Sony Ericsson W900i
- Successful interface continued, Walkman and Radio functions top quality, Quality display, Headphones include remote control with display screen, Handy keypad lock slider button, Quality 2.0 mega pixel camera with auto focus
- Interface is slower than previous models, Its large and bulky, Swivel design is annoying, Input is oddly placed
If you overlook the large and bulky size, the W900i is definitely one of the best 3G handsets currently on the market. With excellent music functions, an impressive camera, quality display screen and user-friendly interface, the W900i is a true multimedia phone.
Price$ 1,199.00 (AUD)
The W900i Walkman phone is the first foray by Sony Ericsson into the 3G market and while the transition is quite smooth, it isn't without its hiccups - most notably a slower interface and a large, bulky frame.
The W900i is large, very large. Our main problem with 3G phones, with a couple of exceptions, is the manufacturer's insistence that they should be big, bulky units which are rather brick-like to hold in your hand. The W900i employs a swivel design and when it is opened, it is one of the largest phones we've reviewed. Most of us have become accustomed to small and compact mobile handsets nowadays so it is quite a shock to see such a large unit being released at this point in time. Some may like the swivel design, but we think it's an avoidable annoyance, especially as you have to flip the phone upside down either before or after opening just to use the keypad properly. This problem will be especially frustrating for frequent SMS users, as you will have to rotate the phone the right way up when the keypad is exposed. This also means that the input for the charger, headphones and USB cable is oddly placed, as it is on top of the phone when it is swiveled open.
An advantage of this large design is the screen - a bright, clear and crisp 262k colour display with a resolution of 240 x 320. It has an excellent viewing angle, although it does attract plenty of unwanted fingerprints and is quite difficult to see in direct sunlight. Still, it makes viewing pictures, photos and videos an attraction and is one of the better features of this unit. It is also extremely intuitive for video calling, which we found to be fairly clear and crisp throughout testing.
The W900i has a substantial amount of controls, but unlike some other handsets, the phone is quite easy to use. There's a 4-way navigational pad, two selection keys, Clear and Previous buttons and dedicated keys for WAP, Video Calling and Shortcuts. It sounds complicated, but it is actually quite simple and pleasant to use, with the keys well spaced out and comfortable for most part. There's also a handy keypad lock slider on the right hand side, which means the usual multiple key pressing to lock the phones keypad has been removed. The interface is the same as its predecessors but we had some issues with speed - we experienced quite a bit of lag during certain times and it does take an extra second or two to open applications such as the camera and the Walkman function.
The Walkman function is really where this unit comes into its own. It's hard to imagine, but just like its predecessors, this really is a legitimate MP3 player replacement. The interface is extremely intuitive and easy to use, and sound quality through the supplied headphones was above average. The bad news is that unlike previous models, an adapter is not included to use your own headphones, but we were extremely impressed with the stock in-ear buds. Provided they are the right fit (there are different size caps included), those who enjoy heavy bass will be pleased. The headphones double as a hands-free kit and also include a handy remote control attached to the cable with a bright LCD screen displaying volume and other functions. The remote control is also an FM radio and this is activated by pressing the large orange button in the centre. Overall, the headphones are definitely the best we've seen in terms of stock mobile offerings - it's taken a while!
The W900i also offers a 2.0 megapixel camera with autofocus. The camera includes a wide range of features including Panorama, Frames and Burst shooting modes, Macro settings, White Balance, Night mode, a Light, a Self-Timer and a range of effects such as Black and White, Negative, Solarise and Sepia. The quality of pictures we uploaded was fairly notable for a camera phone and although some edges lacked a little detail, the overall image was of a good quality. It still isn't good enough to replace a standalone digital camera, but for quick and convenient happy snaps, this is sure to be a winner.
The W900i includes a fairly hefty 470MB of internal memory, which is impressive for a mobile phone. Thankfully, there is also a Memory Stick slot, which means up to 2GB of extra storage can be added to the handset. Other features include support for standard SMS, MMS and email messaging (with T9 support), polyphonic and MP3 ringtones, JAVA 2.0 and WAP 2.0 support, and speaker phone functionality. Both Bluetooth and Infrared are provided for connectivity. We really liked the volume of the ringtones, which are extremely loud to say the least. Many handsets have disappointingly low ringtone levels which means you'll be missing calls quite often, but the W900i doesn't suffer in this department.
Battery life of the W900i was fairly average, rated at 8 hours talk time and approximately 8 days standby time. We experienced substantially less during testing, but this is to be expected on a handset with so many multimedia features.
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