Sony Ericsson W890i

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Sony Ericsson W890i
  • Sony Ericsson W890i
  • Sony Ericsson W890i
  • Sony Ericsson W890i

Pros

  • Build quality, superb design, HSDPA-capable, 2GB Memory Stick Micro (M2), A2DP Bluetooth, TrackID, SensME

Cons

  • 3.2-megapixel camera lacks flash and autofocus

Bottom Line

A stylish, classy exterior with excellent build quality, just 10mm thin and boasting an superior keypad and controls despite its compact size. Add HSDPA support and an excellent user interface to the mix and the W890i is almost perfect.

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A slight upgrade to the popular W880i, Sony Ericsson's latest Walkman phone corrects some of the issues of its excellent, but not perfect predecessor. The W890i adds HSDPA connectivity, the company's refreshing new multimedia interface, and also includes an upgraded 3.2-megapixel camera.

Thankfully, the W890i remains one of the slimmest phones on the market. At 10mm thin, it's slightly thicker than its predecessor's 9.4mm frame, but the difference is barely noticeable. Aesthetically, the brushed steel finish gives a feel of excellent build quality, sophistication and class – this handset is a real head turner.

A noteworthy improvement over the previous model is the keypad and controls. They are now slightly larger, raised and better shaped, resulting in a far more positive user experience. Sony Ericsson has also added answer and end call keys, in addition to the five-way navigational pad (with Walkman controls), two selection buttons, back and clear keys and dedicated Internet and shortcut keys. The keypad has benefited the most with the upgrade, with the curved, well spaced keys a joy to type long-winded messages on. Further, a soft, white backlight means using the handset in the dark won't be an issue.

The W890i includes the latest Walkman software, integrated closely with all the multimedia options, now adding an FM radio. In terms of audio quality, the W890i is on par with previous Walkman handsets. The included earphones produced a crisp and warm sound with decent bass and they include an adapter that allows a standard 3.5mm pair of headphones to be used. You can tailor your audio using the five band equaliser or the four presets including Sony's proprietary Mega Bass.

SensME technology allows you to create a playlist based on mood and tempo. Tracks are plotted on a visual graph and matched to sad and happy emotions and fast and slow tempos. You can then create playlists based on these choices, though to use these functions you'll have to upload your music using the included Walkman software.

Sony Ericsson's excellent TrackID feature is again present. This allows you to record a few seconds of any song through the external microphone. The recording is then sent to a music database and if the song is recognised, the title, album and artist name are sent to you. The W890i also features A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) which enables you to wirelessly stream your music to a compatible pair of Bluetooth headphones.

The W890i is HSDPA capable, and also supports GSM 850/900/1800/1900, EDGE, and UMTS 2100. Voice calls are crisp and clear and volume is quite loud at its highest setting. 26MB of internal memory is standard, but the big drawcard is the included 2GB Memory Stick Micro (M2). You'll have to remove the battery cover to access it, but 2GB of storage is an excellent deal.

Being a 3G phone, the W890i has dual cameras – a 3.2-megapixel camera on the rear for photographs and a VGA camera on the front for video calling. Disappointingly, the main camera doesn't include auto focus or a flash, so it's strange that Sony Ericsson bothered to upgrade it. Regardless, the camera should keep users happy for the odd happy snap.

Other features include a video player and games, as well as some of Sony Ericsson's proprietary applications such as VideoDJ, PhotoDJ and Music DJ. There's remote control and sound recording functions, Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0 connectivity and blogging. The W890i also includes a host of organiser features – calendar, tasks, notes, alarms, calculator, synchronisation, timer and stopwatch amongst them.

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