As the W205 Walkman can be picked up for as little as £40 on a Vodafone pay-as-you-go deal, or £80 SIM-free, it's probably the cheapest phone in Sony Ericsson's current line-up of Walkman handsets. As you'd expect at this price, it lacks many of the bells and whistles of the high-end Walkman phones, but it still offers a decent range of features for the money.
Most budget handsets have a candybar design, but, despite this phone's low price, Sony Ericsson has decided to take the more adventurous slider approach. The sliding mechanism doesn't feel as smooth or as satisfying as those on the company's more expensive handsets, but it certainly doesn't feel flimsy either, and it adds a certain degree of panache. The matte black, plasticky front ensures the W205 still has a rather budget feel to it, though.
The tiny screen doesn't help matters either. At 41mm (1.6 inches), it's smaller than the available space would have allowed, so you're left with a thick, black border around the edge. The 128x160-pixel resolution is very low, making the phone's browser practically useless. Also, the viewing angle is poor. Consequently, the screen can be difficult to read at times.
The keypad is also very cramped. While it's fine for tapping in numbers, you can only comfortably text on it using a single thumb, rather than the two-thumb approach that most people seem to adopt when texting. The stickiness of the keys doesn't help either, so the W205 is definitely not a great option for those who send plenty of text messages.
The W205 isn't all bad, though. The phone uses the standard Sony Ericsson menu system, so it's easy to find your way around and, as a result, very straightforward to use. Call quality is also top-class, thanks to the loud earpiece. Even the speaker-phone function works well, since the W205 uses an external speaker rather than simply cranking up the earpiece volume, as some other budget handsets do.
Connectivity is more than adequate, at least by budget-phone standards. Although the W205 doesn't have 3G, which is hardly surprising at this price, it offers support for GPRS and Edge, and there's also Bluetooth for use with wireless headsets or for transferring files like pictures and music snippets to other phones. Battery life isn't bad either -- you'll get around 9 hours of talk time from this phone.