By January 15, 2010

Sony Ericsson W995 Review

The W995 was released in May 2009 and is said to be the best Walkman phone yet. The multimedia features are supposed to be tough competition to other phones on the market .

I’ve always been a fan of Sony Ericsson mobile phones. Especially the Walkman range, as I use my phone to listen to music all the time.

Matt has sent me the W995 to have a look at so I hope I am as impressed with this handset as I have been with Sony Ericsson’s previous ones.

Sony Ericsson W995 Review The Sony Ericsson W995 Walkman phone

What’s in the Box?

  • Sony Ericsson W995 handset
  • Battery (BST-38)
  • Stereo noise cancelling headphones (short wire length)
  • Hands free cable (connects to stereo headphones)
  • CDROM with Media Go PC Suite
  • Speaker dock (model:MS410)
  • 8GB Memory Stick Micro (M2) card (in the phone)
  • Manual

I should really rename this section to “What SHOULD be in the box”!!

There should also be:

  • USB cable (proprietary connection to the handset)
  • Mains charger cable (proprietary connection to the handset and missing from this PR kit!) – luckily I had a spare from an old SE phone of mine!

 

For more information check out Matt’s Sony Ericsson W995 unboxing video.

 

 

Sony Ericsson W995 specification:

  • Dimensions (mm): 97 x 49 x 15 mm
  • Weight (g): 113
  • Screen Size: 2.6 inches, 240 x 320 pixels
  • A-GPS chipset
  • Internal(MB): 118 MB
  • Memory Stick Micro (M2), 8GB card included, up to 16GB
  • Battery Type: Li-Ion
  • Stand-by (hrs): Up to 370 hours
  • TalkTime(min): Up to 540 minutes
  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 900 / 2100
  • Primary camera: 8.1 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
  • Accelerometer sensor

 

General:

Front – Firstly there is the 2.6″ screen, then below this are the left and right soft keys. The call and end buttons can be seen at the sides (the end button is also the power button). In the middle is the D pad for navigating through the menus. The bottom two buttons are the shortcuts and clear buttons. There is also a forward facing camera which is located above the screen.

Sony Ericsson W995 Review-front The Sony Ericsson W995 – front view

 

Keypad – The W995 has a standard phone keypad as seen here with the phone slid into the open position. You can see a small dot next to the number 3 key. This is where the microphone is.

W995-front-open The Sony Ericsson W995 – keypad view

 

Left side – The Sony Ericsson proprietary socket and dedicated Walkman button are shown here.

W995-left The Sony Ericsson W995 – left side view

 

Right side – Starting from the left, there is a dedicated camera button, up/down rocker buttons for volume (and zoom when using the camera), and dedicated media buttons.

W995-right The Sony Ericsson W995 – right side view

 

Top – There is a loud speaker located on the top along with a 3.5mm headphone jack

W995-top The Sony Ericsson W995 – top view

 

Bottom – There is another loud speaker on the bottom of the phone

W995-bottom The Sony Ericsson W995 – bottom view

 

Back – On the back of the phone you can see the 8.1MP camera, flash, and the flip out stand.

W995-back The Sony Ericsson W995 – back view

Under the back cover – If you take off the battery cover you can see where the battery, sim card and memory card are located.

W995-back-off The Sony Ericsson W995 – uncovered view

 

Highlights:

  • Large screen – 2.6″
  • Stylish design
  • Robust and light weight
  • Great display quality
  • Stereo loud speakers
  • Brilliant quality earphones

 

Lowlights:

  • Short cable for earphones
  • Camera quality a bit disappointing
  • LED flash
  • Flip out stand not very stable

 

Review:

The Sony Ericsson W995 is a good looking phone. It’s a stylish slide phone that is robust, quite light weight and oozes quality.

The W995 comes in three colours – Cosmic Silver, Energetic Red, and as you can see by this review model, Progressive Black (the colour names were of course created by Sony Ericsson).

W995-angled-right The Sony Ericsson W995 Walkman phone

 

The screen is a generous 2.6 inches and the display is bright and sharp. It even performs well in direct sunlight!

The phone itself has a high quality feel about it. Some phones have buttons that have a cheap plastic feel and seem flimsy. The W995 is most definitely not one of those phones!

The backlight for the buttons adds to the look of the phone and of course makes seeing the buttons in the dark very easy. When that Walkman feature is being used the relevant buttons are lit up in orange, and when using normal phone features the relevant buttons are lit up with white. You can see that in the pictures below

IMAG0027   IMAG0025

 

The home screen and menu are typical Sony Ericsson as the W995 uses the Symbian operating system. Is this good or bad? Either really. I find the Symbian OS easy to navigate through and looks quite pleasing to they eye. Just depends what you like to use.

The shortcut button on the front of the phone offers quick and easy access to your commonly used applications. You can edit the applications listed to suit your needs which makes the phone pretty user friendly. This isn’t exclusive to the W995 by any means but just a feature of Sony Ericsson phones that I like.

The main menu can be viewed in three different ways – The default grid view, rotate view (where the icons spin round like a carousel), and single icon view (you scroll up/down and only one icon is viewed at a time). On top of that, there are also four themes provided on the phone. This means that there is plenty to do to personalise the phone as soon as you get it.

 

Connectivity on the W995 will not disappoint. There is 3G, Bluetooth, WiFi, USB and aGPS. This means you can make the most of the applications provided on the phone such as, the web browser, YouTube, Google Maps, Email, and even GeoTagging photos.

The Bluetooth stereo (A2DP) is also supported which means that you can use stereo Bluetooth earphones to make to most of this media rich phone.

 

You may know that Sony Ericsson have been producing their Cybershot range of mobile phones which are designed with camera quality in mind. The Walkman range have of course been designed with music in mind. This means that you needed to decide which feature you wanted more. The W995 is the first Sony Ericsson phone that breaks down this barrier.

It comes equipped with an 8.1MP camera. The features of the camera include auto focus, face detection, a digital zoom up to 16x, and image stabiliser to name just a few. I’m a trigger happy person so found this a nice surprise!

Unfortunately, the reality was quite disappointing. You can take quite good pictures in good lighting. The colours are a bit washed out looking but the photo quality is acceptable. In low lighting the LED flash lets the camera down. It’s not really powerful enough. The Cybershot phones have a Xenon flash which are great for taking pictures with but you could still live with this I guess.

I found the worst part of the camera to be the zoom. I won’t go on too much here but will let you see for yourself with these photos I took with it. You’ll see the quality deteriorates quite dramatically once zoomed in.

DSC00010 Taken with the widest angle (zoomed right out)

DSC00011 Same view but zoomed in

 

As this is a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone you would expect a great music player. You would be right! The music player can be accessed through a range of ways. There’s the dedicated Walkman button on the left side of the phone, the media option using the left soft key when on the home screen, or just going through the menu. The media menu lets you access your photos, video, music, games and more. It’s easy to use and looks good.

Some hardware features of the phone really enhance the W995. Firstly, you have two loud speakers on the handset. One on the top and one on the bottom. This gives you stereo sound. The quality of the sound through these speakers is surprisingly good. Clear Stereo and Clear Bass features definitely help to make the quality of the sound so good.

The earphones that come with the handset are very good. The sound quality through them is absolutely excellent. These earphones have a 3.5mm plug which you can connect to the microphone cable to use as hands free headset. This plugs into the proprietary Sony Ericsson socket.

Must to my surprise the W995 comes with a 3.5mm headphone socket! No a normal feature of Sony Ericsson phone so definitely a bug plus here. I was then disappointed to find that you couldn’t use the great earphones with this connection. Well, you could but with difficulty as the cable of the earphones is very short as it was designed to connect to the hands free cable. You could use your own earphones though, or even get a 3.5mm extension cable if you wanted to use the earphone that came with the phone.

To watch TV or any video there is a metal kick stand for propping up the phone. Not the most stable of stands but it does the trick. As it’s at one end of the phone it’s a bit wobbly at times. Definitely works better if the phone is slid to the open position to balance it better.

The screen is bigger than previous models but I’m not convinced that it’s big enough for watching movies on. The video quality however is pretty good.

There were speakers in the box – a nice surprise! These connect to the side of the phone to the proprietary socket. The cover that protects the plug clips onto the back of the speakers which acts as a stand. The quality of the speakers are quite good. Not as good as the earphones but I like them.

w995_speakers Sony Ericsson W995 with speakers

 

I think it depends where you buy the handset from (or maybe it’s country related) whether or not you get these speakers with it. I watched a few unboxing videos for this phone and some people didn’t get the speakers but got a USB M2 memory card reader instead.

 

Finally, and most importantly (as this is a phone!) – the call quality. I found this to be loud, and clear. One thing I did find however was that some people I called said that I sounded quite loud. I’ve called them back on my own mobile phone and they said that the sound level was fine again. So, your friends may have to turn down the call volume on their phone when ever you call! Not a big deal really but I thought I should point that out.

 

Conclusion:

I couldn’t help but love the Sony Ericsson W995. It is a stylish, slim and lightweight phone that is bound to impress.

W995-angled-left The Sony Ericsson W995 Walkman phone

It’s packed with features so it’s bound to keep you entertained. With WiFi and GPS you can make the most off the applications, and with the excellent sound quality you can enjoy your music to the full.

Although I was a bit disappointed with the camera I think it’s not a huge downfall – it is a Walkman phone after all and you can take relatively decent pictures.

The Sony Ericsson W995 Walkman phone in my opinion is definitely a hit!

 

 

 

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