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Sony Ericsson W810i: Black is back

The Sony Ericsson W810i is a cool customer in a black suit with orange cufflinks. But is this a great pretender or is this a phone that you'll want to spend a little time with?

Although the Sony Ericsson Walkman phone range has caught the eye of many a consumer, its original garish orange and white packaging didn't appeal to everyone. There are still many people out there who think that technology should only come in black or silver and to be honest there are times when we wholeheartedly agree -- bright yellow TVs, we don't like.

Sony Ericsson has gone back to black for this very reason and come up with the W810i. It's an upgrade of the W800i and comes in black with orange details. This is a much more sober-looking Walkman phone and could definitely be used by teenagers and businessmen alike.

New outfit aside though, you'll find that this is an almost identical phone to the W800i, with some questionable improvements. For instance, while we do like the dedicated shortcut menu key and the new navigation key, which has replaced the annoying joystick, we're not overly fond of the new split soft keys. Sony Ericsson has even gone and removed the cover from the camera lens on the back.

However, before you cry foul at Sony Ericsson for releasing a new phone that's actually an old phone with some weird changes, there are some positive signs in their seemingly strange design choices. The removal of the joystick, for instance, is a brilliant idea -- it was renowned for not working very well after a year or so. Also, the camera lens cover had a plethora of problems, most prominently opening in your pocket and activating the camera application even when the keypad was locked. So its removal is not something to be tearfully mourned, although it will mean that the lens is vulnerable to scratches.

Overall, we like the new outfit, but we'll wait until we do a full review before we give it the full thumbs-up. Expect one soon. -AL

Update: more images and a full review of the Sony Ericsson W810i are now live in our Reviews channel.