Sony Ericsson W902 mobile phone review

Another flagship contender to the Sony Ericsson Walkman helm, but can the latest high-end Walkman give you that Boogie Wonderland? We get listening to find out.

The rather large W902 is encased in a plastic ribbed casing that gives you some notion of being tough but probably isn't going to last too many rounds in a bout down the pub. The candy bar design is straightforward with little surprises. There is a 2.2-inch QVGA 320 x 240-pixel screen that can be viewed either portrait or landscape (thanks to the accelerometre) with a row of quick buttons under it and then the square, inoffensive, number pad under that.

Keys, like the W890 (that was aimed at the mature market), are of a good size, well spaced out and easy to use. The same can't be said for the shortcuts above however, where Sony Ericsson has crammed eight buttons in a space no bigger than the width of your little finger. It's not as bad as it might sound, but it's something to bear in mind if you don't like fiddling.

You would have thought that with all those shortcut buttons that the central console would feature dedicated buttons for the phone's music capabilities, after all this is a Walkman handset. Well you would be wrong.

Those dedicated keys are actually plastered on the side of the phone giving you pause, play, rewind and fast forward as well as volume controls and of course a dedicated shutter button for the 5-megapixel camera. If you like buttons you'll love the W902. In total there are a total of 28 on the phone. Bonkers.

Elsewhere is the Sony Ericsson power-come-headphone dongle slot and of course that camera on the back complete with LED rather than Xenon flash. Unlike the Cyber-shot range, the lens doesn't come with a lens cap or protector.

Get past the button-tastic design and what's inside?

On a connectivity front you get HSDPA, Bluetooth but no Wi-Fi (we wouldn't really expect Wi-Fi anyway). Storage is a lacklustre 25MB, however Sony Ericsson do bundle an 8GB Memory Stick Micro M2 card in the box giving you storage for around 8000 songs and the software interface, which hasn't changed for some time now, lets you access your content, be it music or video, very easily.

For those not aware of the Sony Ericsson interface, Media, which is accessed by one of those shortcut keys, it is shown using Sony's XMB (XrossMediaBar) application and this lets you scroll through your media quickly whether it's images, music, video, games or something else. Music can be accessed via Playlists, Album titles, the year of the song or SE's SensMe app that groups music based on the rhythm and beats - so you can listen to upbeat tunes when you are feeling energetic.

Hoping to be more than just your MP3 player replacement, the W902 also packs a 5-megapixel camera. The extra megapixels are certainly welcomed (SE has normally only offered 3MP in the Walkman range), and while it doesn't offer the features of the Cyber-shot range, the image quality is still pretty impressive. Sony Ericsson does make good camera phones.

Sending options for still images include MMS and the ability to blog it using that HSDPA connection. Bluetooth is possible, just not from within the camera application. Video capture is also supported, however although you can watch YouTube videos, the W902 doesn't support the YouTube upload tool found on the W595 which is a tad disappointing as it's a really good feature.

Verdict

The W902 does what is says it will do, offer you a Walkman handset that has plenty of memory (8GB) a decent camera (5-megapixels) and fast connection (HSDPA).

The downs are that it's overly large for what it is, the screen quality isn't that great, and there is no 3.5 headphone socket for you to just jack in to.

The W902 isn't to be overlooked, unless there isn't much room in your skinny jeans.