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Sony Ericsson W900i review
By Sindre Lia, Tuesday 13 December 2005  E-mail story  Print story 
Walkman functionality, 3G and a 2 Megapixel camera, oh my; Sindre Lia gets all warm and fuzzy over Sony Ericsson's bulky, black beauty of a swivel phone - the W900i.
Sony Ericsson W900i
All images
If being seen is your thing, the Sony Ericsson W900i would certainly satisfy your needs due to its considerable physical measurements of 148 g and 109 x 49 x 24 mm - not exactly a RAZR V3x, in other words. Still, excellent ergonomics go a long way towards mitigating this as the handset feels neither especially thick nor heavy when held.
Sony Ericsson W900i
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Furthermore, the handset's numerical keypad, 5-way navigation and action buttons are also of outstanding quality, and we particularly favour the ease with which users can comfortably access both the upper and lower halves of the handset without having to change ones grip to interact with the slick and user-friendly interface of the W900i.

Sony Ericsson W900i
Enlarge
Said interface is presented on the crisp and bright 262K colour screen of the W900i at a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, which also doubles as a viewfinder for the 2 Megapixel camera snapping stills with good white balance and a well-working Auto Focus. Its appliance of contrast leaves something to be desired, however, but overall image quality must be said to be excellent with good colour saturation and crispness.
Sony Ericsson W900i
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Still, it cannot replace a dedicated digital camera. A 0.3 Megapixel camera has also been added for true video call support, shooting video of decent quality. The video call application itself is easily reached by a hardware shortcut button, offering a range of options such as picture sharing and 2x digital zoom.

When powering on the handset - as is the case with its sibling, the magnificent W800i - users must choose whether to use the W900i as a combination of mobile phone and music player, or as a stand-alone music player. Having the same hardware as the W800i, audio quality has been upped significantly as compared to handsets of yore, and given the quality of its bundled earphones the W900i would have no problems competing with many dedicated portable audio players out-of-the-box. What it doesn't offer, however, is compatibility with tracks purchased from online music services such as Apple's iTunes or PlaysForSure compatible varieties including Napster and Yahoo! Music.

Dedicated hardware buttons for play/pause and volume control are of course available, and the Walkman application relies on tag data to let users browse music by Artist and Tracks, as well as the ability to create playlists. A graphic equalizer with several presets proved excellent for optimizing sound, but it's a bit of a shame that the W900i doesn't provide an integrated 3.5 mm jack, instead relying on a bundled dongle.

Sony Ericsson W900i
Enlarge
When it comes to mobile phone related features, the W900i supports GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz and WCDMA 2100 (UMTS/3G) networks, as well as HSCSD and GPRS. Unfortunately, EDGE support has been left out, but at least Bluetooth and Infrared are present for short-range connectivity. With a spacious 470 MB of memory on board, the W900i also allows for expansion up to 512 MB at a time courtesy of a Memory Stick Duo slot, with a USB 1.1 port handling transfer of content to and from the phone.

Furthermore, the W900i also sports an FM radio, supports polyphonic and MP3 ringtones, SMS and MMS, instant messaging and e-mail, and lastly Java MIDP 2.0 as well as WAP 2.0 support. Other features include a speakerphone and a web browser capable of reading ordinary web pages, both of which proved to be adequate at their assigned tasks but nothing more.

Reception and voice quality for the Sony Ericsson W900i both proved excellent, while the battery offered approximately 3.5 hours of talktime and 5 days of standby time as compared to the claimed 8 hours and 15 days, respectively. When using the W900i exclusively in Walkman mode, we found the battery to last in the range of 12 hours.

Availability

The Sony Ericsson W900i, also known as the Sony Ericsson W900, is at the time of writing available in Europe, selling for approximately €650 EUR.
Sony Ericsson W900i

Conclusion

Featuring 3G connectivity, a Walkman music player and a 2 Megapixel camera with auto focus, the Sony Ericsson W900i is the most powerful handset available at the time of writing. On top of that, the handset offers a slick and user-friendly user interface as well as excellent key- and navigation pads. Its size and looks, however, don't even come close to the competitors' offerings, and its heavy feature set naturally drains battery life quicker than ever. In summary, the Sony Ericsson W900i should satisfy the needs of most every user with the exception of small-pocketed fashionistas.


What's positive:
3G-enabled; impressive Walkman music player; outstanding camera results

What's negative:
Size; adapter required for 3.5 mm jack
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