Being a Walkman phone, the main purpose of the W890 is, to play music. No wonder why the manufacturer has focused on that. The phone uses Walkman 3.0, which is the upgrade from the 2.0 version. The interface is not any different from the one seen in the rest of the phones using the same version. In the upper part of the screen, we have the visualization and the set option, and in the bottom, we can see the now playing track info, accompanied by the indicator for the D-pad functions. You can also use landscape mode, but due to the lack of an auto-rotation sensor, you will have to adjust it manually from the settings menu.

The good thing is that you are able to minimize the player to the background and use the other functions of the phone, while listening to your favorite tunes. Just like the rest of the models from the W-series, the W890 lets you change the songs (the player has to be open, but can be minimized) by pressing and holding the volume buttons (up = next, down=previous). The ShakeMe option, seen in the W910 and even the W580, which is a mid-level device, is not present here. According to information, supplied by the manufacturer, the Walkman player supports the following file formats: MP3, MP4, M4A, 3GP, AMR, AAC, AAC+, еAAC, WAV, WMA, Real Audio 8.

In the Music menu, you can sort the tracks by Artist, Albums, Tracks (list of all), Playlists, SenseMe, Genre, Year, Audio Books and Podcasts. You can create or edit playlists directly on the phone, and you have two by default – Most played and Not played. SenseMe will organize the songs by mood, which the computer software, coming with the phone, inputs. Here is the Sony Ericsson description: “When music on your PC or on a CD is imported into Media Manager, it will use SenseMe™ technology to incorporate mood analysis into the track details. So, when you transfer that music onto your phone, each song contains information on the mood of the track, which can then be used with the SensMe™ feature.”

W890 has a built-in FM stereo radio, but for it to be operational, you have to use the headphones as an antenna. The radio supports RDS, so text information from the stations will be streamed. Total of 20 stations can be saved and names can be added to be easier to distinguish. Unfortunately, even if the station broadcasts its name through RDS, the phone won’t add it automatically. An option allows you to scan the whole range and add all (up to 20) stations found. TrackID is supported here and is represented as an option in the Entertainment menu, so if you want to get information on the song currently playing, just start this feature and it will sample the music, connect to a server (online) and give you information on the artist and track name. As in our previous test, the current ones showed excellent accuracy of the program.

The W890 speakers produce a high-quality sound. It is clear and loud, but as in most phones, the lows are kinda hard to make out. Once you put the headphones though, this changes for the better, since the environmental noises are insolated and the sound is clear, with quality impressive for a phone.

A new and cool feature is the keyboard light, corresponding to the music playing.

The video player performed very well playing the H.263 encoded video files and we also tested the H.264 format. The maximum resolution, which we managed to achieve, was QVGA (320x240), exactly like the one of the display, but either, the sound did not correspond to the picture or there were many frames skipped. That’s why we recommend converting your files, by using the software included in the set or compressing them to MPEG4 with AAC audio codec format, if you want to have a better quality.

Another new and cool thing is the Media menu, which can be accessed from the main menu or by choosing the back button, while during music playback in the Walkman player. This media menu houses Photo, Music, Video and Settings and has flash interface, which is different than the other submenus, but changes (its background) when the theme is changed.

In the Photo menu, you will find the latest pictures taken with the phone, camera album sorting the captured pictures by months. You preview their thumbnails in flash interface and can start a slideshow with music, choosing from Silent, Sad, Romantic, Happy, and Energy mood. The feature is called x-Pict Story. You can put tags to the photos, like Favorites for example, so they will be more organized. Tags can also be added, choosing a name and a small icon.


The W890’s camera is 3.2MP, but unfortunately, it does not have an autofocus or a flash. The interface is the same as seen in the W910. It starts in landscape mode, for approximately 3 seconds after pressing the camera shortcut button and uses the entire display as a viewfinder. The left software key opens the options menu, where you can set the mode (normal, panorama, frames, burst), resolution, and other settings like night mode, self timer, white balance, etc.

The detail is low for a 3.2-megapixel camera, but the colors are real and well saturated. The lack of autofocus influences the quality of the pictures and sometimes they are pretty blurry. We made a few attempts to take a picture in a dark environment without using the night mode, but were terrified by the heavy noise. We do not recommend snapping pictures in full darkness, because nothing will come out, since there is no flash.

The camera records MP4 videos with QVGA resolution and 30 fps, which is way better than 3GP. The quality was not impressive, because the details are blurry and ugly.


As seen in the previous phones by Sony Ericsson, the Entertainment menu holds the Photo, Music and Video DJ applications, which are simple multimedia editors. Here you will also find Games, the Bluetooth remote control function and the Dictaphone. The innovation here is the presence of the Location services submenu, which includes the Google Maps application, My favourites menu, Status info (accessible only if an external GPS module is present), Log and Settings. All these options demonstrate that W890 can be used for navigation, which is very good. Just imagine yourself, listening to music and finding your way through the “jungle” of the city. Do not forget that you’ll still need an external GPS module for navigation.

There are three games that come with the phone – Lumines Block Challenge, Sims 2 and Tennis Multiplay. The second one is the best, famous with its unique gameplay. In the Sims 2 you control the life of a sim, which has a name, sex and zodiac sign of your choice. In the mobile version of the game, the names are actually preset, but you can still decide on the career and partner your sim has. Even gay marriages are not taboo!

We should not forget the TrackID application, which is supported here and can be found as an option in the Entertainment menu, so if you want to get information on the song currently playing, just start this feature and it will sample the music, connect to a server (online) and give you information on the artist and track name. As in our previous test, the current ones showed excellent accuracy of the program. Within approximately 20 seconds (including recording, sending, and analysis), the program achieves very good results. It is rare to see a screen message that Track ID has not found any results for your music.

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