If you have used a Sony Ericsson model in the past you will feel at home with this new Walkman phone. The menu has undergone no significant modifications. The device is controlled by 2 functional keys, plus the C (delete) key and the "back" key. Navigation is quite simple and we believe that it will take even absolute beginners a short while to master it.
If preinstalled graphic themes do not meet your requirements, you can create a theme of your own. Theme changing also modifies the icons in the main menu. Our favorite theme is the elegant golden-black Spinnin as it perfectly blends with the phone's exterior. The display goes out as soon as the keypad has been locked, but can be lit up by pressing a random key. This is the simplest way to check the current status of the phone. Sony Ericsson W660 responds to user commands immediately.
The phonebook fits a total of 1000 contacts with up to 2500 phone numbers. You can set the way contacts are organized: by first or last name. However, searching in both fields simultaneously is impossible and that is definitely a feature we miss.
The phonebook offers plenty of practical functions. You can back up all contacts on the memory card, which comes in handy should the device has to be left for repairs, for example. Contacts can be copied and moved from the SIM card to the phone memory and vice versa; they can be assigned shortcut keys for speed dialing, as well as organized in groups. Moreover, each contact can be assigned a special image and ringtone. You can also use ringtones stored on the memory card. As usual, Sony Ericsson offers exceptional ringing profiles, including a wide range of setting options; incoming calls can be filtered by manually created list of contacts or by way of contact groups. What else to ask for?
Unlike W610, Sony Ericsson W660 offers UMTS and video calls. The latter are executed as in any other 3G phone. The quality of the earphones enclosed in the retail package is surprisingly high. Sound is rich and natural. Ongoing calls can be recorded from the menu. Sony Ericsson W660 performs admirably even with third party wireless headsets.
No news in the text message department either. SMS are standard; smilies are fast to attach and T9 is very user-friendly. The MMS editor implemented in the phone deserves a compliment too. MMS are composed intuitively, sending and receiving go the good old way.
Sony Ericsson W660 has a good email client, even though it misses some important niceties. A spam filter, for example. The client sends out and receives attachments. When sending images, reducing image size prior to sending is an option you can choose. Regular mailbox checking is available too. E-mail addresses can be inserted straight from the phonebook, which in such cases only shows contacts with full email address. To sum up, the Sony Ericsson W660 is up to any user's daily needs as regards email and messaging.
As we've noticed in the last few years, Sony Ericsson tends to ignore EDGE not only in its standard models, but also in its upmarket business handsets like the new Sony Ericsson P1. W660 is no exception to the rule - it offers UMTS, but no EDGE. This is also the key difference between W660 and W610, which did not support UMTS, but had EDGE. Which technology to use is a matter of preference. The phone also has a slower GPRS Class 10 to offer. Mobile data transfers have been improved. You get a standard Internet browser including the option to resize pages to fit the display. The browser can work in landscape mode and has a RSS reader, but it is most suitable for browsing text and PDA versions of web pages. If you need to log on to more elaborate websites, we recommend you use the Java-based Opera Mini. RSS works smoothly and it also offers updates in pre-set intervals.
Totally music-centered, Walkman phones are known for paying little heed to camera and photography. In Sony Ericsson W660 that's even more obvious. The 2-megapixel camera lacks autofocus, making close-ups and text a tough job to shoot. There's no LED or xenon flash either.
Image quality could hardly be called impressive. Even pictures taken in very good light conditions come out of focus. Blurriness is unpleasantly intensified by the higher jpeg compression that is used. All photos published in this review were taken at the highest resolution and best quality level. Yet, we believe that photos would have come out much better if the compression wasn't so high.
At the same time the camera of Sony Ericsson W660 deserves a compliment for its rich setting options and extra functions. You get white balance, automatic insertion of data into the images, various effects, a self-release timer, etc. Images do not look burnt out; exposure is spot-on. Sony Ericsson W660 also shoots videos, although the resolution of 176 x 144 is not impressive by any means. All in all, the Walkman and Cybershot lines, still avoid crossing over their territories.
Sony Ericsson W660 handles Java applications well. All programs we tested ran fluently in mobile data transfers as well as Bluetooth communication protocols. One application that worked seamlessly on that phone was the great Handygeocaching, which simultaneously communicates with a GPS module and obtains data via mobile data transfers. Although Java applications' Bluetooth compatibility may seem natural, there are many, even recent, models that do not support it.
There are two preinstalled games in the phone: Snowboarding and Tower Bloxx. The first one is entertaining enough, while the latter will only keep you interested for a few minutes, before getting rather repetitive. Sony Ericsson W660 also has a video player supporting MP4 and 3GP formats. Images can be rotated and videos can be played in a landscape as well as in full-screen mode. Great, isn't it?
The PhotoDJ, VideoDJ, and MusicDJ applications are available too. They allow you to play with pictures, create slideshows and videos or mixing your own melodies, which is an activity far more interesting than any Java game.
Let's now have a look at the organizing functions. The calendar hasn't changed a jot and still occupies too much space on the display. There's also a monthly view, as well as short text descriptions of the events for the respective day. Events are not distinguished by type (meeting, memo, call, etc.) as they are in other phones. Instead they are only one type with enough room for custom settings. Both events and tasks can be sent via Bluetooth, email, as well as MMS and SMS.