Sony Ericsson W960i review: Sony Ericsson W960i

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Typical Price: $1,099.00
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 5 user reviews

The Good Wi-Fi connectivity. 8GB internal memory. Mixed touchscreen/keypad input. Business card reader. Excellent Walkman music player.

The Bad Super-laggy interface. Bad predictive text. No 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Bottom Line The W960i is bursting at the seams with features; so much so that it struggles to keep up with the processing and is let down by its laggy interface.

7.6 Overall

Design
The W960i sports dimensions closer to a PDA handset than any of the recently released Sony Ericsson Walkman phones . The W960i is wider than your average mobile phone, but without being ungainly. In fact, if you want an accurate idea of how the W960i will feel in your hand -- and in your pocket -- then spending some time with the Sony Ericsson P1i will offer the closest comparison in size and weight you're likely to find.

Also similar to the P1i, the W960i employs a jog-wheel on the left side of the handset, which is pressed in to make selections. On the right of the phone are volume adjustment keys and a dedicated camera button for opening the camera app and firing off photos. At the base of the phone is a standard Sony Ericsson input port; used for charging, USB connectivity and as a Sony Ericsson headphone jack. As with all music-focused phones, we'd love to see a 3.5mm headphone jack, but it seems we'll have to accept that Sony Ericsson may never give us one; the upside to this being that the bundled headphones offer excellent sound quality.

The bright 2.6-inch QVGA (320x240) display is large enough to make good use of the touchscreen functionality, and a stylus, tucked away on the top-left corner of the phone, is on hand to help with some of the smaller, larger-than-finger selections, of which there are plenty.

Features
Sony Ericsson has obviously thought hard about implementing touchscreens into their mobile devices. Unlike full touchscreen mobile phones, such as LG's Viewty, which force you along the learning curve before you can navigate all touchscreen menus fluently, Sony Ericsson's phones, the W960i included, offer multiple input methods -- both physical and virtual -- effectively allowing you to decide which input method is best for you in a variety of different menu and application contexts.

On the entertainment front the W960i features a predictably excellent Walkman music player. There's no doubt that the Walkman music application is the best and most attractive music player in a mobile device to date, and when you add navigation via the touchscreen and the jog-wheel, you have a winner. The W960i will play most popular music files types; with the exception of DRM protected files, like those purchased from the iTunes music store, and also supports album art display.

The W960i also features much of the business functionality you'd find in the P1i, as well as other popular smartphones; calendars and organisers, and the business card reader we liked so much when we reviewed the P1i. This software's ability to identify the different information on a business card from a black-and-white photo is nothing short of astounding. The W960 supports POP3 and IMAP e-mail, including push-e-mail for IMAP accounts.

A few of the advances on Sony Ericsson's previous Walkman smartphone, the W950i , are the inclusion of a 3.2-megapixel camera with auto-focus, which takes excellent photos, 3G and Wi-Fi data connections for Web browsing, and the increase of the non-expandable internal memory from 4GB to 8GB, all of which show the W960i to be much more than an incremental update on its predecessor.

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