The Walkman label on this new Sony Ericsson handset guarantees the presence of several important properties, common for all Walkman mobiles: a very good music player, state-of-the-arts earphones, a stereo radio with RDS and a larger memory card enclosed in the retail package - a 512MB one in this case.
Hardly any headsets delivered as part of the retail package of current mobile phones manage to satisfy us. The great exception to this rule is the headsets Sony Ericsson usually ships with its Walkman models. The set in this phone shows good, synchronized dynamics. Preset equalizers provide a balanced audio performance. To enhance the bass response and seal out ambient noise Sony Ericsson W660 offers a variety of rubber ear buds for a comfortable fit in the ear.
The cable of the earphones is divided in two - a wired remote with a 3.5 mm jack and the headphones themselves. The remote also features a Send/End key, and a microphone. The standard 3.5 mm jack on it allows the use of custom headphones. This layout makes virtually any type of headphones usable as a hands-free set. The one and only inconvenience is the excessive length of the cable. The Sony Ericsson W660 standard headphones are of such high quality though, that few users will opt for another set.
The music player is equipped with the Walkman 2.0 music player - the same as the one in Sony Ericsson W850. Music files are sorted by ID3 tags; the player ignores any kind of filing into playlists. Given the absence of correct ID3 details on some songs, I personally prefer to select and play the entire list.. Sony Ericsson W660 plays MP3, WMA and all kinds of AAC formats. It also offers the Disc2Phone application (traditionally implemented in Sony Ericsson Walkman models), which enables fast transfers of audio CD to the phone.
Naturally, the player can be minimized when active; the home screen then displays a bar with details on the current track is shown. Volume is controlled through the respective side keys even if the keypad is locked. An equalizer with manual setup options, shuffle and repeat, and three different visualizations are also present. W660 offers light effects too - for example, the central navigation key can blink to the rhythm of the music.
The radio application has not been modified. It supports RDS and memorizes up to 20 stations, which can be quickly browsed . Yet, there is one drawback: frequent switching between stations seems more comfortable with Nokia models, as they allow changing stations through a button on the hands-free control pad. Sony Ericsson, however, offers no such option and one has to pull the phone out of their pocket every time a switch is necessary. In brief: Sony Ericsson W660 brings no music innovations, but it does its job just fine.
TrackID first appeared in W850, and has undergone basically no changes. The phone records a bit of music via the microphone or from the radio. TrackID then connects to the Internet and checks the recorded track in a worldwide database. In case of a positive match, the Internet browser recovers the name of the performer, the song and the album. The service alone is free of charge, but data transfers of about 25-30 KB per every request are not. Illogically, TrackID cannot be applied when the music player is active. It does work when the player is minimized, but the current track is muted. It is quite strange that Sony Ericsson has failed to eliminate this drawback given the application dates back to the Sony Ericsson W850 model.
Songs by Louis Armstrong, Seal, Jamiroquai, Morcheeba or Pet Shop Boys were easy to find, but they were hardly a challenge. When we tried to search for less known tracks like Gabriel by Lamb, TrackID filed it into one of the Cafe Del Mar albums instead of the correct What Sound. Still, TrackID managed to recognize older Savatage songs as well as new solo albums by John Oliva and Chris Caffery, which proves its reliability. TrackID performance is ambiguous as far as movie soundtracks are concerned. It recognized Solaris by Cliff Martinez, K-Pax by Edward Shearmur, and the Lost in translation soundtrack, but failed in the search of Birdcage and Requiem for a Dream.
Unlike most people, we found the TrackID service useful. Just imagine how often you hear interesting music and think "Wow, it would be great to make a note of this track!" Now you can. Too much fuss for nothing?
Sony Ericsson models usually feature long-lasting batteries. Inside the Sony Ericsson family, the W660 belongs to the middle class: a few calls, data transfers and SMS a day will require charging approximately every three days (without switching off the phone at night). In 3G networks battery may last even less. Anyway, with Sony Ericsson W660 "you'll never walk alone" as the phone constantly shows status details, which are useful indeed.
In terms of content, Sony Ericsson W660 brings no innovations; it's the good old applications and functions, but with a facelift. From the point of view of conventional users, however, W660 scores brilliantly in all aspects, except for the absence of EDGE. This phone is great in terms of communication and will meet any of your daily needs with ease. The only obstacle to the Sony Ericsson W660 market success remains its high price. This money can easily get you a smartphone these days. Your personal preference is what matters here. For example, the more affordable W610 seems a better choice for users who don't need UMTS. And then, W610 has EDGE and autofocus, adding extra value to such a purchase.