The Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman is a fairly basic phone with a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen and a focus on mobile music. Can it live up to its iconic Walkman branding?
It's available for free on a £15-per-month contract, or you can pick it up on a pay as you go tariff for about £80. SIM-free, expect to pay about £110.
Should I buy the Sony Ericsson Mix Walkman?
Sony Ericsson clearly hopes that the prestige of the once world-famous Walkman brand will enable the Mix Walkman to carve out a niche in the budget sector. Unfortunately, this area of the mobile market is becoming dominated by low-cost smart phones, such as the , and .
Compared to its smart-phone rivals, the Mix Walkman is merely competent, rather than mind-blowing. Granted, the Walkman software is accomplished and the bundled headphones are of a decent standard, but similarly priced handsets offer comparable prowess when it comes to audio playback. The lack of a bundled microSD card is also a killer -- without one, the 100MB of built-in storage space isn't going to get you very far.
Even if you didn't take these points into account, the Mix Walkman is plagued by other issues that make it a tough sell. The 3-inch touchscreen is capacitive and offers a decent image, but its usefulness is dramatically undermined by a sluggish operating system that often refuses to recognise touch commands.
Overall, it's hard to endorse the Mix Walkman when the standard of the competition is so high.
Although the Mix Walkman isn't a smart phone, it uses an interface very much like the one on the. Because of the small, 3-inch touchscreen, Sony Ericsson has pinned useful shortcuts into the four corners of the display.
By default, these link to your music player, text message archive, dialling pad and contacts list. You can customise these shortcuts should you wish to do so.
The Mix Walkman possesses three home screens, although, unlike with Google's Android operating system, you can only have one widget per screen. The central screen features your clock, while the other two host a text messaging widget and a Friends application.
The Friends app is an attempt to lend the Mix Walkman some social-networking capabilities, allowing you to link to contacts on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. On paper, it sounds like a grand idea. It also looks pretty cool -- the widget displays your contacts as floating squares, which you can swipe through. Unfortunately, though, the app is very bare-bones and the data it sucks in from Facebook and Twitter is disjointed and poorly formatted.
Friends aside, the Mix Walkman's interface is pretty standard for a phone of this type, offering no major surprises or innovations. Disappointingly, it's quite a sluggish phone to use. Swiping through the menu system is often a hit and miss affair, with the device struggling to keep up with your taps and selections.
When the Mix Walkman falls over, it does so in spectacular style. On several occasions during our review period, the device froze completely, refusing to respond even when the power button was pressed firmly down. We had to take out the battery -- a struggle in itself, due to the awkward rear cover -- and reinsert it in order to bring the phone back to the world of the living.
A 3-inch capacitive touchscreen is reasonably impressive on a phone of this calibre, and the Mix Walkman's display also benefits from decent brightness and good colour depth. The overall resolution of 240x400 pixels isn't too shabby, either. But, alas, the screen is still awkward to use.
Responsiveness doesn't seem to be an issue, because the device is capable of detecting the lightest of touches. The major problem is the lack of processing power -- the phone doesn't seem able to keep up with all of the interface data the touchscreen is sending it.
Quick swipes often go unheeded because the handset is desperately trying to execute a command you gave a few seconds ago, and it's not uncommon to find that the Mix Walkman freezes for a few moments as it tries to catch up.