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Sony Ericsson Walkman W380i budget music phone

Less iPhone killer, more Shuffle worrier

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We’ve seen the ‘hidden display’ trick before, first with Sony Ericsson’s own Z610i a couple of years back and more recently on the Motorola MOTO U9 - reviewed here - but it’s carried off well on this design. The thin 36 x 128 OLED - read in landscape orientation - also shows incoming caller info and standby status, slipping back out of sight when not required.

The moulded-surface music player controls need solid presses. But usefully there's haptic feedback in the form of a buzzy vibration to confirm that keys have been properly pressed. A keypad slider lock on the back ensures keys aren’t accidentally pressed when you’re listening to tunes with the phone in your pocket or bag.

Sony Ericsson W380i mobile phone

A distinctive design for a budget phone

The design is distinctive for a budget phone, with the wedge bottom providing a Sony Ericsson design trait. Its plastic shell comes in "electric purple", "magnetic grey" or "black champagne", with contrasting coloured detailing on the odd button or two.

Flip the phone open, and the inside display and keypad are pretty conventional. The well-spaced rectangular buttons are easy to press and responsive. The screen is a 1.9in, 176 x 220, 262,144-colour display, one of Sony Ericsson’s lower-resolution panels.

The graphic and imaging experience therefore isn't as rich here as it is on the higher spec models, although the basic nuts and bolts of the menu navigation system is the same. The control buttons and navpad are configured in a typical Sony Ericsson way too, although not like some recent models that have conventionalised the set-up with the addition of Call and End keys.

The central navpad offers pre-loaded or user-defined shortcuts – including, at the top, a Walkman-logo'd fast route to the music player. The navpad is flanked by a pair of menu keys, and 'back' and 'clear' buttons. Set above the numbers, on smaller buttons are the on/off button, a browser key and a main-menu button.

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