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Hands on with the Sony Ericsson C903, W395

At the GSMA World Congress in Barcelona, we kick the tires of the Sony Ericsson C903 and W395.

The new Sony Ericsson Idou and W995 Walkman weren't the only new handsets sitting pretty in the company's GSMA World Congress booth. We also spied the C903 Cyber-shot and W395 Walkman, which debuted before the show began. To refresh your memory, the C903 is a 5-megapixel camera phone and the W395 is low-end Walkman phone.

Now playing: Watch this: Sony Ericsson C903

We dropped by the Sony Ericsson booth on Tuesday to put the handsets through their paces. First up was the C903. Sporting a slider design, the C903 has a rather angular look, even with the rounded corners. The slider mechanism is solid and the phone feels comfortable in the hand. Though three colors are available, we particularly liked the glamor red color scheme.

The 2.4-inch display is up to usual Sony Ericsson standards, with bright colors and sharp graphics. The icon-based menu interface is classic Sony Ericsson, which is to say it is simple and intuitive. We noted that the display's orientation rotates automatically as you move the phone.

The navigation array favors squares instead of circles. You'll find a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, Talk and End/power controls, a shortcut button, and a clear key. The toggle is tactile and though the array is spacious, the soft keys are small. Other exterior controls include a volume rocker, a camera shutter, and a player button on the right spine.

We didn't come away with a great impression of the keypad. It's mostly flush, and we weren't crazy about the plastic feel of the keys. We didn't make any mistakes when dialing or texting, and we admit that our test period was brief, but we're concerned about the long-term durability. We'll have to wait for a full review to give a firm assessment.

The C903's camera sits on its rear side next to the flash. Opening the cover will start the camera automatically and vice versa.

Now playing: Watch this: Sony Ericsson W395

The W395 looks a bit like other Walkman phones we've seen before. The 2-inch display is vibrant and the Walkman player interface is unchanged. Yet, when compared with other phones in the Walkman line, you notice the W395 uses orange sparingly. There's just a Walkman logo on the front face and an orange ring around the toggle.

Speaking of which, the navigation array features a circular design. Besides the aforementioned toggle, you'll find two soft keys, Talk and End/power buttons, a shortcut control, and a clear key. The buttons are tactile and the toggle and central OK buttons also function as music controls when you're listening to tunes. The camera lens sits on the rear face. A volume rocker and a camera shutter are perched on the right spine

Unfortunately, the W395 has almost the same keypad as the C903. Here, again, the plastic, slippery keys made us a little wary. We have seen keypads begin to crack on Sony Ericsson phones before, so we'll be watching this phone closely.

We'll do a full review of both phones as soon as we can get models in house. In the meantime, be sure to check out our C903 and W395 photo gallery.