The lens of the 2 megapixel camera is at the back of the sliding part of the handset. With the phone closed it's protected from scratches and dirt. The surface at the back of the sliding section is orange, patterned with numerous circles of a slightly lighter shade.
The camera shoots in a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. Regretfully, it has no autofocus, nor flash. Pictures are taken with the handset held in portrait mode, part of the display serving as the viewfinder. The center of the navigation key is the capture button.
Colors come out well, but pictures suffer from a considerable loss of detail. Overall, the picture quality is a bit above average. Shooting close objects is problematic due to the lack of an autofocus.
Inside the camera menu you can select picture size, white balance, exposure compensation, picture quality, self-release timer, night mode, shutter sound, color effects, picture frames, and burst mode. There's a panorama shooting mode for combining three shots into one wide picture.
The 2.5x digital zoom is available only with picture size set to VGA resolution. Pictures are saved in the phone memory or on the memory card; they're easy to send via Bluetooth, email or MMS. Sending a picture to a blog and direct printing on a PictBridge compatible printer are other available options. The phone memory is about 12 MB. The supplied 512MB memory card can also be used as a storage.
The W580 also captures video in 3GP format; recording length is unlimited and depends on the available memory only. Unfortunately, the handset offers only the dismal resolution of 176 x 144 pixels. When shooting video, digital zoom and exposure compensation are enabled.
The picture gallery for viewing your shots is under File manager. Depending on the user preference, 4 or 9 pictures are displayed in thumbnail view, or a list of photos with details about the time they were taken. A handy option is the Timeline view allowing you to browse your pictures chronologically. User can opt for fullscreen view or use the slideshow function.
No novelties are to be expected in telephony. The phonebook capacity is 1000 contacts and up to 2500 phone numbers. Contacts can be assigned different details: up to five phone numbers, three emails, a web address, postal address, a note, birthday, ringtone, thumbnail or a video recording, which is played during an incoming call.
Contacts are listed by first or last name. Using phone memory or SIM is user-configurable. Displaying contacts from both memory locations simultaneously continues to be impossible. Contacts are gradual-typing searchable. The built-in handsfree, call recorder and voice dialing are sure to be appreciated. Sony Ericsson W580 is quad-band enabled (850/900/1800/1900 MHz). Calls can be accepted and ended by sliding the phone open and closed.
Ringing profiles let you set ringing volume and filter incoming calls. Choosing the incoming call and SMS alerts is traditionally outside the ringing profiles. Apart from the preinstalled 40-tone polyphonic ringtones, any MP3, WMA, AAC or AMR file can be set as an incoming call alert. The same applies to message alerts. Ringing profiles are quick to access and switched between using the On/Off button.
All-round messaging functionality is on hand: text and multimedia messages, an email client, RSS feed reader.
Text messages you compose or read display in 8 lines thanks to the ample display. Regretfully, the SMS editor gives no options regarding font size. The T9 dictionary is there too. Character counter displays only when you're 10 characters from the maximum character count. EMS support is also there, small images can be embedded in the text. All the user-available memory is at hand for storing received messages.
The MMS editor, as seen here, first appeared in the Sony Ericsson K800. Underneath the compose window there's a taskbar, which is used for inserting images, photos, videos or sounds. It also allows you to directly launch the camera or voice recorder. Inserted objects are viewed on the display, the MMS preview mode provides a very convenient control. Maximum MMS size is 300 KB.
The email client allows setting up several accounts, but sadly can't handle them simultaneously. Choice of email alerts, automatic mail check and downloading message headers only are all available for the user to set. No worries sending full-res photos as attachments or opting for the maximum attachment size.
RSS reader is also part of the Messages menu. There are several bookmarked channels, but the list is fully user-configurable. Getting them organized in groups is however impossible. Updates can be manual or automatic at a set time. Viewing feeds is quick and friendly, clicking on a message launches the internet browser.