These days, almost every other mobile phone that you come across has MP3 playback support. This is barely a surprise feature addition given the pervasiveness of digital audio. But while a handful of manufacturers are finally paying more attention to MP3 playback support rather than including it as an afterthought to attract consumers, most are still slow to capitalize on the growing multimedia demand as the stimulus for the design and marketing of their handsets. Sony Ericsson on the other hand, has been racing steadily ahead of the pack with its W800i and W550i Walkman phones. Today, the company is back in the limelight again via the W900i, the world's first 3G-enabled Walkman phone.
An Easy Phone
Like its two predecessors, the Sony Ericsson W900i seeks to leverage, again the Walkman appeal to woo consumers. That means the same pleasant Walkman media interface has also been brought over to the W900i. Though there are no significant changes made, the overall response of the entire phone and the Walkman interface just did not feel nearly as sharp or instant as the W800i and W550i counterparts. Frequent intermittent stutters were experienced when going through the menu subsystem of the phone and was most noticeable when the Walkman interface was running in the background. Other than this niggling software disorder, the W900i was just as easy a mobile phone to live with as its 2.5G siblings. All the menu controls, multimedia controls and messaging engine are exactly what you would expect from Sony Ericsson - straightforward, well organized and easy to master.
Not A Very Loud Jukebox
Loudness of the W900i in jukebox mode differs from the W550i and even the W800i for that matter.
While the W550i is a crowd pleaser even at high volume, the W900i is less exciting and is the result of it having one less speaker with a lower power rating. The latter is most audible in the form of crackles when the volume of the W900i is maxed out. In terms of audio quality, it is also not clear as the W550i. Naturally, volume of the audio alert is also softer, although we did not find much difference in the strength of its vibration alert and earphone audio quality when compared to the W550i.
Super Imaging and Video Performance
What's impressive about the W900i are its imaging and video performance. Somehow, Sony Ericsson has managed to extract and optimize the most out of the 2.0-megapixel image sensor on the W900i to produce quality stills that appeared as if they had originated from a standalone digital camera. Video playback quality and performance was unlike any other camera phone we have ever come across. Not only was the playback incredibly smooth, but adequate amount of detail was also captured. Even more amazing was the fine balance it was able to strike for scenes with high contrast levels to capture videos with adequate exposure.
The shocker then is the price, and at USD$660, the somewhat chunky W900i is only available to those with extra cash to splash. Then again, considering it has a whopping 470MB of internal memory for anywhere between 120 to 240 songs and a Memory Stick PRO Duo slot to further expand its storage capacity, the W900i is seriously one mean convergent product to satisfactorily replace your MP3 player and PMP device while arming you to the teeth with the latest in consumer communication technologies. On that basis, the latest Sony Ericsson W900i is actually not priced exorbitantly at all.