Sony Ericsson S500 has an complete twin in the Walkman Series, the W580. Both share the same size and form factor. A great number of their functions are identical too. The differences - kind of - boil down to the Walkman logo. Take that one away, and the music player that goes with it, and you wouldn't tell the two handsets apart, was it not for the conspicuous exterior.
Sony Ericsson S500 measures 99 x 47 x 14 mm when closed and weighs 94 g, quite pleasing both ways. The handset is a pleasure to hold and operate and, once again, the 14-mm slimness is worth commending for a slider. The backward curve at the bottom does give the handset's body an edge of excitement.
Sony Ericsson has put an extra effort to set this device apart by offering unusual color combinations and visual patterns. Our S500 unit was the Mysterious Green variety, which has a silver-framed black body and a green keypad. A combination of gold and white is also on offer with the Spring Yellow handset. Contrasted Copper and Ice Purple are the other colors available.
The phone is entirely made of plastic, but even so it is very solid. Its rear cover holds firmly in place but, if pressed a bit stronger, it will give a few creaks here and there. On the other side, the sliding construction is worth a compliment. Its only fault is a tiny wobble, observed when the phone is slid open. It is practically of no issue to daily use. The rim of the navigation key provides a comfortable pushing point to slide the handset open, the spring-loaded case making things even better. Using the elevated navigation key for sliding will save the screen from fingerprints, but there's not much you can do about the glossy plastic surface on the front.
Let us now have a look at the silvery sides of our handset. On the left you will find a silver volume rocker, which also operates the zoom when shoting. On the right is the Fast port connector for charger, headset and USB cable. The bottom features nothing but a wrist-strap eyelet. Memory Stick Micro memory cards are inserted in a slot on the top side of the device, protected by a plastic cover. Sony Ericsson S500 comes with no memory card enclosed in the retail package though.
Just like in W580, light effect LEDs are embedded all along the dividing line of the two parts of the slider. They flash in various colors to alert of incoming calls. In addition, a special light effect can be assigned to each contact in your phonebook. Pity the diodes cannot be used as alerts for missed calls or received messages as the speed and pace of blinking aren't user-configurable.
Part of the rear side surface is dot-patterned, the same design is also seen beneath the D-pad. The manufacturer logo, as well as a tiny switch-off key at the top (also used for switching between ringing profiles), are also found rearside. The lens of the 2-megapixel camera is at the back of the slider, which has a pleasing green lining. The battery cover is quite difficult to remove; underneath it is the 930 mAh Li-Pol battery. The same unit supplies the W580, said to provide up to 370 hours of stand-by or 540 minutes of talk time. The SIM card is inserted into the phone body right above the battery bed. Another W580 deja vu, removing and inserting it is quite a feat.