Sony Ericsson W995 - First Look review

0 out of 5
price dependent on contract

For

Wi-Fi, 8-megapixel camera, HSDPA, 3.5mm headphones jack

Against

No touchscreen

Sony has launched a new Walkman mobile phone at Mobile World Congress and Pocket-lint was on hand to give it a quick fumble. But is the phone all that it's cracked up to be and can it be the music phone for you? We grabbed a brief play to find out.

Fairly large, it has to be said, the HSDPA-enabled W995 measures 97 x 49 x 15mm (3.8 x 1.9 x .6in) in size and weighs 113g but does come in array of colours: red, black, and silver.

The Sony Ericsson W995 Walkman handset tries for the first time to bring the Walkman and Cyber-shot brands together. It's an age old problem for Sony, and while they no doubt want to retain the two brands, the Cyber-shot and the Walkman separate, the multimedia force that is the general public want to have their cake and eat it.

The result is a music phone that's also a camera phone.

Following in the footsteps of Samsung's i8510, the W995, that incidentally features a virtual carbon copy of the same interface as the W395 handset, adds an 8-megapixel camera into the mix alongside a host of other features.

The slider design features a 2.6-inch screen (not touchscreen), a built-in stand as found in the Nokia N96 so you can prop it on your desk, built-in stereo speakers, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Following the Xpedia's lead, Sony Ericsson has broken out on a lim a included a 3.5mm headphone jack instead of the usual standard Sony Ericsson dongle. It's a welcomed move. SensMe and TrackID and dedicated music buttons down the side of the handset completes the music aspect.

The image element is catered for by that 8-megapixel sensor, a photo flash, although it doesn't look to be a Xenon offering, autofocus, face detection and the ability to geotag your images.

Images and media are saved to either the phones internal memory (around a 1GB) or to the included 8GB Memory Stick Micro (M2) card that Sony Ericsson says it will bundle in the box.

Elsewhere you get GPS and AGPS so you can use Google maps (pre-installed) or geotag your photos and there is the media gallery that uses Sony's XMB (Xross Media Bar) display so you can scan through media files quickly.

The W995 Walkman is Sony Ericsson's first handset to feature its new "Media Go" which transfers, plays and organises your entertainment, in most file formats, to your mobile phone from your PC. Think iTunes for your Walkman handset and you're on the right lines.

The promise is that Media Go lets users auto-transfer any music, podcasts, photos and videos between your phone and computer without needing to manually convert the files.

You'll also be able to share media with your PS3 over Wi-Fi, and take advantage of Sony's PlayNow services, that includes downloaded movies purchased on your PC. We were however unable to test this element in our hands-on unfortunately.

Verdict

Our time was brief however it is clear that Sony Ericsson is hoping that those naysayers who've always complained that the company's music phones weren't good in the camera department, or that their camera phones weren't good in the music department won't now have much to complain about.

Breaking no boundaries with the interface, this is yet another Sony Ericsson handset that offers all the features as the last one with a few new editions.

If you're a Sony Ericsson fan it means you are likely to be happy, if however you are looking for something to push the boundaries of what is possible, but still want to stay Sony Ericsson then you might have to wait a little longer for the company to really push the boat out.

Luckily that shouldn't be too long. The other phone the company launched at Mobile World Congress was a 12-megapixel music phone currently codenamed Idou.

The trouble with the Idou is that rather than having to wait until Q2 to get your hands on it like the W995, the Idou isn’t due to be officially announced until the summer with an expected launch at Christmas.

The W995 might not look to push any boundaries, but it does bring the Cyber-shot and Walkman handset together nicely.

The Sony Ericsson W995 is due some time before June.