Sony Ericsson W850i: Get your tunes on a slider

The W850i is Sony Ericsson's first 3G Walkman slider phone and comes with video calling capabilities and a 2-megapixel camera

After storming the charts with the W800i, Sony Ericsson came out with a variety of different-shaped Walkman phones, but it seemed like it was avoiding the slider form factor at all costs. Up until a few weeks ago it had a couple of handsets that swivelled, but none that slid.

Fortunately, if you've been cursing at the sky for the day when a Walkman-branded phone would slide, you can now stop. The Sony Ericsson W850i is the company's first 3G Walkman slider phone, in the conventional sense, and for a first try it's pretty damn good.

The W850i features the advanced Walkman 2.0 music player, an expandable Memory Stick Pro Duo slot, a 2-megapixel camera, video calling and comes in black or white. We're disappointed to see that aside from the addition of 3G connectivity it's basically the same phone on the inside as the W810i, however the new form factor is a refreshing change.

The navigation key is a different take on Sony Ericsson's usual joystick or four-way key and features a dipped design with four small buttons. We're impressed with this fresh offering, but what we're really looking forward to is the Sony Ericsson W950i that has a massive 4GB of internal memory and is set to truly compete in the standalone MP3 player market.

The W850i will be available in a couple of weeks at O2 and Phones4U, among other retailers, and comes free on a monthly contract of around £20 a month. Expect a full review soon. -AL