Review: 18 hours of calls and music
Sample provided by: Multimedia shop, Vienna
Sony Ericsson is the only real competitor to Nokia. Motorola can bring out a nice device now and again and Samsung is still in the fight, but Sony Ericsson remains the top multimedia phone manufacturer. Multimedia brings sound, video and pictures together and this is exactly what the W880i is all about.
This is the thinnest Sony Ericsson mobile phone ever and it looks really cool. It uses a Sony M2 memory card, which is one of the smallest memory cards you can get. The One edition comes with a 1 GB card and in a retail store a 2 GB card costs about €40. 2 GB is a lot of music, but so far there are no 4GB cards available.
The first impression is that the phone is really thin and I believe that it is the thinnest phone I have ever had the chance to test. You need to open the phone to fit the SIM card and the battery. This is when you get disappointed, as your sexy phone has a plastic back cover. We expected magnesium alloy or something similar, but this is not too big of a deal.
The M2 card is inserted at the side of the handset and it can be removed while the phone is being used. The phone features USB connectivity via the Sony Ericsson data cable, so you will be able to easily transfer photos and music to and from the phone.
The Sony Ericsson W880i box includes
The W880i phone
Headset with a 3.5 mm headphone adapter
1GB Sony Memory Stick Micro M2 card
CD with a software
The phone weights a mere 73g and that is with the memory card istalled. The size of this candy bar phone is 103x47x9.4 mm (HxWxD).
The first thing you notice after having powered on the W880i is that the display is excellent. It is one of the best we've seen and the icons look great on it. Pictures also look great and we have no complaints about the display at all. The 262.144 colour, 240x320 Pixel resolution, 1.8 inch screen is utterly superb in every way.
The keyboard is the trouble spot. The metal keys are too small even for a ladies fingers and they are way too small for my fingers. The metal keys are definetley not comfortable for typing long messages. In SMS mode T9 is automatically enabled and on our test phone we could chose between German, English or Turkish T9. If you use any other language you will have to turn this option off.
Once you turn on the W880i it asks you if you want to enable flight mode or simply switch it on in phone mode. Once you've switched it on, you will be asked if you need a Wizard to help you out. The wizard helps you to set the time and date, as well as explaining to you how the W880i works. It will tell you what the back and C button are used for.
The 3D icons on the main menu are animated and they look quite cute. The menu is similar to that of previous models of Sony Ericsson phones and if you owned a SE phone, you'll get to grips with the W880i in no time at all.
The phone is all about the Walkman and Photo capabilities. The Walkman part is impressive. One to two GB of music should be enough for your daily usage and it is very easy to navigate the music, pause or play the tracks. The built in speaker is not that great as it is missing a lot of bass, but it will be enough for the beach. If you want to listen music we would advise you stick to the headphones or connect some external speakers.
The left hand side hides a Walkman button and you will start a music player by firmly pressing this side button. The headset bundled with the phone looks good and the media player is nice, very easy and does its job. The best part is you can play music for 17 – 18 hours. This is better than most of the MP3 players around.
The phone comes with a file transfer application and it is very easy to transfer the music or pictures from the computer to a phone and vice versa. The included USB cable takes care of the connection, but you can also use Bluetooth, but of course transfer via Bluetooth will be slower. We are impressed with the music part of the phone and it definitely beats the previous W800i model. It is almost three times thinner then the previous phone.
The sound quality on the phone is good and the network reception is good. We didn’t have a single issue with this phone while using it as a phone. The vibration is not that strong but it should be enough to feel it in your pocket. If you are lady and have this phone in your bag you can simply forget about hearing it vibrating. The ring tones are loud if you want them to be as this can be adjusted as well as many other features.
This brings us to the camera part. Sony Ericsson W880i has 2 Mega pixel camera with digital zoom. This will be enough for some great pictures but only at daylight. This phone is not equipped with any kind of flash and this will be bad if you want to take the pictures in the clubs or any pictures in the dark areas. There is a night mode on the phone but you have to be really still to make a good picture. This is a software feature and it doesn’t work that great.
We tried to take the pictures in the dark and it simply didn’t work well for us. The pictures are very dark or blurred, a very few of them are usable. In daylight you won't miss your camera as this phone will make some great pictures. The maximum picture size is 1632x1224 and you can also chose to take 1 Mega pixel camera mode and save some time. You can store hundreds of pictures on a 1GB card if it's not completly full of music, as the pictures are 400-500kb in size. This will be enough for anyone. You can send the pictures via MMS, blog your picture.
We were impressed with a small application called DJ Photo. The Photo DJ works great and you can change the contrast, add some simple effects such as negative, cartoon or a few other predefined effects. The surprising part is that this picture editing part works quite fast. The phone software can also remove the red eyes and you can play with the contrast or colours on the photos.
Video mode is usable but not great, again depends on the lightning. You will have to settle for 320x240 pixels resolution for a Video and it doesn’t looks that bad.
We have to mention a few more key. The task bar key can show you which application is running and you can shut it down from there. You also have some shortcut buttons and internet keys in this menu.
Internet options are cute but barely usable. The browser is good but the screen is too small for any serious use, but it will be good enough to check your emails via GRPS. This is really a nice touch. The Internet button will of course launch a browser and we were amazed to see that the phone supports RSS reader as well.
The left hand side has a walkman button that will start the music player while the right hand side has two key one to start a video or photo camera and on the top of the left end side you have a small zoom in and zoom out button for a digital zoom.
A big rounded navi key is placed above the keyboard, and you can use to navitage in menus, use the options, list the songs, skips, plays or stops the music. It looks like a small joystick with a ring on the outside with some extra options. It can't get easier than that.
The battery will last up to five days in normal use and this is a lot for such a thin phone. This doesn’t include a lot of MP3 usage. If you use the phone mainly for music and hardly any calls, you can squeeze out up to 17 hours of music listening. If you don’t use the phone options at all you can hit 18+ hours and that simply is a great score. It did much better than we expected.
This is a great music player and it has great battery life for a phone. The 2 Mega Pixel camera will be good enough for most, but you will certainly miss the flash. The big problem is the keypad as it is too small, the metal keys are very hard to press and it is not easy to type messages.
Maybe you will get use to it, as most new Sony Ericsson phones have a similar keypad. It's just not our thing. It's a great phone and if you can get over the keypad we can easily recommend it. If you want a great music player and a phone in once device, then this is the one for you. It will take some great pictures as well but only in the daylight.