Sony Ericsson W900 review: Walkman the Third

David Polesný, 03 January 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Overwhelming abundance

Multimedia data in Sony Ericsson W900 are managed thanks to the incredible 470 MB of memory space. If it is still too little for you, you can insert an additional memory card of the Memory Stick Pro Duo type. Since the phone is equipped with enough built-in memory, the lack of a separate memory card in the original package is understandable.

The file manager is organized better than in previous models due to several innovations. In W900 it is divided into three sections. The first one shows all available files, the second one is only for the files saved in the phone, while the third one shows only the files on the memory card.

Files are sorted by type and grouped in folders. Inside each folder you can create new subfolders and this way filter your data on through copying, moving, deleting etc.

When pictures are viewed you are initially offered a matrix with its previews. When you click on a particular picture, it gets maximized and can be viewed in a landscape mode. Pictures in each folder can be showed in a slideshow.

   
Picture slideshow in the phone

Sony Ericsson W900 is delivered with a USB cable for connection to PC. You will need to first install the correspondent driver. Once you have done so, the phone appears as a new memory storage in the computer. A full-value Mass Storage function is still missing.

It is not the end

Entertainment options in Sony Ericsson W900 are so diverse that you will hardly ever get bored. It has three pre-installed games, two of which are 3D. Asphalt3D is a car race game with brilliantly elaborated 3D environment, but it is very difficult to control. In PowerBall Arcade you pick up a marble and move with it among different types of islands. This game also requires longer control training. As a matter of fact, the game new users will surely enjoy the most is QuadraPop - a variation of the old but immortal Tetris.

   

Sony Ericsson W900 supports Java MIDP 2.0, so additional games are easy to download. Nevertheless, according to jBenchmark tests, this model has slower Java application than previous Sony Ericsson models. Obviously, phone's hardware finds it difficult to manage the increased amount of pixels on the display.

Beside the games, the phone also has three good java applications. Quite a practical one is the unit converter. Young and inexperienced musicians will certainly appreciate the Music Mate program, which teaches you tones on the piano, basic accords on the guitar and also serves as a timekeeper. Still, the most funny of them all is the FaceWarp application, which distorts portrait pictures and then sends them directly in a MMS. FaceWarp offers plenty of deformation options. Contrary to Sony Ericsson W550, the new model lacks a RSS channel reader.

  

Are you still short of fun? Then have a look at the famous triple application VideoDJ, PhotoDJ and MusicDJ. It allows for modifying videos and pictures in various ways as well as creating ringing melodies of your own. In W900 you will also find the popular option of remote PC control through Bluetooth connection and standard HID profiles.

   
VideoDJ • PhotoDJ • MusicDJ • remote control

One of the novelties in W900 is the support of the famous Flash format (SWF file extension), used in numerous exciting animations available on the internet. Note: images in this format cannot be viewed in a landscape mode.

Fun is not everything

The only piece of news among practical applications is the new internet browser. (BTW, the same browser type is installed in the W550 model). What makes this particular browser better than the forerunners is the combination of fast data communication in 3G and a bigger display. Apparently, we will need Opera Mini no more.

   
WAP pages in the new browser

   
Changing the font size • setup options

Pages can be displayed in a full-screen mode. Their font size can be modified too. The browser adapts non-sophisticated pages to the size of the display quite effortlessly, but it still has certain limits. The phone supports Java script. More details about the new browser can be found in the Sony Ericsson W550 review.

    
   
Viewing standard internet pages (MobilMania and Gadgets.cz)

The menu, containing standard organizer functions, is quite similar to the one we know from the forerunners. The calendar, including the reminders, can be displayed in a month, week or day view. There is no option for repeated events, as usual. Each reminder can be assigned an advanced alarm, a written note, event site and - of course - defined duration period.

  
Organizer menu • day view at events • month view • week view

The task manager has not been modified either. The same holds true for the Notes and the Code memo. The phone is equipped with a calculator, a stopwatch and a countdown timer too.

The calendar, the task manager, all notes and the phonebook are all possible to synchronize with the PC. Connection is established through Bluetooth, a USB cable or the infrared port. Of course, the phone substitutes a modem too. If you are not able to catch 3G signal, try GPRS Class 10, it works smoothly. All necessary software is to be found on the CD delivered with the phone.

Too much of everything

Sony Ericsson W900 certainly has some of the best and richest equipment a mobile phone has ever had, but... It is quite big and heavy. Besides that, its rotating construction is not very practical. The full blackout of the display is not helpful either for it does not alert you immediately about missed events. The phone lacks a built-in radio, which disadvantages it in comparison with existing Sony Ericsson models. The most crucial obstacle for W900 to become a commercially successful phone however will probably be its price - 530 euro is simply a lot.

To sum up, whether you will buy this phone or not depends on nothing else but your needs. If you feel attracted to the conception of a music mobile phone, then you may have to make your choice between two Sony Ericsson models - W900 and W800. The more expensive option will bring you fast data and video conversations in UMTS networks, a bigger and better display, huge built-in memory and a pair of other less important details. So is 130 euro more worth them? At the same time, Sony Ericsson W800 is more compact, it has a top-quality built-in radio and its display is pretty good, even if smaller. All this makes me think that the group of W900 fans will hardly ever become really numerous. On the other side, this will make this new Sony Ericsson model look really exclusive and mavericks will have their own back.

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