A few months after launching its new W810 model, Sony Ericsson delivered it to our office. This black twin of the famous W800 model features EDGE and the main menu has undergone slight modifications. All other applications have remained untouched. The new W810 is much more about color emotions, sport spirit, and launching novelties at all costs.
It did not take much time. In January 2006 Sony Ericsson announced its new model W810. This black pearl comes to satisfy all customers, for whom the orange-beige Sony Ericsson W800 was just not what they wanted. There is just one crucial change, related to the connectivity features of the device. All the rest is more or less identical to W800.
Sony Ericsson has been ignoring EDGE for quite a long time. They explained the absence of this technology in its European product line with the fact that EDGE is not popular enough in Europe. What's more, many carriers do not even have EDGE support in their networks. It seems, however, that the voices of the SE fans have been finally heard, because, as you can see, Sony Ericsson has decided to change its market philosophy and has implemented EDGE into all its new models, incl. W810.
In the summer of 2005 I was really pleased with the lively colorful body of Sony Ericsson W800. So when I first saw the official photos of the planned W810 model, I did not like it much. Today I am holding this phone in my hands and I feel obliged to confess that there is something special in it. In reality it looks far better than on the pictures. In this sense, let me recommend you something right at the start of our review: if you are thinking of buying Sony Ericsson W810, but you still have some doubts, please, go to the nearest mobile store and hold it in your hands. I am sure that once you've touched the phone, you will start to think of it in a rather different and much more positive way.
Dimensions have remained almost unchanged. The new model is thinner by 1 mm. The camera lens mounted in the rear side of the body is not as bulgy as the one in W800. It is not protected by a sliding cover, though, which is quite a pity. Let's hope that outdoor dirt will not have any great impact on the picture quality.
|Sony Ericsson W800
|Sony Ericsson W810
|100 x 46 x 21 mm
|100 x 46 x 20 mm
The camera is accompanied by two LEDs, which also serve as a flashlight. The LEDs can be activated from both the camera application and the main menu. The LEDs can be set to emit constant light for one minute, or even send out SOS signals. They are quite powerful, being able to illuminate an entire living room.
The loudspeaker grill is located below the camera lens. Sound performance does not get worse when the phone lies on flat surface, because the speaker area on the back cover of the phone is slightly raised, preventing this way the speaker from getting muffled by the underlying surface. Self-portraits mirror is not silver as usual, but orange which is a really cool solution. The Walkman logo incrusted in the removable back cover is quite attractive.
Black design does not catch your eyes in the way W800 did. I myself perceive the new W810 as a sport model rather than a fashion freak. My impression is probably caused by the tiny orange and silver elements, incrusted in the body of the phone, I guess. The top edge of the device features the Infrared port and the main switch-off button. On the left side you will see the Sony Walkman logo, the Play/Pause button, and the memory card slot protected by a solid rubber cover. To take out the memory card you must open the protection cover and press on the tiny plate inside. It is a Memory Stick Pro Duo card with a capacity of 512 MB, which in the case of a music mobile like SE W810 is more meeting necessity than boasting spacious luxury. The memory card can be pulled out while the phone is on since it has hot swap functionality.
On the right side of the device you will find the volume control button and the camera release button. When you take pictures in the dark, the camera emits three blue-white signals to ease user's orientation. On the bottom part of the phone there are to be found the microphone and the Fast-Port connector.
Alphanumeric keys work seamlessly. Typing is a pleasure. Keys are distributed evenly and the spacing among them is pretty sufficient. There are no extravagant deflections or curves.
Greatest modifications are to be found in the design of the functional part of the keypad. The phone has no joystick. Instead, it features a four-way navigation key with confirming middle area. Each way of the navigation key as well as its central part is assigned a special function when the music player is running. Those special functions are even inscribed on the navigation key itself - there is the PLAY symbol, the FORWARD symbol, etc.
Context keys and the C correction key are located in two additional circles, which harmonize well with the main navigation key. On the edges of the phone you will also see a button providing direct access to the music player and a button for direct access to the Activity Menu. Phone's edges are bulgy and a bit elevated, while the above mentioned functional keys are located into their own grooves. When I saw the first official photos of Sony Ericsson W810, I did not have even the slightest idea that working with it would be so comfortable. I appreciate the decision of SE designers to create a separate access key both for music player and the Activity Menu. Let me only remind you that in W800 only the player was assigned a special access button, while in K750 the privileged application was the Activity Menu.