Sony Ericsson roundup: W902, W595, W302 preview
Sony Ericsson W902 at a glance
Sony Ericsson W902 flaunts a 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and dedicated music controls. It has a 2.2" 262K-color QVGA screen and 25MB of built-in memory. The pre-bundled 8GB M2 memory card is a nice perk worth noting too.
Some of the other niceties include screen auto rotation thanks to the built-in accelerometer and image geotagging. Since it doesn't have a GPS receiver, the geotagging feature will rely on cell towers to estimate your location. Aiming to be one of Sony Ericsson's multimedia flagships, you can bet FM radio with RDS and stereo Bluetooth are also on board.
The 3G and HSDPA-enabled W902 will be available in Volcanic Black, Wine Red and Earth Green versions from Q4 of 2008.
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. We are however not so impressed with the design. No, there's nothing wrong with looks, but it's simply no different than most others 3-year old Walkmans. Frankly, we are getting tired of seeing the same designs reused over and over. However we bet Sony Ericsson W902 can still see appreciation among the conservative Walkman fans.
The music keys on the right of Sony Ericsson W902 should be one of the best things about its ergonomics. They allow quick control of the Walkman player without even having to open the application itself.
We did have some hard time getting used to them, as they are placed where your hand would normally rest when holding the phone. Accidental starts of the music player do tend to be rather annoying at first but after some time with the handset you get used to holding it without pressing those music keys.
The Walkman key is also aboard the Sony Ericsson W902. It is used for accessing the Walkman 3.0 application and for using the Shake control. This means that you can change tracks and even shuffle your whole playlist on the W902 by a simple flick of the hand while holding down the Walkman key.
A huge loudspeaker aperture is to be seen on the top of the front panel of the W902. The actual earpiece only takes less than a quarter of it. On either side are the video-call camera and the ambient light sensor.
Under them we find the 2.2" 262K-color display of QVGA resolution. The display of the W902 is really impressive. It has great contrast and really vibrant picture. The brightness levels are also good enough, to secure an excellent mark for the display picture quality indoors. We haven't yet got around to testing its sunlight legibility but we will as soon as possible as it's going to stay with us several more days.
The keypad of Sony Ericsson W902 is quite alright. The keys are well-sized with enough spacing between rows. We could have wished for a bit wider borders between keys on the same row. Anyway, with the more than adequate press feedback, we are willing to forgive that.
There are six control and navigation keys orbiting the D-pad. While we have little complaints about the D-pad, the Call and end keys are a bit too small for our liking, and so are the selection keys.
The control we probably like best on the W902 is the dedicated camera key. It is large enough and comfortable to press, a nice taster of the improved camera performance in the new Walkman.
The rear side of the handset features the 5 megapixel camera, the LED flash and the loudspeaker. A lanyard eyelet is also here. The worst part about the back panel is the Sony Ericsson logo. The thing is it sticks out a few millimeters causing the handset to wobble when rested on its back. In addition to the unpleasant feel, that also means that the logo will be the first thing to experience the everyday wear and tear.
Under the back panel is the M2 card slot and the BST-38 Li-Po battery with a capacity of 930 mAh. Quoted at the impressive 9 hours of talk time and 380 hours of stand-by the battery should be more than adequate for almost every user. Even intensive music playback, which a Walkman will sure get, should not be able to drain it too fast. Luckily the memory card slot is hot-swappable.
The general build quality of Sony Ericsson W902 is very good. We wouldn't want to rush to conclusions given the short time spent with it but the handset seems sturdy enough. The plastic casing might have made some use of a few metal ornaments here and there but that's a minor issue.
The only other thing we have to note is the slight creak the back-panel occasionally produces. It might as well be solved in the retail version.