The organizing functions here are the usual decent stuff. The calendar offers a monthly, weekly and daily view. There's only one type of entry: appointment. Each appointment can be assigned a subject, start time, end time, location, description, reminder at a preset time, as well as a daily, weekly or monthly repeat option. The week can be set to start on any day. The downer here is that custom sound alerts are impossible to set. The preinstalled reminder sounds are very short and dull.
A Tasks and a Notes function are also present in the organizer. Tasks can be set reminders but can't be assigned priority. You can also make and save notes. Both notes and tasks can be sent.
The alarm clock is quite elaborate. It is easy to set up to 5 alarms with independent repeat patterns. Additionally, each alarm can be assigned a description to be displayed at a selected time. When setting alarm signals you can opt between sound and radio. Under organizer you'll also find a stopwatch, timer and calculator.
The entertainment package is dominated by the Walkman® music player compatible with MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+ and WMA file formats. Tracks are filtered by artist or album. You can choose to list all tracks or create your own playlists. Loop and Shuffle modes are available, as well as a stereo enhancement and equalizer setting. The equalizer offers a Mega Bass function and manual settings. The music player has three color themes (skins): black, gray and orange.
Music can be enjoyed on the not so good loudspeaker, or - more advisable - on the headphones you get in the standard package. We've come across those standard inclusion headphones repeatedly. They perform admirably and offer replaceable rubber earbuds for enhanced listening experience. You can also use your own headset with the standard 3.5 mm audio jack. The A2DP-enabled Bluetooth makes wireless stereo headphones arguably the best option.
Entertainment is enhanced by an FM radio with RDS functionality. It will search automatically and store up to 20 radio stations in you area. The FM radio is only operable with the hands-free connected.
The video player works with 3GP and MP4 formats. The function is also available. A closer look at the TrackID application is available in our recent Sony Ericsson W660 review.
There are two preinstalled Java games: the Tetris-like Lumines Block Challenge and the Sims 2 strategy. Other available Java applications are MusicMate offering a metronome function and guitar and piano accords player and the Walk Around the World application, which measures the walking distance to some of the world's biggest cities . The Pocket Trainer application provides details of each training session. Now standard for many Sony Ericsson handsets, the MusicDJ, PhotoDJ and VideoDJ applications are also available. They let you compose and edit melodies to use as ringtones and edit pictures and video clips. Under Entertainment you'll also find the sound recorder.jBenchmark test results:
A key benefit of the Sony Ericsson W580 is the integrated fitness application. A motion sensor is used to calculate the number of steps and total distance covered walking or running. The user is required to enter personal data about height, weight, year of birth and gender to enjoy the full functionality of the fitness application. Further calibration of the phone is needed by setting units for distance, speed/pace and calories. Advanced calibration allows you to define measures of distance by walking a known distance. The step count is on by default unless you turn it off. A step count icon indicates it's active and the number of steps is visible on the stand-by display. The step count for a particular day is stored in the memory. The information provided by the application is approximate and should not be trusted unreservedly. Since we tested the step counter in the Sony Ericsson W710 review, we can pretty much rely on the application as a reference point.
Next to walking, there's a running function, which measures the distance, time and speed of a session. Among Java applications you'll find the Pocket Trainer, showing various details about training sessions. The Pocket Trainer also has a sporting quiz likely to be enjoyed by sport fans.
Don't get your hopes too high when it goes to data transfers. Next to the traditional - not to say outdated - GPRS, the W580 also features EDGE, both class 10. There's no UMTS support. Fast port and Bluetooth can be used for short distance data transfers. Once the phone's been connected to PC, you'll be prompted to choose between Phone mode and File Transfer. Thanks to the USB Mass Storage support no driver installation is necessary. In File Transfer mode however the phone is unusable and can't receive calls.
Web access is ensured through WAP and the NetFront browser. The latter is elaborate enough and offers a wide range of options, including landscape view of web pages. The impossibility to minimize it is the only shortfall of the browser we identified.
Synchronization of contacts and calendar with MS Outlook goes without saying. The needed software is available on the included CD. There is also a photo editing application, and the Disc2Phone computer software for transferring music from CDs or PC to your phone.
Sony Ericsson are trying to diversify their Walkman series in all price segments and form factors. The Sony Ericsson W580 joins the ranks as a mid-tier slider. With its design and compact size it's likely to inspire a predominantly young following. Users will appreciate the adequate 2 megapixel camera, quality display, elaborate music features and the fitness application. The lack of notification of missed events and the low-resolution video are the major disappointments. Light effects are not much of a boost either.
Sony Ericsson W580 will be in sale any moment now. The main competitor Nokia 5300 is also a music slider. Its 1.3 megapixel camera and 256MB memory card are not much of a brag, but the difference in price can be decisive.