Sony Ericsson W890i review: Sony Ericsson W890i

The Good Thin design; relatively large screen; HSDPA; excellent music player.

The Bad Lack of flash on the camera; no Wi-Fi.

The Bottom Line Sony Ericsson's last attempt at making a thin Walkman phone had us yearning for something more refined, and this is it. The Sony Ericsson W890i combines a slim and solid design with useful features and the all important Walkman functionality

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8.3 Overall

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The Sony Ericsson W890i is one of the latest additions to the Walkman phone family. As the successor to the Sony Ericsson W880i, will it be just another thin phone with titchy keys or is this possibly one of the best Walkman phones yet?

It's available from several major networks for free on a monthly contract.

Although similar to the W880i, the W890i has a much better design. It's thicker in size than its predecessor but still markedly thinner than most other phones. Because of its metal casing, it's also a tougher handset, but it's the overall quality feel of it that had us excited. Unlike many thin phones, the W890i is solid. You don't feel like you have to protect it with your life and it can definitely take a few tumbles.

On the back of the Sony Ericsson W890i there's a 3.2-megapixel camera but no LED photo light or xenon flash

Sony Ericsson also has put much more thought into the user experience with the W890i, adding a larger screen that makes viewing pictures and Web pages on the phone much more enjoyable. The navigation keys follow a much better specification -- they're easier to press and the keys on the keypad are larger and have a better layout. One of the reasons we didn't give the W880i higher marks was due to its tiny rice-grain-like keys, but we're happy to report that the W890i instead features larger, albeit still small keys that are easy to press unless you have massive thumbs.

Our only issue with the W890i's design is the proprietary headphone jack that's on the left side of the phone, which aside from making the W890i awkward to pull out of your pocket when headphones are plugged in, it also means you can't plug standard 3.5mm headphones straight into the handset without an adaptor.

We were impressed by the W880i's features, so we were keen to see what Sony Ericsson could cram into the W890i. As a Walkman phone, its music features are very similar to the W880i's but with a few added extras. Uploading music is easy using the provided Media Manager software that lets you drag and drop music straight on to the phone using a simple software interface. Using Media Manager, you can categorise individual tracks by mood in the same way as you can on the Sony Ericsson W960i.

Once uploaded, you can create playlists, adjust the equaliser and control your music using the four-way navigation key that doubles up as individual play, pause, forward and rewind music keys. The pre-installed Walkman Player 3.0 app is intuitive and neither under-featured nor packed with too many frills.

It might look like tiny, but the W890i's keypad is a massive improvement on the W880i's

As we mentioned, you can listen to music using the provided headphones or by plugging your own pair in via the 3.5mm adaptor. If you're too cool for wires, you can use a pair of Bluetooth stereo headphones, but keep in mind using Bluetooth drains more battery power.

One of our pet peeves about the W880i was that its 2-megapixel camera wasn't fantastic. We're glad to see a better, 3.2-megapixel snapper on the W890i. Sadly, this upgraded camera still doesn't have a flash or LED photo light, so shots in low light don't come out well.

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