By February 3, 2009

Sony Ericsson W980 review

As if the choice of Walkman phones from Sony Ericsson was not big and confusing enough, then be prepared as it may just get a whole lot harder to choose with the introduction of the Sony Ericsson W980.


The Sony Ericsson W980


What’s in the box?

  • Sony Ericsson W980i Walkman
  • Battery (BST-38)
  • Charger (CST-70)
  • USB Cable (DCU-60)
  • Stereo Portable Handsfree (HPM-77)
  • Sony Ericsson PC Suite
  • Media Manager
  • User guide

Have a  look at Matt’s Sony Ericsson W980 unboxing video for more.


Sony Ericsson W980 specification:

  • Size:92.0 x 46.0 x 17.0 mm
  • Weight: 100g
  • Main Screen: 240 x 320 pixels – 2.2 inches
  • External screen: 176 x 176 pixels
  • Memory: 8GB Phone Memory – Stores up to 8000 songs (eAAC+ format)
  • Networks: GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900 & UMTS 2100
  • Camera: 3.2 megapixel camera, 3.2x digital zoom
    – Picture blogging
    – Video blogging
    – Video recording with 4x digital zoom
    – Photo fix
    – Auto rotate
    – x-Pict Story™
    – PictBridge printing
  • Music: Walkman® player
    – Clear stereo
    – Clear bass
    – Album art
    – FM transmitter
    – Shake control
    – SensMe™
    – PlayNow™
    – TrackID™
    – Bluetooth™ stereo (A2DP)
  • Internet: RSS feeds, Access NetFront™ Web Browser
  • Entertainment: Music tones (MP3/AAC), 3D games, Java™, FM radio with RDS
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth™ technology, Modem, Synchronization
  • Messaging: Email, MMS (Multimedia Messaging)


The W980 certainly sets itself apart from the rest of the Sony Ericsson Walkman range in that it is only one of two clamshell Walkman devices. However looks are only skin deep so does the W980 stand out in a range already full of feature filled, stylish & practical mobile phones.

As I mentioned earlier the W980 is only the second Clamshell, flip phone in the Walkman range with some some cool features, the front when closed is home to a number of touch buttons allowing you to access the phones multimedia functions without opening the device. If you are wondering what the clear strip at the bottom of the device is, it is a ‘light bar’ which flashes orange along to the music.


Sony Ericsson W980


When opened the device shows off its glossy black finish, with its well spaced, well sized numerical keys, above which are the navigational buttons, A central menu and select button is surrounded by the directional controls, with the call buttons either side and shortcut keys for accessing contacts, messages, media controls etc.


Sony Ericsson W980 keypad


The right side of the phone similar to other Sony Ericsson Walkman devices houses a lock slider for locking the device when not in use, next to this is a quick access key and finally there is a two way volume control button. Another interesting addition to the W980 is a stereo speaker located just below the lock slider.


W980 right side


The left side of the phone is rather bare, button wise however it does house the familiar and rather large Sony Ericsson proprietary connector and also another stereo speaker the same seen on the right side of the device.


W980 left side


Highlights & Lowlights
+ Good Connectivity
+ 8GB In-built memory
– No additional memory support
– Lack Of Camera Flash


So another day another addition to the Sony Ericsson Walkman range, so what does the W980 have to make it any more appealing than the other great devices currently available in this ever growing range.

Well as it is the first thing you will notice about the W980 lets start with its appearance, as I mentioned earlier the W980 is only the second clamshell device in the Walkman range and it is a style which in the past I have liked however the problem with the W980 is as anyone with a glossy HDTV or Playstation 3 will tell you that piano black = dirt, scratches and a general pain to maintain. However that said I do think the W980 has a certain quirky appeal and actually has distinctive retro styling, which may not be to everyone taste. The W980 feels pretty light while reaming fairly sturdy and robust.

As for Using the on a day to day basis, that is exactly what I have been doing for the past week or so and I have to say as with all the Sony Ericsson phones I have experienced the W980 certainly continues with the simple navigation menu layout which will be familiar to any current or previous Sony Ericsson users. The simple menu allows for easy access to the phones features whether it be multimedia or messaging. The touch display on the front of the device is also simple to use and a useful addition for quick access to music and to launch the FM radio.

The phone has a 3.2 mega pixel camera packed in and although not fantastic the quality of the camera is surprisingly good compared to other Walkman phones, however the lack of a flash or even an LED is a disappointment, video recording is also supported but the quality is nothing to write home about but OK for capturing those spur of the moment situations.


Featuring the letter W in the devices name is key to how Sony Ericsson market there Walkman phones, so incase you had not guessed the W980 is a Walkman phone, but can it rival others in the market and maybe more importantly for Sony Ericsson can it really challenge a dedicated MP3 player. Well first of all a good news bad news situation, the good news is the W980 comes with 8GB of internal memory straight from the box for you to fill it up with all your favourite media however when you have filled it up I’m afraid that is it, the bad news being then that the W980 has no support for additional memory which is not as big a disappointment as it would be if the internal memory was any smaller however given that Sony Ericsson are attempting to take on dedicated MP3 players with memories of over double that of the W980. That said 8GB is not a bad size and still allows for many of your multimedia files of which the W980 supports many, MP3; ACC; ACC+; eAAC+; WMA; protected WMA; WAV. All files are easy to find whether it be through the phones menu screen on the touch screen navigation on the front of the device. The FM radio is another little feature which has been included on a number of Walkman phones and one that is always a great one to have.

Features & connectivity wise the W980 are certainly acceptable but not fantastic, Bluetooth is of course included and is always useful for a Walkman phone with file transfers etc. A problem I have had with Sony Ericsson phones in the past and the W980 continues this trend is the size and position of the proprietary connector, the fact it is on the side of the phone does lead to the phone being less comfortable in your pocket , although a small issue for many if at all I do think it would make more sense to locate it on the top or bottom of the device or introduce a standard headphone jack. The features of the phone besides the obvious multimedia capabilities include the standard games etc. include the Walkman features such Video DJ, Music DJ & Photo DJ, as well as the extremely useful track ID. Battery life is quoted at 210 minutes talk time and 300 hours standby which is not fantastic but as with any mobile this will vary depending on the use of the phone.



Overall the W980 from Sony Ericsson is a decent addition to the Walkman range with a number of features and functions it is a great phone for music lovers. Despite this there is little to set it apart from its competition and indeed the other Walkman phones in the range. The lack of support for external memory is certainly a disadvantage when trying to compete with dedicated MP3 players. I imagine given the somewhat limited memory of the W980 it may put hardcore music lovers off however as I said 8GB is certainly not a bad memory and will surely be plenty for many to store all their tracks and multimedia files, making it a perfect mobile for younger music fans or indeed those looking for an all round multimedia led device.


Review by: Nick

[ Post Tags: Sony Ericsson, W980, Walkman Phone, feature phone, ]

Posted in: Reviews

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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