Sony Ericsson W890 review: Thin Walkman refined

GSMArena team, 28 December 2007.
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Loud is not always great

All the latest Sony Ericsson phones we've tested offer very good voice quality for both parties and W890 is no exception. The HSDPA enabled quad-band handset offers good signal reception but, surprisingly, ringing is neither loud nor balanced enough. The loudspeaker seems to do poorly at trebles and basses, too. The results of the loudspeaker test differ a bit from our subjective impression. The test ranked the W890 within the "Very Good" margin.

Here is how the W890 ranks along some of the other handsets we've measured in our new speakerphone loudness test. More info on our test here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Sony Ericsson W89069.678.272.7Very good
Sony Ericsson W91077.570.782.7Excellent
Sony Ericsson K85071.075.775.7Very good
LG KU990 Viewty72.068.877.8Good
Samsung E25071.964.769.8Average
Qtek 850065.765.766.2Bellow average

Note: Most of the display screenshots are taken from the W910 review, as its user interface is virtually identical to the one of W890.

Screenshots of Sony Ericsson W890 Screenshots of Sony Ericsson W890
Calling Dexter

A superior user interface

The user interface in W890 has the well known Sony Ericsson feature phone styling, spiced up with a few recently introduced features, we've discussed in detail in previous reviews.

The new features in the W890 include the optimized Media Center and Flash Lite 2.0 support, the Walkman 3.0 player with SensMe feature. Unfortunately, the auto rotate capability seen in K850 and W910 is missing here. With all the listed innovative features, we feel that the Sony Ericsson phones have now surpassed the competing Nokia S40 models with the only exception being the proprietary Nokia Active standby screen.

As most previous models, the W890 comes with a dedicated Flight mode. When turning on the phone, you may opt to start it directly into Flight mode. The Sony Ericsson W890 cannot work in Flight mode unless a SIM card is inserted, while competing Nokia S40 UI models are capable of that.

In active stand-by mode the screen displays information about the network signal, battery strength, current date and time, plus the next alarm due. Pressing the navigation key in any of the four directions can start a user-programmed feature or application. The main menu itself is a 4 x 3 grid of animated icons, each of which can be directly accessed by pressing its corresponding alphanumeric key. All sub-menus are in list view with tiny icons on the left side. Response is fast in every submenu and application.

Screenshots of Sony Ericsson W890 Screenshots of Sony Ericsson W890 Sony Ericsson W890
Standby view the main menu a listed sub menu

Like Sony Ericsson K850, T650 and W910, the new slim Walkman also supports Flash Lite themes. With our beta version of W890 only the default Walkman theme is preinstalled, but the retail version will have some more. We have paid due attention to the themes and their features in recent Sony Ericsson reviews. If you would like to see how themes enhance the menu and the handling of the phone, please feel free to read the detailed theme chapters in Sony Ericsson W910, K850 and T650 reviews.

"...The HSDPA enabled quad-band handset offers good signal reception but, surprisingly, ringing is neither loud nor balanced enough. The loudspeaker seems to do poorly at trebles and basses, too. The results of the loudspeaker test differ a bit from our subjective impression..."

The well-known Activity menu offers quick access to selected functions. The Running Apps tab takes care of multi-tasking. A feature we first saw in K850 allows minimizing the dialog window when you receive files via Bluetooth and opening the window on demand through the Running Apps tab. Strangely, this is not the case when you are sending content via Bluetooth.

The Activity menu also offers quick access to recent events, the web menu and the My Shortcuts tab, which is a user-configurable list of favorite features.

Sony Ericsson W890 Sony Ericsson W890 Sony Ericsson W890 Sony Ericsson W890
No changes in activity menu

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