Sony Ericsson Walkman W660i music phone
Review Sony Ericsson has made the most of its Walkman resurrection and is cashing in on the brand's cachet with a fast-growing range. But by filing the gaps with samey phones like the 3G-capable W660i, is Sony Ericsson in danger of losing its edge?
Why change a winning formula? With the W660i, Sony Ericsson doesn’t. The W660i slips 3G connectivity into a familiar-looking Walkman candybar design of the W610i. Unlike the slimline W880i - reviewed here - or the soon-to-launch shake-controlled W910i sliderphone, the W660i doesn’t stretch the Walkman design boundaries.
Sony Ericsson's W660i: radically different design - not
The W660i sports a Walkman 2.0 music player and fast 3G data - no HSDPA, though - with the downloading, browsing and video calling benefits that brings. But its main two-megapixel camera is a fairly basic shooter, with no autofocus (as seen on the W610i) or flash.
Sony Ericsson has made no radical alterations to the Walkman family look with the W660i, although it’s gone easy on the orange this time. It’s being shipped in “record black” or “rose red”, with gold highlights edged around the body and on a few buttons. The back panel has some record-groove rings on the black version and a bit of a girly flower pattern on the pink version, but other than that it’s a pretty straight-up Walkman.
The W660i is 1.5cm thick and weighs 93g all-up, so it’s pocket-friendly without scaring the supermodels. The display isn’t a top-of-the-range Sony Ericsson screen: it’s a 176 x 220 resolution, 262,144-colour panel rather than the more detailed 240 x 320 pixel display used on other recent handsets.
One welcome scaled-up design addition is the large-button keypad. It may not be as elegant as the razor thin keys on the W880i but it sure makes texting and number tapping easier for those of us with human-sized fingers.
A 2Mp snapper - but without autofocus or flash
Sony Ericsson is playing its phone operation straight too. The control keys are standard-issue Walkman, with a central four-way navigation pad and central gold select key complemented by soft-menu, Back and Cancel keys. In addition, flanking the pad are two gold buttons: one, emblazoned key with the Walkman logo, zips you straight into the music player, while the Activity key pulls up a list of shortcuts and handy functions. The navigation pad itself offers its own shortcuts, which users can customise.
I'm not certain that it isn't a deliberate ploy by manufacturers to cripple phones so that they only do certain things properly, in order to get you to (a) buy a more expensive phone than you really wanted, or (b) buy two phones (and forever be topping them up). So the K-series have the best cameras, while the W-series have the best media players, and the P-series ..... well, we all know what the P is short for, don't we?
I've also noticed that Nokia phones seem to be getting a bit less ugly -- not that they could possibly get any *more* ugly. In fact the latest offerings from Nokia could almost be mistaken at first glance for Sony Ericssons, were it not for the "send" and "end" keys.
But when all is said and done, the primary purposes of a mobile phone are sending text messages, making and receiving voice calls and remembering the necessary names and phone numbers to make this possible. Photography, music-playing and personal organiser features are secondary. But then, we live in a culture where some people attach greater importance to ticks in boxes than the text alongside those boxes .....
why the awful camera?
The k750i, years old now, also had a 2mp camera but with macro and (especially) autofocus. With this phone they've managed to add the ten things you could possibly have missed on a k750i - but taken away autofocus, to blur your pictures.
I do hope this isn't camera-crippled just for marketing reasons - "ah, a half-workable camera? you want the *K* range, this is the *W* range mate, more walkman-oriented"...
Cheap 3G phone
This looks like the chepaest 3G phone yet.
When you're stuck with a Three SIM that only works in 3G phones, which have a habit of breaking, it's good to know there's a sub 200 pound replacement available. It'll be better when they get to sub 50 pound, then I'll consider buying a spare. Three's repair service isn't bad, but a 3 day turn around soon grows with Royal Mail's strikes.
So you can use the phone as a laptop modem?
It's pretty good actually...
Decent phone, decent MP3 player, OK camera. Had one for two months, nothing to complain about! Web browser is good for such a small screen.