Sony Ericsson W995 review: Ready, set, play
The connectivity options of W995 are full on. Quad-band GSM/HSCSD/GPRS/EDGE and 3G are all on board, so there is virtually no spot on earth where you will be unable to connect. In addition, you've got the fastest data transfer around provided that a HSDPA-enabled network is available.
By the way if you are interested where you can find UMTS 2100Mhz or you are not sure whether it's supported in your country, you should check out our Worldwide Network Bands distribution database.
Besides the network-based connectivity, Sony Ericsson W995 offers the usual Bluetooth v2.0 and USB options. There is also support for the A2DP profile which allows you to listen to music on a stereo Bluetooth headset. The other major connectivity feature is the built-in Wi-Fi with DLNA support, and GPS with A-GPS support rounds out the list. Last, but not least, there is also the M2 card slot, which is often one of the quickest ways of transferring data to and from the phone.
Apart from its imaging prowess, the W995 is notable for having Wi-Fi among its connectivity options.
It's integrated rather well in the user interface and is quite user-friendly. Once you turn Wi-Fi on, you get a list of the available wireless hot spots and connecting is a matter of single click. It is also available via "My shortcuts" in case you don't want to go hunting for it in the menus.
The web browser and all other data traffic is re-routed through the Wi-Fi connection by default. If your Wi-Fi connection is lost, the browser automatically starts to use GPRS or higher speed network connections when available. And you don't have to guess whether Wi-Fi is enabled or not as there is an icon on the top status bar.
Auto connect, Wi-Fi networks priority, and assigning a favorite network are among some of the very practical features in the Wi-Fi interface. Additional settings allow you to search networks by their SSID, check your connection status or MAC address (you cannot change that).
MediaGo multimedia manager
The Sony Ericsson W995 is the first phone to ship with the recently announced MediaGo media sync manager. It's a computer-based software that you use for transferring your music, videos, games, podcasts or playlists to your Sony Ericsson phone. MediaGo allows for automatic syncing of your multimedia collection, as well as easy Music CD ripping and PlayNow store integration.
One of its key features is that it can transcode all multimedia on-the-go so that it can run on the mobile phone trouble-free.
In way MediaGo is just like iTunes for Apple products - you can manage your multimedia library with it, you can transfer content to your phone and even convert it to a suitable format seamlessly and finally, and finally, it has an integrated store for purchasing music, videos, games and ringtones.
MediaGo will launch with the Sony Ericsson W995 release and will be available in 15 languages. We're testing the W995 before its official launch, so we couldn't try the MediaGo as it is still not ready.
Sony Ericsson also announced that they are planning to hit video playback from all sides by not only focusing W995 on video, but also by providing an unlimited movie download service via PlayNow Arena - at a certain monthly subscription, of course.
As we got a beta version of Media Go shortly after W995, we managed to pull off a dedicated article on what the application CAN and CANNOT do for you and your Sony Ericsson handset. Feel free to check it out too.
Browsing is sweet
The Sony Ericsson W995 has an Access NetFront browser v3.4 featuring the extended custom home screen, also available in many previous Sony Ericsson handsets (like W902, W595, C905, G705 and T700, which we recently reviewed).
Elaborate web pages are rendered well and there are lots of configurable settings too. The dedicated full screen mode is replaced by the auto-rotate feature, which actually opens it in full-screen landscape mode and looks great on the big screen. View modes include Text only, Pan and Zoom, and Zoom page. The Panning/scrolling speed is up to standard.
The Sony Ericsson W995 web browser offers a virtual mouse pointer, which is a real pleasure to work with.
Another interesting and practical feature is the "Find on page" option. It searches the loaded web page and the first match is immediately listed as soon as you type a letter.
If are still not satisfied with this browser, you can always count on the superb Opera Mini as a suitable replacement.
Tasks & more
The Sony Ericsson W995 offers a wide range of time-management features. There is an Organizer icon in the main menu and it contains several applications: File manager, Alarms, Video call, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Synchronization, Timer, Stopwatch, Light, Calculator, and Code memo.
The Calendar offers monthly and weekly views. When you add a birth date in the phonebook, the phone prompts you to add it to the calendar. Tasks can be of two types: simple Tasks and Phone calls. Notes are written similar to messages and the T9 dictionary can be used here as well.
Alarms are part of the main menu and there are five alarm slots available. Each one offers a lot of options - you can choose to repeat the alarm every day or on chosen days of the week. Text and a picture can be added to the alarm. Furthermore, the alarm behavior can be defined in case the time it is due to go off comes while the phone is in silent mode.
The Voice recorder has no limit to recording length, making the free memory available the only restriction. The Calculator is the regular Sony Ericsson one. The stopwatch and countdown timer are also the familiar basic applications.
Some other applications include MusicDJ and VideoDJ. VideoDJ is for making your own video clips by mixing already existing ones with still pictures, text and a variety of effects or for making basic cuts using special transitions and adding background music. MusicDJ is a very simple application for creating custom polyphonic melodies.
The LED light on the back of the phone can also be used as a torch thanks to the Light application. The LED can be on continually or for a period of one minute only and it can also blink out an SOS signal.