The rear side of the handset features the 5 megapixel camera, the LED flash and the loudspeaker. A lanyard eyelet is also there.
The middle section of the rear panel with the Sony Ericsson logo has a kind of scale-like texture, which extends to the side of the handset where the music keys are placed. It won't actually improve the grip but is a nice accent that gives the phone a sturdy tool-like look.
The only other thing to note here is the slight creak of the rear panel that bothered us back when we did the preview. Sorry to break it to you but it's still there and worse. The slide-to-remove rear cover obviously won't lock properly and the loose bit slides up and down. It was very irritating to have that every time we picked up the phone. Every time!
Under the back panel are the hot-swappable M2 card slot and the 930 mAh Li-Po battery. Quoted at the impressive 9 hours of talk time and 380 hours of stand-by, the battery is more than adequate for almost every user. Intensive music playback, which a Walkman will sure get, won't drain it too fast. With the W902 you can safely count on two days of fairly heavy usage.
The build quality of Sony Ericsson W902 is very good. But that's actually a criticism on our side. It could've been excellent was it not for the wobbly rear. The plastic casing could have used some metal here and there but that's a minor issue.
The handset is generally solid and sturdy and handles quite comfortably. The Walkman key (in shake control mostly) and the volume rocker are minor exceptions.
The 2.2" 262K-color screen of QVGA resolution is very good. It has great contrast and a truly vibrant picture. The good brightness levels secure an excellent mark for the display indoors. Outdoor performance of the sunlight legibility is is as nice as the one of Sony Ericsson C905 - not perfect, but still good. Still, the W902 is well ahead of the Samsung Emporio Armani OLED screen in terms of performance in bright light.
The high-end Sony Ericsson W902 has the the most advanced version of the UI of the house. It is customizable with Flash Lite themes and hardly ever stays static. The interface offers an extensive set of options and settings. They are complemented by great speed, which further improves the user experience.
By the way, Sony Ericsson have set up a nice little interactive demo tool for you to explore the phone interface and features online.
The standby screen is arranged in the usual manner with readings on top including signal strength, currently used data carrier and battery status. At the bottom of the display, just above the context keys are their labels.
The wallpaper bellow is always on the move and really comes alive when the music player is on, making smooth transitions when playback starts or stops.
The options for the menu layout are the standard foursome - theme-dependent, 3 x 4 grid of icons, rotating view and single icon view. Rotating view features three animated front icons on the display, the center one showing the active selection. The other two icons are half-hidden, just as an indication of what comes next. Five other menu icons can be seen in the dim background.
The icon view displays a single icon at a time and a vertical bar, which features tiny icons for the other main menu entries. Neither of those view modes works with shortcut keys. Only the Grid view allows quick numeric keypad access.
The well-known Activity menu offers quick access to a user-defined list of favorite features, web, recent events and, of course, the Running Apps tab that takes care of multitasking.
As with the Sony Ericsson W980, you can minimize the progress indicator when receiving a file over Bluetooth but you can't do that when sending a file.
Flight mode can only work with a SIM card in the device and requires a restart.
The interface is visually appealing and snappy. Auto rotation is enabled in the Media Center and is generally quite responsive. There's a hardly noticeable lag involved but we guess that's to be preferred over an over-sensitive accelerometer that can often play up.