Sony Ericsson W200i
- Walkman application, good sound quality, above average headphones, included 128MB M2 Memory Stick, push email
- No Bluetooth, Walkman software not the latest 2.0 version, low specification display, uncomfortable navigational stick, VGA camera
The W200i is a solid budget mobile phone, but the lack of Bluetooth may be enough for some to give it a miss.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Even as mobile phones converge and take on the functionality of an increasing manifest of devices, there is still a need for the basics and Sony Ericsson has come to the party with the release of their W200i. The W200i is a standard GSM handset, without the bells and whistles. Though it still offers the popular Walkman function, an FM radio and digital camera the lack of Bluetooth is a real negative.
The best feature of the W200i is the Walkman function, although it isn't the newer 2.0 version of this software. A press of the orange 'W' button on the left side of the phone takes you straight into the music application, which is both simple and effective in its design. The W200i includes menus for Now Playing, Artists, Tracks, Playlists and Videos. Any tracks loaded onto the device are automatically sorted into these folders, which makes searching for a specific file simple and easy. You can create playlists by searching through your files and marking which tracks you want to add to that particular list. Unfortunately the W200i doesn't allow users to rename music files from within the device. This has to be done using the PC Suite software (which doesn't support Mac).
You can also send files to another phone or computer directly from the Walkman application via email, infrared or as a picture message. The omission of Bluetooth is disappointing, despite this handset's low-end placement in the market so infrared and USB are the only connectivity options. The W200i also includes an FM radio with 10 presets and features RDS (Radio Data System) which displays station broadcast information. Sony Ericsson hasn't installed a 3.5mm headphone jack on the W200i, but they have boxed a headphone adapter with the unit that allows connection of any standard 3.5mm headphones. Like most Walkman phones, the sound quality of the W200i is pretty impressive and the included headphones are of a surprisingly good standard. Also included in the Walkman application is a five-channel equaliser that you can adjust manually, as well as four pre-sets including Sony's proprietary Mega Bass.
The W200i includes a digital VGA camera with 4x digital zoom, but naturally, the quality of VGA cameras means it's barely good enough for a few happy snaps. A more notable feature is push email, which is a welcome surprise on a handset with such a low RRP. In addition to push email, the W200i supports standard SMS and MMS messaging with T9 predictive text input. Other features include a loud and clear hands-free speakerphone, sound recorder and a host of personal information manager (PIM) features including an alarm clock, calculator, calendar, notes, stopwatch and a timer.
The W200i measures 101mm x 44mm x 18mm and weighs a very light 85g. The design is solid, if unspectacular and the unit is finished in a matte black plastic with orange trim, thanks to the Walkman branded design. The W200i is also available in "pulse white" on the Australian market. The biggest let down in design is the display, which has outdated specifications and lacks clarity and crispness. The smaller-sized 120 x 160 pixel resolution means the screen can't emit as bight an image as we would have liked. Thankfully, the keypad is comfortable and the raised keys are well spaced, so typing long messages or emails is a breeze. Controls are fairly standard, consisting of a five-way navigational joystick, two selection buttons, and dedicated keys for back and clear. The navigation stick is a hit and miss affair as it is too short and small and will cause discomfort for anyone with large fingers. A power button on the top of the handset and a volume control on the right side of the unit round out the controls.
Sony Ericsson rates the W200i battery life at up to seven hours of talk time and 300 hours standby time. We averaged two days of moderate use before we had to charge the phone, which is done via either the included USB cable or the AC adapter.
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