Sony Ericsson W902 review: Cyber-Walkman-shot

GSMArena team, 06 February 2009.
Pages: 12345678

Media Center keeps things in line

The Media Center on the Sony Ericsson W902 is the centerpiece of the phone's interface. It is in essence a gallery for all the media the device can handle, all navigated through a sleek, simple and intuitive interface. It allows instant access to the Photos, Music, Videos, Games and Web Feeds on the handset The current pick is highlighted and the count of stored files is displayed.

Since the Sony Ericsson W902 is equipped with a built-in accelerometer, the Media center interface rotates automatically to match the handset orientation.

Excellent image gallery

The Sony Ericsson photo gallery is definitely among the best we've found in a feature phone. It's a convenient tool for managing a vast collection of pictures with great customization capabilities and features. Some of those options include: one-click access to the latest snapshot you've taken, timeline view for your images and tags that can later be used for filtering. With Sony Ericsson W902 you can also mark some of your photos as favorite and make accessing them even easier through the favorite photo feed.

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Gallery application from the media center

Viewing photos is a joy with the Sony Ericsson W902, especially when browsing images fullscreen. When you want to go to the next in line, it doesn't simply pop up but instead slides in from left or right. Then, when exiting the full screen view of a picture, it smoothly zooms out to thumb view.

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Unfortunately, still shots don't do the animations justice

One place where the music and imaging skills of the phone come together is the Slide show. You're prompted to pick a mood (you can choose "silent" too) so it can set the proper music background and transition effects.

The phone doesn't have a GPS receiver but still does geotagging using Cell ID. You have the option to view the location (approximate of course) where the picture was taken on map (Google Maps) .

Walkman rocks

The Sony Ericsson W902 features the Walkman 3.0 player with all possible extras included. Accessed from the really nice Media menu, the player supports a vast collection of file formats and has several equalizer presets. In addition, you also get Album art and the proprietary Sony Ericsson Shake control making use of the phone's built-in accelerometer. The accelerometer is also put to use for automatic rotation of the display. Naturally the music player also offers step-by-step filtering of the tracks you want to hear. The D-pad is in charge of music controls and also brings up a list of all the tracks in the current playlist or album. As we already mentioned, the keys on the side of W902 are a nice set of alternative music controls.

The "Now playing" screen is simple but offers all the needed controls and information. The D-pad offers playback controls with their functions shown at the bottom of the screen. Above them is information on the current track such as album art, song duration, track name, performer and album.

Instead of album art, you can opt for visualizations but since they occupy the same small space as the album art you're not to expect a grand light show.

The animations on the home screen during playback make up for that though. They depend on the currently selected Flash Lite theme.

When you minimize the music player, the currently playing track, album and artist get displayed on the home screen with some nice graphics that perfectly blend with the screen if a Flash Lite theme is used.

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Now playing screen homescreen dances to the music

Equalizers appear as fullscreen graphics on the Sony Ericsson W902. You can also create a custom equalizer if the presets don't do the trick.

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The standard equalizer presets making a custom preset

Another highly promoted Walkman feature is Shake control. It allows you to change the currently running track and even shuffle your entire playlist by a simple flick of the hand.

All you need to do to use Shake control is press the Walkman key and shake the phone forward (for going one track forward) or backward (for going a track back). A quick succession of the two moves does the shuffle trick.

You can also turn the volume up and down by gently tilting the handset while you hold the Walkman key pressed. Again, these are nice little gimmicks but the Walkman location makes it rather uncomfortable.

The other high pitched Walkman goodie, SensMe, is a different approach to populating a playlist. Instead of choosing genre or performer, you are presented with a coordinate system. The vertical axis is the tempo - fast to slow, and the horizontal axis is the mood - sad to happy. Songs are shown as dots placed accordingly and you use a circle to select the one fitting your mood best. You can of course modify the radius of the circle and repeat this several times for a single playlist.

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The SensMe interface

As cool as that sounds it does have an inconvenience - the songs must be tagged by the Sony Ericsson Media Manager software. To do this you use the manager to transfer the songs with the SensMe analysis option enabled. Tagging songs by hand is not possible so you need to choose between analyzing the songs with the Media Manager, which takes a while, or do without SensMe until you have more time to transfer the songs properly.

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