixed bag; this is probably the most disappointing aspect of this mobile phone. Aside from being quite thick, the bland black finish certainly doesn't do this handset any justice. A new feature is a chrome kickstand that allows the W995 to sit up at an angle when placed on a flat surface. It feels a little flimsy, and the screen really isn't large enough to adequately experience videos. However, the phone feels well built, and the spring-operated slider is steady.

The Sony Ericsson W995 is controlled via a rather large five-way navigation pad, along with two selection buttons, answer and end call keys and dedicated clear and shortcut keys. Considering the space surrounding the navigation pad, the selection buttons could have been larger and the answer and end call keys moved away from the edge of the handset. On the right side of the phone are media playback controls, a dedicated camera button and volume controls that double as zoom keys for the camera. The W995's keypad is a little disappointing. It's not the worst we've seen, but the keys are quite small and flat, even though they are well spaced. The glossy surface also makes it easy for your fingers to slide off while typing.

The Sony Ericsson W995 includes the latest Walkman music software, which is integrated closely with multimedia features including photos, videos, games and Web feeds. The W995 is the first Walkman mobile phone to feature a 3.5mm headphone jack — a feature that we've been asking for every time a new Walkman handset comes out. Even with the stock headphones, the sound quality is excellent. Equaliser presets include treble, heavy, pop, jazz, normal, unique, soul, easy and bass. Stereo widening, clear bass and clear stereo are also present.

Sony Ericsson has included new media management software with the W995: Media Go Experience. Media Go transcodes any audio, photos or videos into the best quality format supported by the W995, taking the hassle out of finding multiple programs to do so. The program is well designed and was speedy during our tests. It also offers a quick way to upload the converted files straight to the handset.

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 in the database, the title, album and artist name details are sent back to you. The W995 Walkman phone includes A2DP Bluetooth and an FM radio, along with Shake It! and SensMe technologies. Shake It! allows you to skip tracks by simply shaking the phone, while SensMe allows you to create a playlist based entirely on mood and tempo.

In addition to HSDPA connectivity, the W995 mobile phone boasts Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and DLNA media sharing, making it one of the most feature-packed Walkman handsets available. An 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, a Carl Zeiss lens and an LED flash takes excellent photos, while a front-mounted VGA camera means you can make video calls over a 3G network. The W995 Walkman phone comes with just 25MB of internal memory, but the included 8GB Memory Stick Micro (M2) should be enough to satisfy most users.

Other features of the W995 Walkman phone include some of Sony Ericsson's proprietary applications such as VideoDJ, PhotoDJ and Music DJ. There's also remote control and sound recording functions and a host of organiser features including calendar, tasks, notes, alarms, calculator, synchronisation, timer and stopwatch.

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