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Sony Ericsson Walkman W890i mobile phone

Skinny perfection

Remote control for virtualized desktops

The W890i comes pre-loaded with Google Maps, tucked away under a Location Services sub-menu in the entertainment section. Even without an on-board GPS receiver Google Maps can provide a rough estimate of your position using phone base-stations for reference. Accuracy depends on the proximity and density of cell masts, so you're likely to get a more accurate reading in urban areas than the open countryside. You can enhance the accuracy by linking up the phone to a standalone GPS receiver, if you have one.

You can get regular maps and satellite views of areas sent and refreshed over the data link in moments, and receive local searches and direction finding too. This is a neat feature to have to hand, enabling you to get to grip with unfamiliar locales.

Sony Ericsson W890i mobile phone

Also available in brown or black

Other bases covered on the W890i include email – there’s a simple set-up wizard to help enter your existing accounts – and the usual range of organiser functions. It also has a facility for secreting PIN codes and passwords. Other functions include a voice recorder and a Bluetooth remote control function.

The music theme is continued with Music Mate 4, a Java application that offers musical guides for piano and guitar, plus some beats to key/strum along to. Non-musical users will more likely seek out entertainment in the games: Lumines Block Challenge, The SIMS 2 and Tennis Multiplay.

On any richly featured 3G mobile, sufficient battery life is a key requirement. Sony Ericsson claims a talk-time of 9.5 hours on GSM/Edge networks, while standby is quoted at up to 360 hours. Similarly, on 3G networks, it offers a talk-time of up to 4.5 hours, and 310 hours on standby. In flight mode, the Walkman can keep on for 20 hours between charges.

While the quoted standby figures are less than the one claimed for the W880i - 425 hours - we found that figure optimistic anyway. In our usage tests, without pushing the music player excessively, we found ourselves reaching for the charger every two to three days. Anyone hitting the Walkman button regularly during the day will probably have to top up on a more regular basis.

Call quality on the W890i was excellent, with reliable clarity on both ends of voice calls and dependable signal handling.

Verdict

The W890i isn’t trying to be a top-of-the-range smartphone that does everything. There’s no Wi-Fi, Qwerty keyboard, touchscreen operation or GPS receiver. Instead, this device, with its sophisticated appearance and fine line-up of user-friendly functionality, has been designed for widespread appeal.

The camera could be improved, but its high-speed 3G HSDPA connectivity, good spread of multimedia features and an excellent Walkman music player package make for a very polished performer. Another huge hit for Sony Ericsson.

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Sony Ericsson Walkman W890i mobile phone

A tuned-up performance and improved design should make this ultra-slim 3G Walkman mobile a major hit
Price: Contract: free-£140, pre-pay: £250, handset only: £270 RRP

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