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Photos: Hands-on with the Sony Ericsson W705 Walkman

We've got Sony Ericsson's latest Walkman phone in-house -- the beautiful W705 -- and this one is for sure a hot contender for sexiest phone of the year

Earlier this month we wrote about Sony Ericsson's latest Walkman slider phone, and it's a stunner. Released next year, the W705 is perhaps the most beautiful Walkman we saw in 2008. And we can reinforce that now we've got a working model in-house!

At this point, our model is not fit for reviewing, as the software is still subject to change. But physically there's no kidding we'd be asking for its number after very few drinks.

Specs-wise it's got a super-crisp 240x320-pixel screen, a 4GB Memory Stick Micro M2 card (there's little internal memory to speak of), a 3.2-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash, a low-res front-facing camera, Wi-Fi, 3.5G HSDPA data connectivity, GPS with Google Maps and stereo Bluetooth.

Not bad for a Walkman, if not as ground-breaking as the W902 Walkman which came with the first 5-megapixel camera on a music phone. And there's no Xenon flash, keeping it apart from competing too much with Son Eric's Cybershot range.

But all this is somewhat ruined by the lack of a headphone socket. You have to use the USB port with an adaptor if you want to plug in headphones. Can we get an EPIC FAIL please? Goodbye future high-scoring review.

With that major flaw out of the way, we can't fault the phone on its gorgeous design, its almost sexual look and feel, and its beautiful menu system. At least in this early unreviewable stage, it's looking like it will be a fast, responsive handset, with a smashing keypad to boot.

Our favourite Walkman to date was the W760i from the first half of this year. This is the first of four total subsequent Walkman phone releases, and the first to challenge the superb W760i. It's not going to replace your Sony Walkman -- a fact largely to do with the phone's lack of a headphone socket -- but man, this is a phone you're going to want to lick while you're talking on it.

We've prepared a colossal gallery of close-ups and hands-on pics over the next few pages. Have a browse and let us know in the comment section below what you think about this very promising handset.

Sliding the screen up reveals a brilliant, soft-touch keypad that's easy to text with.

If you don't think this looks beautiful, perhaps you forgot to take this morning's brain medicine. Freak.

All your Walkman controls are built into the main navigational buttons.

A small front-facing camera (we'll confirm the resolution in our full review) enables 3G video calling and vanity shots for MyBeboSpaceBook, et al.

But the big daddy is the 3.2-megapixel camera on the back. We'll be including full-resolution example shots in our full review.

Eugh. Proprietary USB headphone crap. This is where your 3.5mm headphone socket should be. Feel free to write to the people at Sony Ericsson and tell them you hate these.

God knows you send us enough complaints, but all we can do is agree with you (and mark the phone down in its review).

Stereo speakers sit around the back, but please don't use this on any bus we're on, or we'll be forced to call the police and have you jailed for being a prat.

Activate the dedicated Walkman features with a Walkman button, seen here on the top of the phone's aluminium chassis.

Here's that keypad we mentioned. You'll be using it a lot, so be thankful it feels delightful. Like a freshly rained-on kitten.

Here's a sneaky shot of the new Walkman interface, featuring reflection-happy icons and a snazzy rotating layout.

How could we finish without installing and trying out Opera Mini -- the best mobile Web browser that isn't on an iPhone? This crisp screen makes browsing the Web enjoyable, and both Wi-Fi and HSDPA data connectivity make it even faster than the other Walkmans in the range.