Sony Ericsson Walkman W902 mobile phone
Image-conscious Walkman phone gets a snappier snapper
Review Is there any real reason why a Walkman phone shouldn’t have a top spec camera like a Cyber-shot phone? With the W902, its first 5-megapixel camera-packing Walkman mobile, Sony Ericsson is attempting to address this often-asked question.
While Sony Ericsson’s Walkman line-up have been consistently high quality music performers, its Cyber-shot range have so far hogged all its best camera gadgetry, leaving its music-centric handsets by comparison somewhat light on the imaging front.
Sony Ericsson W902: Music plus top-class cameraphone performance
This no doubt helps Sony Ericsson differentiate its music-majoring and photo-specialist lines, but it’s not quite so convenient for a Walkman phone buyer who also wants a top-class cameraphone performance.
The W902 is certainly a step in the right direction, with its 5 million-pixel shooter nudging this model up the Walkman line-up. But don’t expect everything at once - beyond the camera, the spec rundown isn’t exceptional for a mid-range Walkman phone.
It doesn’t have top-level features like the Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS receiver employed on the new C905, and doesn’t run on an app-customisable smartphone platform. Instead it sports many of the Walkman and other features we’ve previously seen on the likes of the W980, W595 and W760i, and many more mid-tier Sony Ericssons.
For online connectivity it uses HSDPA high-speed mobile data, and has typical 3G multimedia streaming and downloading functionality. The latest Walkman player software package is inside, including Shake Control motion sensor gimmickry, while dedicated music player buttons are ranged up the slim side of the phone. An in-box 8GB Memory Stick Micro card is included – providing essential extra storage to go with the minimal onboard 25MB.
The answer to all your question...
Q: Why don't Sony Ericcson just put a 3.5mm headphone socket on the phone?
A: Coz then they can't charge you twenty quid each time you knacker one of their flimsy connector leads!
I've got through four of the poxy cables in the past two years, and they just compromise sound quality. I'm off to the HTC Touch series until I see a 3.5mm socket on a Walkman phone - there's absolutely no excuse Sony Ericsson!
"attempting to address this often-asked question"
The answer to the opening question is that it's very difficult to make a phone camera perform as well as a dedicated camera with the constraints a phone imposes in terms of size. Camera phones still almost all have poky little lenses, which translates to poky little sensors, and that means you can't have too many megapixels before the image quality really suffers as a result. Pixel density is the new key metric in choosing cameras, and mobiles do not perform well.
This review avoids showing us a view of the rear of the phone, so I can only assume it's the same old same old generic drop-in module with about a 5mm lens and correspondingly tiny sensor with those 5 million pixels crammed in. The lack of any sample photos would raise suspicions that this really doesn't perform any better than my 2 megapixel phone (also with ~5mm lens) in everyday and low-light use (especially with only the LED torch as a "flash").
As a camera phone (and if you buy one you either don't care about image quality or are prepared to accept it's an inevitable compromise photographically) it's nice enough, and I wouldn't say no (especially if they put a proper headphone socket on it), but comparisons to dedicated cameras, even cheap compacts are flawed.
I've had my W902 for a couple of months now and having been an SE fan for several years (T610, K700, P910, K750, P990, K800) it's definitely my favourite handset so far. Build quality is good, and HSDPA on an unlimited data plan makes web browsing on the large screen a joy. Considering it's only the first firmware iteration too, it's fast and stable, apparently with none of the bugs that have plagued recent SE handsets at release.
Lovely looking item - shame about the headphone socket! Why is it so difficult to fit a standard 3.5mm one?
I prefer the connector...
... 'sidesaddle'. I have a K850 and a W880 and I much prefer the headset adapter being on the side, as I feel that it's not 'squashing' the cable.
/If/ there was a general SE Docking station, then I agree that it should go on the bottom. Ideally, 3.5mm socket on the top and the mains/docking on the bottom. Pocket friendly and bedside friendly.