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My crush on the Sony Ericsson W580i

Ron is smitten with a phone targeting a demographic a bit his junior!

Confession: This is obviously a cell phone designed for people age 30 and younger. Yet I've carried this Walkman phone for three days, and I'm in love.

First and foremost, the W580i is light. Very light. It doesn't even seem as heavy as the slight 3.3 ounces claimed. Yet, it feels solid.

The W580i is a slider with most of the action on an unusual button array. CNET Networks

Sliders being my weakness, this one has just the right spring action. If there's a glitch, it's that I wish it had a little thumb bar (like the Motorola z3 or z6), instead of needing to be pushed open from below the keypad. But closing it from the top is easy and makes that hefty sound that people notice and like.

Call reception is outstanding and battery life is huge. I've gotten 7 hours, though it claims 9 hours talk time. Speaker is clear and volume is just fine.

But let's remember, this is a Walkman phone. That means music and song quality need to be great, and I think they are. It's got gimmicks that aren't very businesslike. (You can flick your wrist to hear a new song and the sides light up in 1 of 16 color selections when you get a cal.l) But then nothing about this phone is supposed to be businesslike! It's fun.

The buttons on the side of the phone are for volume (or brightness, in photo mode) while most all other controls are accessed via a menu and the highly unconventional array of buttons that are mediacentric when the phone is closed. When opened, a more typical T9 phone keypad is exposed.

Also exposed by sliding is the unusually mounted 2.0 megapixel camera, which I find takes quite good images. It peeks up like a periscope when you use the slider--and that's the only way to use it, so you'll find yourself opening and closing this phone a lot.

Up periscope! Two megapixels, but no flash or self-portrait mirror. CNET Networks

If there's a weakness, it's storage space: 12 megabytes won't get you far, and expansion is via Memory Stick, which is statistically less likely to be found laying around the average user's desk drawer.

By the way, there's an unwritten rule: If you're an adult, get the W580i in gray, not the white that makes it look like a little Imperial Stormtrooper.

Overall, I shouldn't love this phone. But I do. There. I've said it.

(This blog entry was revised on 12/21/07 to sort out inconsistencies in photos and detail references.)