Sony Ericsson Walkman W880 mobile phone review

4 out of 5
Price dependent on contract

For

1GB Memory Stick Micro in the box, 3G, styling, thinness, blogging software

Against

We found keypad prickly to use, no direct 3.5mm jack for headphones

Sony Ericsson's W880 is the company's thinnest Walkman handset to date and shows that it can do slim to compete with the likes of Samsung. But is it enough to impress? We take a closer look.

Three months on from our first look, and the W880 is still as thin as it was then. It's not Samsung thin mind you, i.e., you don't have to worry that you are going to snap it in half, but thin enough that it is bound to get a few ooohs and arhhs when whipped out down the pub.

At 9.4mm thick it's thinner than a CD case, but still not anywhere near thin enough to claim "World's thinnest", however if the thinness doesn't get you, the stainless steel top half casing probably will and following the Motorola KRAZR the back is coated in a rubbery magic material that is neither smooth or sticky. In practice this means it sticks to surfaces that little bit better and won't slide around your desk or your dashboard.

The stainless steel frontage, available in silver or black, helps give the phone some much-needed strength. Design-wise buttons have been kept to a minimum, there is no dedicated power button for example and the overall look is very much retro rather than stylish.

In practice and those buttons are very prickly to use and one person we showed the phone to even had problems with their fingernails.

Almost half the size of the W810 (see pictures), there is the 2 megapixel camera on the back (although no flash) and 3G connectivity to get you started. Of course Bluetooth comes as standard and music storage-wise there is a 1GB M2 card in the box, double what you get for the W810. It will allow you to store around 900 tracks if you haven’t got pictures or video on there as well.

Being small and thin, the phone relies on a good amount of software to impress. The phone features the new Walkman 2.0 music software found on last year's dog of a phone the W850 and it now gives you features like album art and the ability to buy tracks online if your operator supports it. It has also got TrackID - Sony Ericsson's Shazam clone.

On the camera front there is also the company's very good, and we can't stress this enough, Blogger software tool that combined with the 3G elements allow you to blog your life within seconds without a PC.

Although you can use any headphones you like, you will still have to use Sony's connecting wire through the power cable and this means you won't be able to listen and charge at the same time.

Verdict

Now that we've had some time to live with and use the phone, our first glance impressions were right. The W880 is a well polished phone that certainly has the wow factor along with a bit of retro styling thrown in for good measure. It's solid stuff from our Swedish friends.

It's main contender? The Nokia n95. It might be a little bigger in size, but with a 5 megapixel camera and GPS built-in it's still going to be a tough one to beat, however if music or blogging is your passion, you won't go far wrong with this Walkman handset, just make sure you have a quick play with the keyboard in the shop before parting with your cash.