The W200i is a candy bar form factor mobile phone that measures in at 101mm by 44mm by 18mm with a carrying weight of 85 grams. The W200i is available in two colour schemes -- Sony Ericsson amusingly calls them "Rhythm Black" and "Pulse White", otherwise known outside the marketing fraternity as black or white. Our review sample was of the white variety, with bright orange highlights. Just as many other phone manufacturers do, the W200i looks an awful lot like the rest of its phone line, which means if you're familiar with Sony Ericsson's usual design outlines, the W200i will be either a familiar and comfortable phone, or a stale concept, depending on how you nominally find Sony Ericsson phones. We quite like the dialling keys on the W200, which are a decent size, but are far less enamoured of the joystick selector, which has the all too common problem of selecting when scrolling downwards, or vice versa.
The W200i's 128x160-pixel display isn't the sharpest you can get -- far from it -- but it's adequate for basic phone tasks. The W200i sports a surprisingly loud internal speaker -- it's pitched as a music phone with plenty of use of the Walkman branding -- as well as headphones with what Sony calls Bass reflex; this is intended to preserve music fidelity even when bass is at a maximum.
As with many other Sony Ericsson Walkman phones, the W200i sports a custom connector on the base of the phone which is used for charging, USB synchronisation and audio output. Like other Walkman phones, this locks you into using only Sony Ericsson supplied accessories and headsets.
Sony Ericsson's pitch for the W200i is that while it bears the famous Walkman brand, it's not really designed to act as a replacement for your MP3 player; instead it's a complimentary device that just happens to store some of your favourite tunes of the moment. As a music phone, it supports MP3 and AAC files, so in the very near future you could even conceivably stick some DRM-free EMI iTunes music on it if that took your fancy. The W200i comes with a 128MB Memory Stick Micro for music storage, along with up to 27MB of internal memory.
At a basic phone level, the W200i is a tri-band GSM phone. Astute buyers may notice the inclusion of a camera on the rear of the W200i. Wholly astute buyers who enjoy actual photographs, as opposed to random collections of pixels that might possibly look like their targets if you squint a lot, may just want to put a chunk of duct tape over the W200i's camera sensor to save themselves a whole lot of pain. With only VGA capabilities we weren't expecting much, and that's exactly what we got out of the W200i's lacklustre camera. The duct tape might just save you from presuming that a drunken pub pic was in fact any good, when it almost certainly wasn't.