Sony Ericsson W595 review: Music on the slide
The FM radio on the Sony Ericsson W595 supports RDS and TrackID. You can store up to 20 stations and use the auto save feature to scan and save stations automatically.
The radio can be minimized to play in the background and controlled via the Walkman keys but, unlike the music player, it doesn't have any visualization on the home screen, not even RDS info. The previous/next buttons can be used for tuning in - one short click for going 0.1 MHz up or down, and a longer press for switching between saved stations.
The video player on the Sony Ericsson W595 supports fast-forward, rewind, and slow-mo playback. It can play in landscape and has three options for video size - original, auto fit and full screen (which crops the video if needed).
A nice feature of the video player is the screenshot capability. It allows you to save a frame of video and add it to the gallery.
Camera is basic, but still shoots well
The Sony Ericsson W595 packs a 3.15-megapixel autofocus camera capable of taking shots at a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels (the average file size is a tad below 900 KB).
The W595 is a Walkman and, unlike the W902, imaging is very much secondary to the music features. Video recording is the same - QVGA resolution at 15 fps.
You still get a few niceties like auto-rotate, camera images geo-tagging (based on cell-ID), but BestPic, macro mode or stabilization are missing. The user interface has a typical Cyber-shot arrangement but with the extras left out.
Settings are displayed in the viewfinder on a toolbar with pop-up submenus. Traditionally, the viewfinder toolbar lets you control shoot mode, scenes, picture size, self-timer, white balance, effects, and settings (Multi menu).
The Sony Ericsson W595 doesn't have GPS on-board but is capable of putting standard GPS coordinates in images based on cell tower triangulation. This seems to work reasonably accurately in dense city areas where cell towers are closely positioned, but this may vary in other scenarios.
When browsing tagged images in the gallery, you have access to a "View on map" tab from the options menu, which displays your location directly on the preinstalled Google Maps. If you pair the phone with an external Bluetooth GPS receiver, the geotagging feature automatically starts to use it to collect exact GPS coordinates for the images.
Thanks to the built-in accelerometer the camera is also able to auto-rotate your images when you are previewing them. The silent shooting mode completes the features list of the W595 camera.
The Sony Ericsson W595's camera produces nice images with a fair level of detail and no purple fringing. We definitely see a nice improvement over the pre-release unit we had for previewing.
One of our concerns with the image quality is that the sharpening is a bit too much. It's supposed to compensate for the aggressive noise reduction routine, which not only creates a water color effect over some areas (the foliage), but also eradicates detail in the shadows.
On the positive side however, the images look really nice and punchy straight out of the camera with no further editing.
Of course, the W595 is also capable of capturing video, even though it's limited to QVGA resolution at 15fps. The clips are recorded in mp4 format and take about 3 MB for every minute of recording.
Here is a sample video for you to check out.
The W595 offers the full range of connectivity options. Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G are all on board, so there's virtually no spot on earth where you won't be able to get connected.
In addition, you've got the fastest data transfer around, provided that a HSDPA-enabled network is available. By the way, the compatible UMTS frequency is only 2100Mhz. Like the C902, the Sony Ericsson W595 will have localized versions (W595a for America and W595c for China) but only the W595 will have HSDPA support.
Besides the network-based connectivity, Sony Ericsson W595 offers the usual Bluetooth v2.0 and USB options. There is also support for the A2DP profile, allowing you to listen to music on a stereo Bluetooth headset.
Last but not least, there is also the M2 card slot which might just turn out to be one of the quickest means of transferring data on certain occasions.
The Sony Ericsson W595 supports local and remote synchronization of contacts and calendar events. The local one is with Outlook and a PC, while the remote synchronization works with remote servers.
The USB connectivity has four modes. The first one is File transfer, which is self-explanatory. Then comes the USB Internet in case you need to use the phone as a modem.
The third one is the Media transfer, which directly connects to Windows media player allows for synchronizing your WMP music and playlists with the phone. The last one is the PictBridge one, used for direct printing of images.