Sony Ericsson W880 review: No catch, plain thin

GSMArena team, 06 February 2007.
Pages: 12345»

Sony Ericsson W880 is the newest addition to the Sony Ericsson Walkman line. Nothing uncommon here, we've seen lots of those. The most unusual thing about it though is its form factor - an ultra slim bar-shaped handset with plenty of cool features to offer. Take 3G network support, add a 2 megapixel camera, spice it up with a M2 memory card slot and Bluetooth and finally put it all in the slimmest shell possible and you will get a great result - the Sony Ericsson W880.

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Sony Ericsson W880 official images

Main features

  • Ultra slim design (9.4 mm thin)
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Memory card slot with hot swap functionality
  • 3G support with video calls
  • Walkman 2.0 music player
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP stereo audio profile
  • Multi-tasking support
  • TrackID music service
  • 1GB Memory Stick Micro M2 included in the package
  • Included headset has a standard 3.5 mm audio adapter

Main disadvantages

  • No FM radio
  • No Infrared port
  • Camera has no autofocus
  • No EDGE
  • Records video in the inadequate QCIF (176 x 144 pixels) resolution only

The recent trend in mobile devices design is clear - make it as slim as it gets. Sony Ericsson long stood aside from the race for the slimmest mobile phone. Instead they preferred giving priority to their Walkman-branded music phones, cameraphones or both. But that was up until now. Now we are witnessing the incorporation of the famous portable music brand Walkman into one of the slimmest mobile handsets on the market. It comes as no surprise as rumors and leaked photos and info on the new handset have been flooding the Internet for quite some time now. And finally we got it - the Sony Ericsson W880 itself. And it's up to us to see how this slim baby performs on the treadmill.

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Size comparison with Nokia E70

The announcement of the Sony Ericsson W880 was just today and we are more than proud to present you with an exclusive GSMArena review for your reading pleasure. Bear in mind that the test handset we got was a stable beta version and it is possible that there might be some minor differences in the final retail version.

The retail package of the Sony Ericsson W880 will include 1GB Memory Stick Micro M2 card, a USB cable, and a stereo headset.

The Sony Ericsson W880 will be available in two color variations - black and silver. The one we got to test was the black version. In fact black is the color of the front panel only - the entire back panel is styled in dark orange - the proprietary Walkman color.

Besides the regular Sony Ericsson W880 there will also be a version designated as Sony Ericsson W888. It will be manufactured for the Chinese market and will not include 3G connectivity and video telephony.

Back to basics

The Sony Ericsson W880 has a trendy design which manages to please the eye at the very first sight. The front panel is made of brushed aluminum which adds to fashionable looks and provides for a rather solid construction while at the same time the W880 is still lightweight and really slim. It measures 103 x 47 x 9.4 mm and weighs only 71 g. Unlike other slim mobile phones on the market it doesn't compensate for it's ultra slim body with larger body width or body length. The Motorola RAZR for example is rather wide; the Motorola KRZR is rather long, while the mobiles in the Samsung Ultra line are both too long and wide. The only other mobiles with a similar ultra slim form factor are Samsung P310, the LG KG320 and the LG KE820.

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Sony Ericsson W880

The central place of the front panel of the Sony Ericsson W880 is taken by the 1.8" 262K colors TFT display with a QVGA resolution. Above it you can see the VGA camera for making video calls and the in-call speaker grill.

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VGA camera lens • in-call speaker grill and etched Walkman logo

Below it are the navigation keys which are grouped in three circular patterns. The central circle is the navigation D-pad itself. The left circle is composed of the left soft key, the web browser shortcut key and the Back key, while the right circle features the right soft key, the Activity menu key and the correction C key.

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W880 keypad • Central circle • Left and right keys

The alphanumeric part of the keypad features great protruding orange keys which are really nice and comfortable to touch. The styling of the keypad is superb and it is rather comfortable to work with, but more on navigation and keypad is to come later on in the review.

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Alphanumeric keypad details

The left side of the W880 incorporates the shortcut key for starting the Walkman music player, the regular Fast port used for charging and for connecting the headset and the USB cable. Just below it still on the same left side one can see the cap of the Memory Stick Micro M2 memory card slot which offers true hot-swap functionality. The Fast port seems a little bit out of place here, and we would have liked it better if it had a cap on.

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W880 left side • Walkman key • Fast port • Memory card slot

The right side on the other hand features the camera shortcut/shutter key and the tiniest slider control we have seen in a mobile phone. It serves as volume control and as zoom control while taking pictures and shooting video.

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W880 right side • Camera key • Volume control

The top part of the W880 body doesn't feature any keys at all. The On/Off key that usually is placed here and can be used for changing the active ringing profile doesn't exist here. Instead, you should use the correction C key to turn on or of the mobile phone. The situation with the bottom part of the device is pretty much the same - it doesn't feature any controls or special design elements.

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Top and bottom part

Flipping the phone over reveals its orange back panel. The back panel is made of plastic although it has a metallic paint finish which conceals the plastic base rather successfully. It's nice to touch but its color is too flashy for our tastes. There are two rubber anti-slip studs in the top corners which share the top part of the panel with the camera lens and the loudspeaker. The lower part of the W880 back panel features a strap hole for a neck strip. Unlike the ultra slim Samsung X820 the camera lens here doesn't protrude from the phone's body.

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Back panel

The central part of the back panel is taken by the battery cover which is easily removed. When removed, it reveals the standard Sony Ericsson BST-33 Li-Polymer battery with a capacity of 950 mAh. The same battery is used by Sony Ericsson W850 for example. According to the manufacturer, the battery should last up to 425 hours of standby mode and up to 6.5 hours of talk time when used in GSM-only network. The most exciting promise of the manufacturer though is that the battery would allow W880 to play music continuously for 18 hours straight.

We did spend a few days using the phone in the way a moderate user would, spending about 5 minutes in talking a day and using almost no other battery consuming feature and the fully charged battery kept the W880 running for good 3-4 days in 3G network which is a nice achievement for a slim phone like that.

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Removing the battery panel

The SIM card bed is not the usual Sony Ericsson one. The slot is positioned in the bottom part of the battery housing and the SIM card is rather easy to get in or out - just the opposite of the situation with the rest of the Sony Ericsson mobiles.

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The SIM card bed

We are very pleased with the construction of the Sony Ericsson W880 - it's been a while since we saw a mobile handset with such a fresh design.

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Sony Ericsson W880 held in hand

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