Price (RRP): $899
Manufacturer: Sony Ericsson
Author: Siddharth Raja
When you hear the word Walkman you immediately think of those chunky cassette tape players that were hugely popular during the ’80s. Sony Ericsson has dusted off the Walkman name and slapped it on its latest phone, the W810i. It doesn’t use anything as archaic as cassettes, instead relying on a Memory Stick to store music files for playback.
The W810i is an update to the older W800i, and it shows. Most of the features remain the same, but since it’s already an advanced phone, this doesn’t present any problems.
Inside the petite case, Sony Ericsson has managed to pack a two megapixel camera, fully functional MP3 player, FM radio, and even Bluetooth.
The camera is one of the most impressive pieces of the phone since it has auto-focus, effectively putting an end to blurry photos. Outdoors, you’d be hard pressed to tell the shot apart from a digital camera. The images themselves are large enough to have printed if you wish. For indoors, there’s an LED flash to provide light, but it’s not as effective as a flash you’d find in a traditional camera.
As a music device, the W810i hits almost all the right spots. You get a 512MB Memory Stick inside the box (good for 120 – 250 songs) and a set of headphones that double as the phone handsfree. You can also purchase larger Memory Sticks (up to 2GB in capacity) should you want to increase the length of your playlist. Loading music is as easy as connecting the phone to your computer using the supplied USB cable and transferring the music. The phone shows up as a hard drive and you simply copy the files over. You can also load music straight to the memory card if you have the appropriate reader. Once loaded, the music application inside the phone detects the new songs and youÂ¡Â¦re ready to jive away. If you’re traveling on a plane, you can even have the W810i turn off its phone functionality and act only as a music player.
Though smaller phones are easier to pocket, you usually pay for it in two areas, smaller keys and a smaller screen. Though the screen on the W810i is nice, it’s a fair bit smaller than competing phones. On high resolution images you’re often left squinting to make out the details.
Though the music functions inside the W810i are generally good, transferring music is a slow process. Filling the 512MB Memory Stick took almost 10 minutes, longer than most dedicated MP3 players. The other problem with the W810i is noise in the background of the music. It’s not evident with the supplied earphones but when you connect your own quality set of good-quality ‘cans’ it’s as clear as day.
Battery life is on the high side, lasting around four days with an hour of talk time each day. If you put the phone in music-only mode you can expect around 10 hours of playback.
Though Nokia phones are often considered the easiest to use, we think you’ll be impressed by the W810i’s menu system. It’s fast, slick, and very easy to navigate.
If you’re considering buying a MP3 player or simply looking to upgrade your phone, the W810i is worth a look. It’s got some great multimedia features but still remains small enough to fit your pocket.