The menu system is conventional Sony Ericsson, with a grid of icons and subsequent sub-menu lists and tabs to work through. It’s easy to follow and intuitive.
Gimmicks aside, the main reason you'd choose any Walkman mobile is the promise of its music player. Although the W380i is a budget handset, you still get a set of above-average earphones and a 512MB Memory Stick Micro (M2) card bundled. The card slips into a hot-swappable slot under the back cover.
The menu is conventional Sony Ericsson: easy to follow and intuitive
The Walkman player user interface is simple to use but attractive, using a well-structured, icon-aided system. Categories are limited to artists, albums, tracks and playlists, but it does support album cover art, and you can tweak equaliser settings and add Sony’s trademark Mega Bass to boost a bit of bottom, if that’s your thing. Copying tracks over from a PC is straightforward whether you use Sony Ericsson's software or drag and drop tracks over to the M2 when the phone's in file transfer mode.
Audio performance is highly impressive and excellent for a music mobile at this price. You get a well-rounded sound with subtlety and not a little punch too that is very pleasing. There’s an FM radio inside too, which you can use the external music buttons and controls to operate. You can add your own higher quality headphones, thanks to the usual Walkman two-part earphone cable that provides a 3.5mm headphone jack adaptor mid-way. Stereo Bluetooth headphones are supported too. One bugbear is the side positioning of the phone’s headphone connector socket, which is also used for the charger and data cable.
The standard Sony Ericsson connector is quite bulbous, making it a touch awkward and snaggy in your pocket when the headphones are plugged in. You can listen to tunes through the loudspeaker, although the sound is wincingly tinny.
Walkman phones don’t usually have Sony Ericsson’s best cameras inside, and the W380i maintains the tradition with aplomb. 1.3 megapixels is the entry-level resolution for cameraphones in 2008, while the lack of even scratchy video shooting won’t impress those looking for YouTube glory. In good light, you can get reasonable snaps for MMSes or viewing on a PC screen, but images aren’t detailed enough for decent printing and the overall quality is generally disappointing.
Most, if not all, recent Sony Ericsson Walkman phones do utilise standard 3.5mm headphone jacks, via the handsfree kit. Ok, you can't plug a 3.5mm jack straight into the phone, but you can still use one.
*hits his buzzer*
I saw the 'buzz-phrase' of the moment - "iphone killer"....despite used in the context that this phone is NOT really an iphone killer, it still amazes me that people choose to refer to every new phone that appears with some sort of reference to the phrase.
Honestly, is it just that someone gets royalities every time the phrase is used?
Looks like my previous handset, the W300i. Except that one had video capability, which I find my BB8300 lacking. Besides that, nothing really new, though it might be able to support larger capacity M2 sticks.
Had I not been bought over by the Blackberry's unlimited data plan, I might have replaced my PAYG W300i with ... a contract W300i. Really, it has all I want for a handset, and stands in as an excellent MP3 player, having the added plus that it doesn't look too shiny and thus not a target for muggers.
Fits my two main requirements
A phone that plays music or a music player that allows me to make phone calls. Texting is NOT needed. If I want to take pictures, I'll use my 2000 quid digital camera !!
The battery doesn't look sufficient for a long haul flight but then that's what fully-charged-up spare batteries are for !! The removable media allows more music choices than a large bunch of CDs !!
And...The Price is Right !! :-)
SE K800i - still best phone ever made...
Am waiting for 3G iPhone in May/June (hopefully on Vodafone for decent coverage), however, until then, I have dumped my always crashing SE P990 and purchased a Sony Ericsson K800i for £80. Added a 2Gig mini memorystick (£15 on Amazon) and for £50 purchased the excellent sounding Sony Ericsson stereo bluetooth headset (includes 3.5mm jack so you can use any phones). That plus the excellent 3MP auto focus camera, stereo RDS radio, very versatile calendar (that syncs with my Mac along with the address book), Java games, top notch browser, 3G connection, still modern design - it is all you need. Two years after it's launch, the K800i is in fact better quality in operation and construction than todays phones, why? Because it was probably too expensive to manufacture, so today, they turn out cheap plasticy dumbed down phones and make a higher margin. The current and 3G iPhones will be the only suitable replacement for my K800i because they do everything they do well, no compromise. (I am not knocking the W380i, it is probably smaller than the K800i and ideal for the ladies and kids.)