Millions of people now see their mobile phones as serious music players, all thanks to Sony Ericsson. But the popularity contest heated up when Apple crashed the Walkman brand's party with the iPhone. Will the latest Sony Ericsson W960i be a wet blanket for Apple's musical handset? We took it out on the town for some reviewing jollity.
The Sony Ericsson W960i is currently available to buy on several networks for free on a monthly contract.
It may not have the iPhone's wow factor, but the W960i is a sexy handset in its own right. A slim glossy casing houses a large colour screen and instead of the W950i's annoying keys, you get a standard keypad this time. Still, we found the keypad somewhat hard-pressed in the areas of comfort and responsiveness.
Disappointingly, the W960i's touchscreen isn't very finger friendly. It works better when you put the provided stylus to use, which isn't always convenient.
Add to this a handwriting recognition feature -- which we do like -- and we're starting to feel that the W960i's array of input options cause more confusion than anything else. The way that the W960i combines the touchscreen, keypad and scroll wheel just doesn't feel right -- it's a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
Another design aspect that concerns us is the metal lanyard hoop on the left side of the handset -- it gets in the way of laying the phone flat on its side for timed pictures. If you're not using the table as a make-shift tripod, then you won't find this to be a massive issue.
Of course, relative to other phones with similar features, the W960i feels slim and light and we appreciate the attention to detail here.
If it's music you're after, then the W960i comes prepped with 8GB of onboard memory, which is enough space to store up to 2,000 songs. Plus, getting music on to the W960i is a much easier process than in previous Walkman phones. Using the new Sony Ericsson media manager software is easy, which lets you drag and drop tracks straight into the phone.
The latest Walkman player lets you adjust a variety of settings including the equaliser and, in a highly considerate move, letting you categorise individual tracks by mood. For instance, you can play happy songs for when you're happy and sad songs when you're sad. Sure, it's a little gimmicky but we enjoyed making up emotional soundtracks.