Sony Ericsson W910 Preview

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

We have the unique chance to spend some time with Sony Ericsson W910 – the newest Walkman phone of the brand, announced just a week ago at Berlin, as the manufacturer’s “next big thing”. W910 moves the Walkman series to the next level, featuring slim and sexy slider design, new software tweaks, large display and functionality of a high-class device.

Keep in mind – this is a prototype, and there will probably be a lot of changes in the final version that will hit the markets in Q4 this year. We won’t do an in-depth review, just a preview due to the fact this is not a final product.

Design:

When we first saw the W910, we immediately took it for a slider-W880 – just like it, the new one is very slim (12.5mm/0.5”), has small keys, and aggressive but sexy look, thanks to the deep red color of the housing. Another version replaces the red with black, and looks calmer, but in our opinion less attractive.

You can carry the slim slider in a pocket with no worries, and you will appreciate the weight of 3 oz (86 grams). It also sits comfortably in the palm, and sliding it up to open is a real pleasure – the spring assisted mechanism is very strong and its only drawback is the sound it produces – a relatively loud bang, as the one of a Nokia E65.

The display is with size of 2.44 inches, has 262k colors and QVGA resolution. It is very bright unit, and put next to the 6120 classic, makes the latter look as a phone from a previous generation – it is darker and the colors are not that vivid, the images doesn’t look alive, as they on the W910. But this display also has drawbacks – the colors. In the Nokia display with 16 million colors we can see graceful transition from one hue to another; with the W910 we have choppy frames. That lack of colors can hardly be noted looking at normal images – as we’ve said, they look very well. The preloaded images with the phone make its display look superb! When we compare it to another Sony Ericsson display, the 2.1" unit of the W580, we see that the W910's one needs more contrast.

Right below is the keyboard, with the navigation keys on the upper slider and the 12 numeric buttons on the bottom one. All of them are in red color, merging with the look of the phone as a whole, but the silver directional pad, with the music functionality shown on it. The two soft keys are combined in common shape with respectively the answer/reject keys. They are very small, but are pressed softly and have good relief. If you have big fingers – it would be a problem, but otherwise, they work fine. Still, we don’t encourage making some of the most used keys that small.

Right below are the shortcut and clear keys, which are a step bigger.

The numeric keys on the bottom slider are totally flat but we may live with this, if they were not hard to press and lacking any tactile feedback. We hope those problems will be changed in the commercially available unit, but it is not sure.

The right side houses holes for a strap, volume rocker, slot for M2 card and the camera shutter key. On the left side, alone is the standard Sony Ericsson multi-purpose connector. We are not very happy with this, as some accessories designed for most phones of the brand won’t work, as it is with the W880.

Interesting solution is the battery cover, which has a Lock, in order to be stable. It is small and thin piece of plastic, but thanks to the locking mechanism it stays still, doesn’t wobble.

PhoneArena's Sony Ericsson W910 Video Review / Preview :



Interface:

The software of the W910 is from new generation, upgrading the one of previous Sony Ericsson non-smart phones. In the bottom line of the homescreen, you will note that in addition to the functions of the soft keys, the function of the central key of the d-pad is shown, but most of the time it is just “Select”. Otherwise, the homescreen is very similar to previous models, and its coolest option is the support of animated GIF files as background image.

The menu system is also like the one from previous models, displaying the menu as 3x4 grid of icons with vertical list for the sub-menus. By the way, as other Walkman phones, this one also features Flash themes for the main menu, which can change its icons and the way it visualizes – this is a proprietary feature for the Walkman phones, the other Sony Ericsson don’t support it.



The phonebook, organizer and the messaging menus haven’t changed. You will find the standard options here. Adding a new contact will show you the fields sorted in tabs, allowing you to store multiple numbers, address, personal image/ringtone (video) and birthday info. The organizer packs the old File Manager, alarms, calendar, tasks, notes, calculator, stopwatch and others. The messaging packs the text/multimedia messages, email client, RSS feeds, and My Friends for instant messaging.

This is Walkman phone, and the multimedia, especially the Music, is its main target. The W910 is the first phone with Walkman 3.0, which is the upgrade to the 2.0 version. We can’t say the interface during playback has changed much – it still shows visualization and the set option on the top, and the track information below, with indicator for the d-pad functionality. You can also use the player in landscape mode, and the cool feature is that you can turn auto-rotation option on, which will rotate the interface when you rotate the phone. Unfortunately, in our case this option didn’t work as this is an early prototype.

Other new and cool thing is the Media menu, which you can access from the main menu or by choosing back, while during music playback in the Walkman player. This media menu houses Photo, Music, Video and TV options and has flash interface, which is different than the other submenus but changes (its background) with the change of themes.

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

In the Music menu, you can sort the tracks by Artist, Albums, Tracks (list of all), Playlists, SenseMe, Year, Audio Books, Podcats. You can create and edit playlist 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 (it was not working on our prototype):
“When music on your PC or on a CD is imported into Media Manager, it will use SensMe™ 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. “
Another cool new thing which we unfortunately cannot test is the "Shake Me" which controls the music player (selects next/previous or random song) when you shake the device in your hand.

The phone also has built-in FM stereo radio. You should use the headphones as an antenna. The radio supports RDS, so text information from the stations will be streamed.

Although it is not targeted as an advanced cameraphone, the W910 features the new camera interface, which the K850 will also offer. This one is upgrade to the previous interface, found in K800/K810 Cybershot phones.

It starts for three seconds after the shortcut is pressed and uses the whole display as a viewfinder, in landscape mode. 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. Like the Cybershot phones, W910 has two keys above the display, which are shortcuts to night mode (on/off) and shoot mode.

The camcorder captures QVGA resolution video which is an upgrade, when compared to the QCIF of earlier phones. Still it is in only 15fps and the biggest drawback is the 3GP format, which leads to high compression and low quality.

Sony Ericsson W910 Interface Walk-through:



Using the d-pad directions you can move to the camcorder or the preview option. The camcorder has similar interface as the camera. In the preview you can move left / right to see the captured images but still return easily to the capturing interfaces.

We tested the sound quality to see how this prototype manages a call – the outgoing sound is excellent, very high volume, clear and realistic voice. The incoming one is way weaker – you don’t hear clearly, and the voices are muffled.

We like what we see of the W910 - it is sexy slider, and the Sony Ericsson user interface is finally updated. We will post in-depth review when final units appear, as this one is still an early prototype.

Don't forget to check our Gallery for a few more images.

Expect our full review when final, commercial samples are released.
Also check our previews of Sony Ericsson: W580, W660, S500


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