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Sony Ericsson Walkman W960i music phone

It's a phone. It's Walkman. It's a robot. Well, maybe not a robot...

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As is usual with Sony Ericsson handsets, the player supports MP3, AAC, WMA and MPEG 4 files, and comes with an equalizer that you can mess about with plus the usual raft of genre pre-sets and a Megabass option.

The 3.2-megapixel camera does a fair enough job and comes with a macro setting and a digital zoom that runs to 2.9x, though the twin-LED flashes are no substitute for the xenon flash on the K850i.

Sony Ericsson W960i Walkman phone

Comfortable to hold

Sony Ericsson's refusal to enable its top-flight phones to record video at more than 15f/s 320 x 240 is frankly beginning to grate when there are phones about that will record at 30f/s 640 x 480. Video playback defaults to a portrait on screen layout. If you tilt the phone over, nothing happens - to change to landscape you have to hit the 'Expand' soft key.

The speaker on the W960i is one of the best we have come across, it really does produce a great sound for something so small and is superb when used in speaker-phone mode. Call quality and signal strength are up with the best from Sony Ericsson.

The manufacturer claims three hours of talk time and 300 in standby mode when you're in a 3G area. The numbers rise to nine and 370 without the UMTS drain. In the real world, our handset lasted for two-and-a-half days of fairly heavy mixed use in a 3G area with the Wi-fi switched on a couple of times for 10-15 minute spells before we went rummaging for the charger.

Verdict

It's hard to shake off a slight sense of disappointment about the W960i. The looks are nothing special, the UI seems a little unresolved and the features list while long is lacking in some important areas. Unless you really want the Symbian OS and Wi-fi, we suggest getting a K850i and sticking an 8GB Memory Stick Micro up its backside. Then you have an 8GB music player with a five-megapixel camera and HSDPA that you can use with one hand. You can't say that of the W960i

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75%

Sony Ericsson Walkman W960i music phone

A well-specified but schizophrenic handset, that slightly disappoints...
Price: Contract: free to £220; pre-pay: N/A; handset only: £400 unlocked RRP

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