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Sony Ericsson W350i entry-level Walkman phone

Retro-flip design and quality music player hits the right notes

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Though it's sturdy enough in situ, the back cover has to be removed if you want to swap the Memory Stick Micro (M2) card or the SIM, so you’d hope it would be able to withstand plenty of fingernail clawing and unclipping. The front flip though is remarkably bendy, and while it’s easily detachable (and is presumably replaceable), it’s not the most robust cover you could want – we’ll be interested to see how it fares with plenty of in-pocket battering.

The forward, rewind, pause/play and scrolling up/down music player buttons on the flip have an attractive rounded design, accented by some striking colour schemes – orange or purple on black, silver on light blue or graphite on white versions of the W350i are available.

Sony Ericsson W350i

The shell has a tactile, rubber-feel, but the flip is made from flimsy, plastic

A small slider lock on the top of the phone can be used to prevent accidental pocket tune-playing (as the phone is ordinarily cued up ready for Walkman action in flip-closed mode). A Walkman button on the side is used for firing up the player in open mode, or toggling back to the music selection menu when closed.

By contrast to the lightweight flip, the W350i’s large numberpad beneath is firm, and responsive to the touch – its curved, glossy key design is functional rather than tricksy, and no doubt devised for speed texters.

The phone uses an older version of Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phone user interface rather than that used on most recent models. Arranged around a familiar central navigation D-pad, which can be programmed for feature shortcuts, there are a pair of softkeys plus back and clear buttons - but no conventional call and end keys. Getting around the menus is pretty intuitive, though, with the standard type of Sony Ericsson icon-based grid set-up, plus straightforward sub menu tabs and lists of options.

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