Sony Ericsson W810 Review
The interface is kept the same as the previous models. The main menu is in a grid format with 3x4 icons, such as for each one there is a shortcut key from the keypad (1 for the upper left, 2 for the upper middle, etc.). The sub-menus are shown in a list format, having different tabs, which can be changed with the left-right buttons. There as well can be used digit-key shortcuts, but the rows are not numbered and that is uncomfortable. For a background image of the home screen can be used animations, which move the screen around even in a stand by regime.
By default is loaded the Walkman style orange theme, but there are a few more available. The new with the themes is that besides the background in the different menus, they can change the icons as well. The pre-loaded Emerge and Orbit do that, being variations of one another in grey and black. On movement in the main menu with Emerge there is a trail left, and with Orbit there is a light following the cursor. With both themes the color of these additional graphics changes on a second entry in the menu. The other interesting thing about the new themes is that you have the option of personalizing the menu grid in a different style that the regular 3x4 icons an example for that is the Equalizer theme, which changes the menu entirely, making it a list, which can be scrolled from left to right (and the other way) with large animated icons for the different menus.
The phone book is the same like the previous models. It can store up to 1000 contacts, such as every one of them can have up to 5 numbers, 3 emails and 1 web address. The additional fields are full postal address, job title and an info field for additional notes, as well as a birthday field, which can add a notification in the calendar for the selected date to remind you for that. For each contact a personal melody can be added and a picture to be used as a notification on an incoming call. It is uncomfortable that the pictures are not shown in the contact list the way phones like Motorola do it.
Unlike the previous versions, when one voice dial tag was recorded and the phone asked which type of number to dial (mobile, home, etc.), now the adding of a voice tag is done for each number separately, such as on adding it shows the type of number to attach the command to. The only commands that the phone supports are for incoming calls you can either answer or reject the call with busy. The recording of the voice tags needs to be done in a quiet room, or the phone will tell you that it is too noisy. The results of the tests we did are not optimistic in any way we recorder voice tags for 7 of the contacts. From 14 attempts to voice dial, which were carried on in a quiet room, 6 were successful and 8 were unsuccessful, which is only 40% success rate. The only other option for voice dialing is Magic Word, which allows you when using a corded headset to select one word which when spoken turns the voice dialing automatically on. Overall the voice dialing has very limited options in regards to other brands of phones which have features like speaker-independent dialing, speech to text, text to speech, extended voice commands and digit dialing.
So, if you have 5 numbers for 1 contact, you will have to add 5 voice tags. Speed dialing can be set for 9 numbers, which must be already added to the phonebook. To speed dial in standby regime you will need to press the speed dialing number and then the green headphone. If held the phone automatically brings you to the selected letter in the phonebook. The searching of the contact list is done the same way, such as you cannot search for a word after the first one by second name for example. The groups are used to send messages to many people at once and cannot have common pictures or melodies.
Synchronising is the method you'd need to use if transferring contacts from outlook or another mobile phone/PDA that doesn't support sending/receiving all contacts by bluetooth. Synchronising we found more of a task as the field formats used on SE phones are different to other manufacturers and even Microsoft outlook. This means that if you have numbers in some fields that the W810 does not recognise, they will not be copied. It took me about us hour transferring contacts from a Nokia 6230i to the W810 after synchronising the two with outlook, as we had to go through each contact and manually edit all the excluded numbers. Not a great experience.
You can copy all numbers from your sim to phone or vice-versa as long as you have sufficient memory in either direction of your chosen destination. You can also assign nine speed dials excluding voicemail in your phonebook.
The W810i has only 1 alarm, which cannot be set for every day automatically or just for selected days, which is quite simple and relatively uncomfortable.
The calendar can be looked at for the entire month or for a week. The days that have set appointments are bolded, and the adding of new appointments is done by selecting a certain day and saving the time, duration, subject, location and reminder.
In Tasks can be added additional, different from the ones in the calendar, having a time setting as well. Short (and not such) notes can be added in Notes.
The calculator does simple calculations, but the interface is not very comfortable, since the actions are performed by moving left-right and confirming with the d-pad. The other standard options are Stopwatch and Timer. The first one can record up to 9 timings (laps) and the Timer is set for backward counting with an alarm for the notification.
Light uses the flash-light of the camera for a pointed light, and it can be set for different regimes of operation: On, Off, On for 1 minute & SOS such as the last one spells SOS in the Morse alphabet.
The phone has 20 MB of available memory, which can be increased using the port for Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, such as the pre-packaged one with 512 MB of memory. The port is located on the left side of the phone covered by a black plastic cover, to protect it. A hot-swipe for the cards is supported and it is not necessary to turn the phone off when replacing them.
The messages are the standard for the brand, such as the inbox holds both SMS and MMS. When typing a new message a template can be used and creating a new template is easy. A selection for either SMS or MMS is done, and in the case of MMS you can add pictures and sounds to the template as well. When adding large pictures the phone can decrease them so they can be sent. Both saved and just taken pictures can be used.
The entering of the text is done using T9, and working with it is fast, easy and comfortable. It supports different languages, and new words can be added to the dictionary.
The W810 can also send and receive emails as it has a POP3/IMAP4 client protocol. The set up of this is quite simple as long as you have your current settings from your ISP. You can add multiple attachment types. You can also customise most settings in this menu like receiving the header only or full message (header & text). There is also a check interval' feature which I find useful. When set, this will automatically poll for any new messages at a set interval ranging from 5 minutes right up to 12 hours. This, if set to a low interval time can add a lot of data charges to your bill, but with 512mb per month from our network provider, we allow it to poll for messages every hour and therefore have new emails delivered straight to us, quite similar to push email technology' - handy if you need to read emails throughout the day.
My Friends' is a new feature that works very similar to instant messaging. You can send real time' messages between fellow contacts that are currently online. We used this feature briefly using a msn account via GPRS. It worked fairly well and allowed us to change the online status that other contacts saw, as well as creating a chat group. Setup of this service is relatively simple as long as you have an existing instant messaging account.