Sony Ericsson W950i £335

24th May 2007 | 23:00

Sony Ericsson W950i

A touchscreen phone that plays music. Sounds familiar...

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

It looks good and works well but it's a couple of key features shy of being great

Like:

<p>Versatile input choices</p><p>Works well as an MP3 player</p>

Dislike:

<p>No camera</p><p>Sony has favoured form over function</p><p>No card reader</p>

Sony Ericsson's Walkman phone range has been around for a couple of years, but only now does it feature a model with a large enough memory to rival a dedicated MP3 player. The W950i (£335 inc. VAT) comes with 4GB of Flash memory, which is enough to store up to 4,000 songs.

Like the upcoming Apple iPhone, the W950i features a touchscreen. In this case, it measures 2.6-inches, and we found it vibrant and sharp. The screen is responsive, and you'll find handwriting recognition included, so you'll be able to scribble notes, text messages and even draw pictures with the included stylus.

It's certainly a nice addition when you want to create emails. With push-email support, you can send and receive emails directly, making this a surprisingly adept tool for the corporate user.

Unfortunately, the keypad is compromised, and Sony Ericsson has put form before function. With a flat surface covering all of the buttons, it may look good, but it's all too easy to get the wrong number or letter.

The W950i runs a Symbian operating system - which is the same OS featured on Nokia phones. It's intuitive, and a scroll wheel on the side of the phone lets you get the most out of it. Unfortunately, it's situated in the wrong place for right-handed users, so you'll either have to change the way you hold it, depending on what you're doing, or use two hands.

The W950i runs the Symbian OS smoothly and without major lag, and we found most applications ran quickly. While 4GB of memory will be enough for most people, there's no card reader, so you won't be able to increase storage space, and transferring files is not as easy as it could be, largely due to Sony's complicated synchronisation software.

You will find Bluetooth included, however, so you'll be able to wirelessly transfer music, photographs and data.

Playing music

The W950i is in its element as a music player, and we actually found it easier to use than some of Sony's dedicated MP3 players. The Disc2Phone software is quite good, and it's possible to create album folders on the phone itself, so you don't even need to organise your music before transferring it. You can also assign photographs to your albums, letting you select music by tapping an album cover.

There's also a built-in radio, although the headphone lead needs to be plugged in, as it acts as the aerial. Like its corporate-aimed sibling, the M600, there's no camera.

Overall, the W950i is a decent smartphone. The layout isn't as ergonomic as it could have been but, this aside, we found no major faults.

SonyEricssonPortable audioMobile phones
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