Sony Ericsson roundup: W902, W595, W302 preview
User interface is great
A high-end phone, it is no wonder Sony Ericsson W902 has the most advanced version of the user interface of the house. The UI has the typical Sony Ericsson feature phone styling, and offers an extensive set of options and settings. They are also complimented with great speed, which even further improves user experience.
There are four options for the main menu layout of Sony Ericsson W902. In addition to the traditional 4 x 3 grid, the main menu now has a couple of alternative views: rotating and single icon.
The last option is to use the layout of the currently selected Flash Lite theme. In fact, the support of Flash Lite themes is the thing that lets you customize the interface of your W902 beyond recognition.
Sony Ericsson W902 also features the three soft key layout and the well-known Activity menu, which is a really handy, especially for a feature phone. It offers quick access to a number of selected functions and even multi-tasking to some extent.
As most previous models, Sony Ericsson W902 comes with a dedicated Flight mode. It switches all transceivers off but, unluckily, requires a reboot. The other problem with the flight mode is that it can only work with a SIM card inserted, which we find outdated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The other high pitched Walkman goodie, SensMe, is a nice alternative for browsing your music collection. It gives you the opportunity to search tracks that match a certain mood instead of a specific artist, album or genre.
On the negative side, setting up the mood of any given track manually is impossible. This means that if you simply copy a bunch of tracks to your Sony Ericsson W902 they won't be available for the SenseMe feature. In order to make the SensMe work, you need to upload your music to the phone via the Sony Ericsson Media Manager software for PC with the SensMe Analysis option enabled.
Sony Ericsson W902 also has an FM radio with RDS. It has memory for 20 stations and sports the TrackID music recognition service.
The Sony Ericsson W902 5 megapixel camera is the first of a kind in the Walkman family. Now, that means its place in the spotlight is guaranteed. It is also complimented with a LED flash. However, you shouldn't expect great night shots if your subjects are more than a meter away.
One of the best parts about the W902 camera is the user interface. It is using the same layout as its Cyber-shot siblings and we find this to be the most user-friendly interface existing in a phone. The camera settings use the tab layout with the available options appearing when the corresponding icon is selected.
Here are a few samples from the camera of the W902 for you to enjoy:
At this early stage, the Sony Ericsson W902 camera seems to produce nice results - accurate colors and white balance. The details level is high enough, but still all photos suffer from heavy purple fringing. Oversharpening is causing some damage too. We believe however this will be fixed in the retail version of the W902.
As far as video is concerned, the Sony Ericsson W902 can record QVGA resolution video at 30fps. While videos turn out smooth and nice looking, we cannot help to note that those video recording capabilities are well below the current high-end cameraphone range. VGA videos have four times the resolution and there are already non-smartphone devices that are capable of recording QVGA video at 120 fps (you didn’t hear us say LG, right?).
Sony Ericsson W902 preview conclusion
The Sony Ericsson W902 is a great overall performer with a reasonably good camera and a state-of-the-art multimedia menu. The Walkman 3.0 music player is hardly rivaled by any other company and as a whole the user interface of the Walkman leaves only positive impressions.
However the pricing and looks also take part here and, if the price tag isn't right, the Samsung U900 Soul might just turn out to be a more tempting offer with much sleeker looks. We are also yet to see how the camera of the retail version of the W902 will compare to the one of the Soul.
We're back after the jump with a bit of Sony Ericsson W595 previewing. We've got a sleek slider coming and we're itching to see how it fares.