Sony Ericsson W980 Preview

Sony Ericsson W980 Preview
This is an unlocked GSM phone which can operate in the
US on AT&T (without 3G) and T-Mobile (without 3G).

At the MWC 2008, Sony Ericsson introduced some new models, including the W980, which is a representative of the high-class in the music series. It is one of the few clamshells in it and is the first one of the manufacturer, featuring a built-in FM broadcaster. On top of that, it is equipped with 8 GB of internal memory, as the smartphone W960. In addition, the new entry has an accelerometer, which automatically turns the display for you.

Currently, all versions (globally) of the phone are prototypes and that’s why we are previewing it instead of giving you an in depth review. For our full detailed testing, we always use only final versions of the product, to make sure the results are impartial.


The first impression is that the design is not the typical for Sony Ericsson. The phone looks old-fashioned and definitely different from all the rest. In the middle of the front, we have the external TFT display. That’s where the audio menu is visualized. It is controlled by the special button, located on the right side of the device.

Below the display, there are three touch sensitive buttons. They create the illusion that they have a relief, but actually, only the middle one is concave. In combination with the audio menu, controlling the music functions when the clamshell is closed, is relatively easy.

The lowest part of this side is a transparent strip. Behind it, you can see the Walkman logo, and when the music is playing, it blinks illuminated in orange.

On the right side, we have the volume rocker, the audio menu dedicated button, the slider for locking the touch keys, and one of the speakers. The other one is located on the opposite side, and over it, there is an indicator for the charger/PC connector, accompanied by the strap hole.

Once the phone is open, in the upper part we see the 2.2” TFT display. It has a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, and it supports 262k colors. The navigational buttons and the keyboard are below it. The first ones resemble the shape of the external touch keys.

The buttons of the keyboard are also round, fitting the design of the rest. However, we think that they give the phone a kind of retro spirit since they remind us of a rotary phone.


Sony Ericsson W980 uses the latest version of the software we know from such models as K850, W910 and W890. However, there are a few innovations here, which give the interface the fresher look. Since this is a preview, we will not discuss all the functions, and will mention only the most interesting ones.

Nothing will surprise you on the homescreen, if you’ve previously worked with this interface. At first, you’ll feel this way about the main menu as well, but then you’ll notice that its appearance can be modified, not depending on the theme. Aside from the standard grid, there are two variants:

- Rotating – the icons appear as a film;
- Single icon – the icons appear one by one on the entire screen in a vertical sequence and there is a progression bar on the right side of the display.


The Media menu, containing Photo, Music, Video and Settings, has the flash interface we already know. The new thing here, is that it also gives you access to Web Feeds, unlike W890 – from messages.

The Walkman player is the latest third version as well. You can switch between portrait or landscape view, by only turning the phone in the direction desired, and the accelerometer will take care of the rest. Thanks to it, you have the ShakeMe function. Holding the “Walkman” button and shaking the phone, you can switch the tracks playing.

Interestingly, even though it is version 3.0, same as in W890, there is a slight change in the interface. It fits the image of the equalizer, which now visualizes the factory presets in a very attractive manner, resembling a picture slideshow. Unfortunately, you can add only one personalized preset.

The new entry offers a built-in FM radio with RDS, but we were disappointed that it cannot be used without the earphones as previously announced. Its interface is simple and very easy to use.

The built-in FM Transmitter got us most exited, because that’s the first Sony Ericsson phone to offer such a function. It works very good and can be very useful if you want to share your music, by only using an FM tuner, nowadays, present almost everywhere we go.

Expect our full review when final, commercial samples are released.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless