Sony Ericsson W800 review: Walkman, camera, phone

Michal Sedlák, 12 August 2005. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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We have tested the so eagerly waited walkman from Sony Ericsson. This orange jewel has a memory card of 512 MB capacity, excellent earphones as well as a camera and function menu that are as brilliant as those of Sony Ericsson K750.

Key features

  • Fully functional MP3 player
  • MP3 sound of excellent quality
  • First-rate earphones delivered with the phone
  • Very good auto focus camera
  • Fine display
  • Built-in radio with RDS
  • USB charging
  • Stylish design

Main disadvantages

  • No EDGE
  • No standard support for USB Mass Storage
  • No alternative color versions

"Hurrah, it is finally here"... one could exclaim. Well, if you take a look at the Asian markets you will find out that Sony Ericsson W800 has been sold there for some time already. Now, however, we have K750's orange brother in our office. It is stunningly stylish and much richer in terms of music options.

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Official pictures of Sony Ericsson W800

The good news is that its price is not expected to hit crazy heights. The price recommended by the manufacturer is 470 euros, but it's already being offered by some internet shops at a lower price. We expect it to go further down with time.

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Sony Ericsson W800 has been designed for customers, who long for style as well as for those who adore music, quality and functionality. You may accuse us of offering you another much too positive review. But please, tell us what we are supposed to do since the famous Swedish-Japanese manufacturer sends us one imposing phone after another.

Oh, this is beautiful...

... exclaimed an older madam in the train compartment when she saw W800 lying on the small folding table. I was really astonished to hear such an evaluation from a lady of her age. What I have got used to, however, are younger people's curious eyes. Sony Ericsson is do launching one if the best mobile phones ever. Even though W800's designers apparently left their imagination play, they kept its brightening elegance untouched. It still looks solid and somehow "hi-tech".

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Sony Ericsson W800 compared to a credit card

The combination of creamy white and metal orange do attracts the sight of everyone around. Additional components are glossy silver. W800 could hardly be mistaken with K750, especially when looked at from behind. It is just utterly different. This phones proofs successfully, that ergonomics does not necessary mean hundreds of curves. It is easy to hold in spite of its classic construction. The size has been left unchanged: the device is 100 × 46 × 20 mm big and weighs 99 grams.

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The phone does not lie evenly due to its bulgy back part

A new approach has been applied on the keypad and the joystick. Buttons do not share sides and are therefore much easier to recognize than the ones of the less successful keypad of K750. Although they feature low uplift, writing is very comfortable and fast. Press is sure. Joystick is equipped with an orange rubber cap, which co-works perfectly with the middle part of the thumb. In this sense, you can rely on stable and sure control.

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Joystick is equipped with a rubber cap, due to which it allows perfect control

Even though the main control buttons are made of plastics, one would never say so. They look as if made of metal. The button for quick access to Activity menu you know from Sony Ericsson K750 has been replaced by a key which activates the MP3 player. Fortunately, the cheap-look notes symbol that was seen in the official pictures of W800 has been replaced by the Sony Walkman logo.

Are you crazy about design?

The frame around the cover glass of the display is underlain with silver dots. The glass touches its margins, going as far as the context keys. In the dark the display is lighted with orange glare, which fades in the margins. In such a moment any artist's heart would rejoice.

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Keypad backlighting is orange • display in the dark

I am turning the phone face down. Why? The thing is that you won't find any carved lens cover on the back side of W800. In this phone the camera is hidden behind a tiny round window, which moves really promptly, just in the way one would expect from such a first-rate camera. Oh, yes, I know, phone is not a camera... But just have a look - the new Sony Ericsson model does not resemble a phone from behind at all.

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W800 resembles a classic digital camera from behind

W800 is equipped with two lighting diodes. They can be used as a lamp too. It is possible to activate them either during the photographic process, or directly from the menu. The diodes can illuminate either constantly, or for a period of one minute only. They can also send out an SOS signal. The intensity of the diodes is impressive. At night, for example, they manage to throw light on an entire room. In the bottom part of the circle there is an unsecured cut-out for both the ringing speaker and the loud handsfree. W800's sound performance does not become worse even if you place it on a table - this is possible due to the design of the back cover, which stands out a bit in the area of the small circle. In a result, the speaker does not get "suffocated" by the table's surface.

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Light diodes are extremely strong

So fine...

What a pity the delivery box does not contain a polishing clout for the display. Fingerprints are visible everywhere. At the same time, I am afraid that the display is very likely to get easily scratched for it is not imbedded. Having in mind, however, that it is style that runs the whole idea about W800, we could probably excuse this inconvenience. The truth is that this big glossy surface levelled with the rest of the phone's body is quite impressive.

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The display is fine. Resolution is nothing special, nor is the size of the active TFT. These two details, however, create a fascinating picture of 176 × 220 pixels on a surface of 10.5 sq. cm.

The graphic design has undergone certain modifications, most of which are cosmetic only. The multimedia files icon in the right column has been replaced by the logotype of Sony Walkman. As usual, the phone has four preinstalled themes including a light and an inverse one. For more, connect to internet and download the ones you like. But to my opinion, the originally preset orange theme suits the phone the best.


Intro display • animated wallpaper • orange scheme

Animated wallpaper can also be used as background. All movements within the display are fully fluent and very fast. The menu pulses, comes out from aside, expands from the middle towards the margins... In his review of Sony Ericsson K750 Marek Lutonský mentioned that he had grown tired with animation in time. In the case of Sony Ericsson W800, however, graphic show has not stopped to amuse me, even though I have been using the phone for several days already. Well, various people, various ideals. In any case, the group of pleased customers would have been bigger if the phone allowed deactivation of the animation.

The orange strip

Let's now have a look at the strip surrounding the phone, which looks as if made of metal. In its bottom part is the Fast Port connector together with the tiny slot of the microphone. On its right side is the silver camera release button, covered with fingerprints almost constantly. It offers two positions - when half-pressed the camera pre-focuses and when fully pressed the camera takes the picture. Also, at any time, if you press and hold it for while, the camera gets activated automatically. If you open the lens cover, again, the camera starts to run.

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System connector Fast Port • camera shutter release button

Volume control button has been left in the same place - just by the "head" of the phone. The only difference from previous models is that this time it is situated on phone's right side. In the front upper part of W800 you will find the plate of the infrared port, a holder slot as well as the main switch-off button.

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Volume control button • main switch-off button

The play/pause button is situated on the left side of the device. It activates or stops either the MP3 player, or the radio. It can be set to always activate the application that has been last used. Phone's left side, however, is dominated by the cover of the memory card slot. To take out the 512 MB memory card labelled as Memory Stick Pro Duo you need to open the cover and press on the tiny plate inside with the tip of your finger. On one hand the memory card is a proof of the unusual quality of this mobile phone. On the other hand, however, it is basically a necessity since W800 has the functions of a classic walkman. It is possible to pull out the card when the phone is on. If you like, you can get yourself an additional card of maximum 2 GB capacity.

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Play/pause button • Sony Walkman logo • rubber cover • memory card

Let us now have a close look at the battery. To my disappointment, its characteristics turned to be quite similar to the ones of K750. The music player drags the durability of the phone down to less than two days. At the same time, the officially published durability is 400 hours on stand-by or 540 minutes of phone calls. But if you use your mobile actively, you'd do better if you count with half these numbers at most. Yet, it has been only a while since we started testing W800, so it is still too early for us to provide you with final evaluation.

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Back cover of the battery • SIM card slot

When you insert the SIM card, a mere quarter of the back cover gets removed. Battery is easy to both extract and insert. The SIM card, however, has been designed to require a bit more effort. This way the solidness of the body construction of the phone is kept. The latter is perfect, by the way. No matter how firmly you hold W800, it does not give a single creak.

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