Sony Ericsson W600i (AT&T) review:

Sony Ericsson W600i (AT&T)

The Sony Ericsson W600i's music capacity is limited by the available memory, but the storage space is significantly less than its sibling's. As we noted earlier, Sony Ericsson unwisely didn't include a Memory Stick slot in the W600i. We're still scratching our heads about that decision, since this limits you to the 256MB of shared internal memory. So depending on track size and the number of other files (pictures, video, and so forth) you have saved, that means you can store about 60 to 80 songs--even less than with the Rokr E1. Although that might be fine for some people, this is a Walkman phone after all, so we expect more. Unlike with the Rokr E1, however, you can use tracks as ring tones (tracks are conveniently listed in the ring-tones folder), and you can send tunes via e-mail, multimedia message, Bluetooth, or infrared port. You even get an FM radio that automatically scans and programs up to 20 presets and grabs Radio Data System info from stations that digitally broadcast their names and call letters.

We like the W600i's photo quality.

The Sony Ericsson W600i's camera comes with an admirable feature set, despite the fact that it offers a 1.3-megapixel resolution; the W800i has a 2-megapixel camera. Surprisingly, pictures come in only three sizes--1,280x1,024, 640x480, and 160x120--but other options are solid. You get a choice of Normal, Panoramic, Frames, and Burst shot modes; an autofocus setting; a macro setting for close-up shots; a night mode; a flash; a time and date stamp; a self-timer; Black and White, Negative, Sepia, and Solarize picture effects; white-balance settings; four shutter sounds but no silent option; and two picture-quality modes (Normal and Fine). There's also a 4X zoom, but it's not available at the highest resolution. The MPEG-4 video recorder takes clips with sound to any length that the available RAM will permit. You get a choice of two resolutions--176x144 and 128x96--and a selection of editing features similar to the still camera's. To further channel your inner artist, you can activate the W600i's PhotoDJ (there's also a VideoDJ), where you can add one of six fun frames; rotate the shot's orientation; and use various image effects such as brightness, contrast, tint control, and photo marking. And if that doesn't satisfy, there are more picture-, video-, and multimedia-editing options on the software CD. When finished with your shots, you can save them to the phone or send them to your friends. Photo quality was quite good for a camera phone, with sharp colors and little of the blurriness that we usually encounter. Videos, on the other hand, were choppy and pixelated.

The Sony Ericsson W600i offers gaming options that far surpass those of the W800i. Not only is there support for 3G games, but the gaming ergonomics is among the best we've seen on a cell phone. All games are played on a landscape orientation, and the control layout is quite comfortable for extended use. Besides the phone-navigation controls, which are on the left when the phone is held horizontally, you use two small controls just above the display, which are now on the right side of the phone. The latter buttons have no other use than gaming, and they blend in so well with the design of the phone that we didn't notice them previously. Overall, these improvements worked together to make gaming much more fun and intuitive. Our test W600i shipped with three Java (J2ME) games: Extreme Air Snowboarding, Gauntlet, and Worms Forts 3. You can personalize the handset with a selection of wallpaper, themes, start-up screens, or screensavers. You can always download more personalization options and ring tones if you want them, or you can create your own ring tones with the MusicDJ application.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Sony Ericsson W600i Walkman world phone in San Francisco using Cingular's calling network. Call quality was excellent and somewhat better than the Sony Ericsson W800i's. We enjoyed admirable clarity and volume, and many callers couldn't tell we were using a cell phone. Also, the signal remained relatively strong, and we had little interference from other electronic devices. Our only complaint was that voices occasionally sounded metallic--almost as if we were speaking to a robot. It was particularly noticeable when using the Jabra BT500 Bluetooth headset. Although we were able to pair the two devices quickly, call quality when using the headset diminished somewhat. On the other hand, calls using the speakerphone sounded relatively good.

Using the included Disc2Phone software and USB cable, we tried loading 40.4MB of music on to the phone. As with the W800i, transfer time was relatively slow, at 3 minutes, 30 seconds for the entire selection. The software itself has a simple interface, and while it's easy to use overall, it had a couple of bothersome quirks. For instance, when exiting out of the software after transferring some music, the Sony Ericsson W600i didn't recognize that the USB connection was no longer active. When we disconnected the USB cable, the phone turned off automatically. On the upside, however, the USB cable charges the phone when it's plugged into your PC. Music quality was comparable to that of the W800i and the Motorola Rokr E1. Granted, it won't rival a top-end stand-alone MP3 player's, but it was superior to that of most MP3 phones we've tested.

The Sony Ericsson W600i has a rated talk time of 8.5 hours and a promised standby time of 15.6 days, both of which are slightly less than the W800i's. In our tests, we got 10 hours of talk time on a single charge. Music-only time is rated at 30 hours, but we got an average of 21.6 hours in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the W800i has a digital SAR rating of 1.26 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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