Sony Ericsson W350i entry-level Walkman phone

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

If you’re after good printable results, this isn’t the phone for you. Blown up images are poor with little detail, and colour rendition and exposure aren’t great. The camera will do picture messaging fine, however, if you’re looking just for a simple fun snapper. Sony Ericsson also includes its standard facility to upload images to a Blogger account, or send images by email.

An Access NetFront browser is included, with a Google search option on the opening screen, though the browsing experience is limited. The default setting, with a Smart-Fit option, adapts full web pages for the W350i’s small mobile screen, but while you can switch to full webpage view, the phone is slow to download pages, and struggles to render some sites effectively. You can also set the phone to receive RSS feeds, which is a handy alternative to using the browser to view regularly visited sites.

Sony Ericsson W350i

There’s no 3G, let alone Wi-Fi

Although the higher-end functionality is spartan, Sony Ericsson does include its usual set of organiser tools –calendar, tasks, notes, timer, stopwatch, alarms, calculator and code memo function – plus a convertor app, a voice recorder, and three games.

We couldn’t fault the voice call performance on this phone – all seemed perfectly fine when making and taking calls. There’s no need to fear flip problems with calls, either, as the mic is on the main phone body. We also quite liked that old school way of using the flip to take and end calls… Battery life is reasonable; Sony Ericsson estimates that between charges this tri-band GPRS EDGE phone can clock up to 7 hours talktime or 300 hours of standby time. Alternatively, you can get up to 15 hours of music playing.

Verdict

The Sony Ericsson W350i follows a similar budget music mobile formula to the recent W380i, by playing to its Walkman strengths, while adding a bit of eye-catching cosmetics and a touch of novelty value. Selling for under £80 in pre-pay deals, it’s squarely targeted at would-be Walkman phone buyers on a limited budget. There are obvious compromises on build quality and features, such as the flimsy flip, lower res screen and poor camera. But if you’re willing to accept this, you get a very decent music player in an attractive slimline package that manages to line up most of the basics in the right place.

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Sony Ericsson W350i entry-level Walkman phone

Slimline retro-flip design and quality music player hit the right notes on this low-budget phone, but other features and build quality are less convincing
Price: Contract: free pre-pay: £70-80 Handset only: £130 RRP