Sony Ericsson W902 review: Cyber-Walkman-shot

GSMArena team, 06 February 2009.
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What's in the box?

Sony Ericsson W902 has all you may possibly need in its retail package. A battery charger, USB data cable and headset is stuff you take for granted. The stereo headphones are the usual high-quality kit you get with Sony Ericsson handsets. It's a two-piece headset with a stylish remote that ends on a 3.5 mm plug, so you can use your own set of earphones too.

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A well stocked box

On top of the standard equipment, the W902 ships with a USB M2 card reader, to ease handling of the 8 gigs of external storage, which is also prebundled. We first saw an M2 card reader in the W910 box. The one that comes with Sony Ericsson W902 is the same as what you get with the Cybershot top dog C905.

Sony Ericsson W902 360-degree spin

Design and construction

Sony Ericsson W902 measures 110 x 49 x 11.7mm and weighs 99.8 grams. It is indeed very pocket-friendly, but quite strong and solid too. As to design, we'll just say it again. Sony Ericsson have long crossed the line between recognizable and repetitive. Perhaps even the most conservative of Walkman fans have had enough of new releases that look anything but new outside.

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Sony Ericsson W902

The W902 is the first Walkman bar to feature dedicated music controls on the side and they're welcome for allowing quick control of the Walkman player without even having to open the application itself. Pressing and holding the Play/Stop button will launch the music player in mini mode and music will resume where you last left off.

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The dedicated music keys on the right the left side

Our main concern is those keys do take some time getting used to. Before we got the hang of it, we did risk dropping the handset using the side music keys. The Samsung Emporio Armani felt notably more stable and easier to handle. It has the same music controls on the right hand side, but is way lighter and doesn't have the rounded edges of the W902.

The Walkman key is atop the Sony Ericsson W902. It launches the Walkman 3.0 player fullscreen and is used for Shake control. You can skip tracks and shuffle your playlist on the W902 by a simple flick of the hand while holding down the Walkman key. Seriously, this sounds awesome on paper, but it's really annoying in action.

The Walkman button is hard to push and sinks very little with zilch of press feedback, so you almost never know if you pressed it right. What's more, its location at the top of the handset almost completely rules out a secure grip - and that's quite needed if you're about to jerk your phone up and down.

Anyway, if you make the move right, a slight vibration will indicate your shake command has been acknowledged.

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The Walkman key side music keys Next to Samsung Emporio Armani

The left side of the handset only features the proprietary connectivity port, which once again is exposed. That however is hardly its biggest issue. It's used for connecting the headset of course and having it placed towards the bottom of the left side is perhaps not the most comfortable solution.

The top and bottom parts of the handset are quite discreet. The already mentioned Walkman key is the only thing to find at the top. The bottom has an etched Walkman logo and the mouthpiece.

A long crevice is to be seen at the top of the W902 front panel. The actual earpiece only takes less than a quarter of it. On either side are the video-call camera and the ambient light sensor.

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The earpiece is placed within a rather long aperture on the front panel

The keypad of Sony Ericsson W902 is quite comfortable. The keys are well-sized with enough spacing between rows. Nice tactility and solid press leave little to wish for here.

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The Sony Ericsson W902 keypad is very good keys backlighting in Walkman mode

The control and navigation deck features two circular patterns on either side of a round D-pad. Sony Ericsson have always been keen to squeeze in quite a few controls and the W902 is another example of well used space.

The Call and End keys only feel a bit too small for our liking, but they are still nicely raised and tactile enough. All the buttons have a very precise and solid press.

The D-pad is, without exaggeration, perfect. Not only does it handle and respond nicely, it looks a treat with the stylish copper-colored accent.

Backlighting makes it even better. The alphanumeric keypad and controls backlight in solid white, which is quite pleasant and friendly. The only bit that glows on the D-pad is the little circle around the confirm button.

When the music player is ON the D-pad and soft keys illuminate in dense dark orange and the handset looks really hot in the dark.

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Great D-pad and friendly controls

The control we probably like best on the W902 is the dedicated camera key. Its size is just right while the comfort and responsiveness are a nice taster of the improved camera performance in the new Walkman.

The volume rocker though, which doubles as a zoom lever, is quite disappointing. Slim and flat, it has a very poor press.

Both the camera key and the volume controls have the same coppery finish as the D-pad but it does feel too much. It could've been well more subtle we guess.

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The dedicated camera keys Emporio Armani comparison

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