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Sony Ericsson W980 Review

Sony Ericsson W980

Posted: , by Ray S.


Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Sony Ericsson W980 Review

We are sure that most of you have run hastily through the previous sections, eager to come to this one, and rightly so, because the heart of the W980 is right here.

The W980 uses the third and latest version of Walkman player and the interface does not differ much from the interface of the other W series phones. You can use vertical or horizontal view by just turning the phone to the desired position and the rest will be done by the accelerometer.

The equalizer has a fresh appearance, just like W902, and the factory settings are beautifully visualized resembling a slideshow of pictures.  Unfortunately, you can set only one at your choice.

Equalizer - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Equalizer - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Equalizer - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Equalizer - Sony Ericsson W980 Review


Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Sony Ericsson W980 Review

The Flash-animated Media menu we’ve found on previous models is available here too. It gives you fast access to: Photo, Music, Video, Games, Web feeds and Settings. In the Music submenu, you can sort the tracks by Artist, Albums, Tracks (list of all), Playlists, SenseMe, Genre, Year, Audio Books and 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  Sony Ericsson's 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.

SensME™ - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
SensME™ - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
SensME™ - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
SensME™ - Sony Ericsson W980 Review


FM Radio - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
FM Radio - Sony Ericsson W980 Review

FM Radio

You have at hand an FM radio with RDS, but to use it you will need the included earphones. They serve as antenna because it is not built in the phone as was shown initially at MWC 2008. It’s a pity, because the W980 would be the first Sony phone with such a function, but they have obviously decided to take away this title from it. The interface is very pleasant and easy to use. You can bookmark  up to 20 stations and name them.

Both the music player and the radio can be controlled by the touch-buttons on the front panel. Using the key for fast access to the music functions on the right, you can see the individual options in succession – 1) Music player, 2) FM radio and 3) date and time. With this menu you can easily choose what music to listen to without having to open the phone.

The quality of the music coming from the loudspeakers of the W890 is not what we expected from a high-quality music phone. Even the W200, which is the low-end offering in the series, performs better. The sound is heard clearly, but not loud enough and like with most phones, you will hardly hear the low frequencies. However, putting on the earpieces changes the situation completely because they block out background noise very well and the sound is clear, with impressive quality for a phone.

FM transmitter - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
FM transmitter - Sony Ericsson W980 Review

FM transmitter

The built-in FM transmitter provides fair sound quality and it can save you all right if, let’s say, the CD/DVD player in your car fails. It is not a bad idea for your phone and radio aerial to be directly visible since the emission power is limited. This is necessary because otherwise there will be interferences with the official radio stations operating at close frequencies. This function is even forbidden by law in some countries. You can check where it is permitted and where it is not on the Sony Ericcson’s site.

The phone handles H.264 and H.263 encoded videos well. The resolution we achieved the best results with mirrored that of the display, and there is no need for higher one. However, at a higher bitrate of 512 kbps the sound and picture do not coincide and get cut. Therefore, we recommend you to convert your files by the software available in the set, or compress in one of the two formats with a bitrate not higher than the above-mentioned.

Video playback - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Video playback - Sony Ericsson W980 Review

Video playback


As this is a music phone, we did not hold out high expectations for the 3.2 megapixel camera. SE made no bones about it either, and though the resolution may be on the high end, features like auto-focus and flash were left out. The interface is simple and convenient to use, with minimal standard options. It resembles the interface of the lower class Sony Ericsson phones, and you won’t find any drastic changes.

Camera interface - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Camera interface - Sony Ericsson W980 Review

Camera interface

The photo quality is relatively poor. The details rendering is low, but at least the colors are realistic. Unless you have the steady hands of a surgeon, the pictures have a tendency to end up blurry.  We don’t advise you to shoot in artificial light because the noise is too much and the colors are unrealistic.

Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Outdoor Samples - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Outdoor Samples - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Outdoor Samples - Sony Ericsson W980 Review

Outdoor Samples


Like with the previous Sony Ericsson phones, there are Photo, Music and Video DJ programs in the Entertainment menu, which are in fact simplified multimedia editors. Apart from them you will also find Games, Bluetooth remote control function, voice recorder and location services submenus. The latter contains Google Maps, My favorites menu, Status info (accessible only if an external GPS module is available), Log and Settings.

Video DJ - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Photo DJ - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
Music DJ - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
GPS - Sony Ericsson W980 Review
TrackID - Sony Ericsson W980 Review

Video DJ

Photo DJ

Music DJ



The TrackID function is accessible from the Entertainment menu and thanks to it, you won’t be wondering who is the artist of the song you are currently listening to.

The W980 has 8GB of internal memory, but unfortunately you cannot extend it due to the lack of a slot. Still the available memory allows for around1600 high-quality MP3 tracks,  enough for most people.

  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. NightBlade (unregistered)

I don't know why you gave this phone such a low score. A friend of mine has it and she's more than satisfied with it! She hasn't got any issues with the sound quality. Also, I can't believe you gave the design of the phone such a low score!!

posted on 19 Nov 2008, 13:50

2. JC (unregistered)

You guys are just now doing a review of this phone?!... haha... this came out like a long time ago FYI... a little late?...

posted on 19 Nov 2008, 16:54

3. (unregistered)

I think you must learn math and calculation

posted on 20 Nov 2008, 03:02

4. The Administrator (unregistered)

I don't understand either. This has been said by many as one of Sony Ericsson's best phones. Mobile-Review, generally critical with Sony Ericsson, has praised it on and on. GSMArena were left with "positive impressions." Something's definitely wrong here. I can understand the cons, where camera is not up to mark and there is no M2 slot, but awkward to handle? Other than the poor tactile feedback of the sidekeys, I don't see how it makes the phone awkward. And you even said it was convenient when closed. Looking at PAppeal, Christian Dior's ratings should be much higher. The phone's an incredible beauty, reminiscent of Japanese Flip Phone + Retro design.

posted on 20 Nov 2008, 05:14

5. d.r (unregistered)

I can't believe you gave the phone only 6 points for the design. It has a original design.

posted on 21 Nov 2008, 03:52

6. (unregistered)

I too find this review odd. You have given some really crap phones a higher score than 6 yet this phone not? Your site is usually right but this time I am afraid you are wrong.

posted on 22 Nov 2008, 03:32

7. (unregistered)

phone arena i think is bias between brands.. nokia are more praise worthy than sonyericson on thier reviews.

posted on 24 Nov 2008, 03:55

8. (unregistered)

This is total BS. If im not mistaken, this phone won best European music phone at the 2008 annual European Imaging and Sound Association awards... and to give it a 6 for sound quality???! I'll never rely on reviews from this website EVER.

posted on 24 Nov 2008, 07:05

9. EJC (unregistered)

Strange Review are you sure you were looking at the right phone????? Think this phone is awesome... waited for a long time for sony Ericsson/O2 to bring out such a slim flip phone like this Sound quality A1 Design A1 Why would you need extra memory when you are given 8gb ????

posted on 29 Nov 2008, 23:19

10. (unregistered)

this phone is hardly a looker... is kind of looks wierd.

posted on 03 Apr 2009, 21:53

11. bthaxor (unregistered)

100% biased review on this phone... TOTAL BULLSHITE I have had this phone for three months now: there is no better phone to me. 6 for design? I suggest you put some glasses on... Sound quality = 6 for a phone which has won multiple awards in that category? Who on Earth would need more than 8GB storage? Also, you can't exactly expect much from the camera of a multimedia-dedicated phone...

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 05:50

14. raghuvaran (unregistered)

i do support bthaxor bcz its an walkmen serious and how can thy blame it for camera!!!totally bull shitt!!!

posted on 18 Oct 2009, 14:09

12. nurshah (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Oct 2009)

when u hold W980 u will feel a cheap and fragile feeling , and got some software problems........the sound quality isnt great in stereo speakers but clear in ear pieces.....still i like the design.......if all u people want a phone for music then choose 5130,5800 or lg cookie

posted on 14 Sep 2010, 05:47

13. raghu varan (unregistered)

mobile is really amazing!!!!and why d hell this website rated 6 for music quality instead of giving 9 out of 10

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PhoneArena rating:
Display2.2 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (182 ppi) TFT
Camera3.2 megapixels
Size3.62 x 1.81 x 0.66 inches
(92 x 46 x 16.9 mm)
3.53 oz  (100 g)
Battery930 mAh, 9 hours talk time

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