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Sony Ericsson W910i review

Sony Ericsson W910i review
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Retail Price: RM 550
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The Sony Ericsson W910i is an HSDPA Walkman phone that is designed for entertainment; whether music, 3D games, video, or high-speed Web access. It's also geared to let you choose your music, your way. select Shake control and just flick the phone to control games or skip and shuffle between tracks. Or opt for SensMe?and discover music to match your mood and tempo.
Review On : Sony Ericsson W910i
Review by Dmitriy Ryabinin (smape.com)
The much anticipated flagship of the Walkman series, the W910i slider. The model is obviously remarkable for its looks, since it・s one of the thinnest music phones within its class.

The stylish body has all the latest SE developments inside - both Shake Control and SenseMe, which will be thoroughly reviewed a little way down in the article, these are really fascinating features that SE can for sure be proud of. In addition to that, the sales package includes a Bluetooth headset, a whole 1 Gb flash card and even a card reader! The novelty is based off the latest revision of the A200 Software platform and comes supplied with an integrated motion sensor. All this summed up gives us one of the most intriguing premieres of the season.
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Price often serves as the most convincing criterion for picking a phone, and it・s true that W910 is slightly overpriced as it appears upon the first glance - the features stuffed inside are mostly on an average level (including the somewhat plain camera) save for a few top class features. If there・s an explanation to this fact, that would be a lame excuse: statistically the average price of SE phones is the highest, so the only thing that・s left to do is to inspect the device more closely finding out whether it has to offer something worthy of shelling out the godless price. Inside the package we found:
  • A battery
  • A charger
  • An USB data cable
  • A Bluetooth stereo headset - it・s still unclear whether the commercial version will be shipped with the DS-200 or DS-220 model
  • A wire stereo headset
  • A 1 Gb Memory Stick Micro (M2) card
  • A USB adapter for the M2 stuff
  • A copy of the Media Manager software
  • A synchro software
  • A user manual
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    Design & Ergonomics
    The slider form factor was rarely seen among Sony Ericsson products, but there were a few Walkman phones designed in this way. The first try at making some sliding stuff was relatively successful - the W850i turned out fairly all right on the whole, unlike the poor Nokia guys who had a very hard time trying to piece together a good slider - it hasn・t been until recently that Nokia sliders got up to the rest of the company・s products in terms of quality and ergonomics. Getting back to the topic, the W910i sports a fine sliding mechanism, the implementation is close to brilliant. It・s tight, smooth and only takes a single push of the finger for the sliding part to go the full way automatically, so your only options are to have the phone either open or closed, but no matter how good you are at mishandling sliders, you won・t be able to have the upper part stuck somewhere halfway.
    Oh, we just forget to tell you that you can hardly expect to see a fairly noticeable play between the parts because there・s none and neither does the mechanism seem to develop any during usage. But there・s one nasty little thing about, the back surface of the upper part has a really bad coating - not in the sense of looks or feel but just because the fact it gets scratched by the guide rails in about two weeks. And there・s nothing you can do or say to change this. The bottom of the casing acts as the finger rest for opening the phone. The matte coating resists greasing, so you there・s no problem here.
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    The casing is made from plastic with a few metal pieces added. The back panel sports a black soft-touch coating. The device is available in two alternate colors - Hearty Red and Noble Black, which looks like there・s some gender segmentation and similar sophisticated terms on the minds of SE・s market experts that they hope will increase sales by catering towards people of both sexes - the women are expected to pick red while men would allegedly choose black. The overall design looks stylish yet ascetic, the slim (less than a millimeter) build only adds to the impression. Unlike the less expensive W580i and S500i, this one shows no signs of any ornamental design or additional texturing which gives the device a more plain look, yet only exaggerates its strict lines. This slider really has a bit of the Spartan spirit about it.
    The overall dimensions of the novelty are on an average level save probably for the unusual slimness. That・s a good point on the side of ergonomics, the new Walkman is a pleasure to hold in the hand, though the same can hardly be said about the keypad. Unlike the W880i and T650i models, the buttons are of a quite regular type and size, but they just don・t feel tight enough on pressing so you can hardly feel if the button was properly pressed or not. The backlighting is weak and it・s hard to guess what exact button you・re pressing if you・re in a dark room; though you can easily distinguish between horizontal rows of buttons, it・s way harder in the vertical sense, the buttons are rather poorly separated if we look at each individual column. Finally, the keypad itself has a rather cheap look as if it were just wrapped in cellophane V doesn・t hurt functionality yet spoils the image of a top-positioned device.
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    There are no lighting effects save probably for the navigation block switching from white to orange every time you activate the player mode (orange seems to be the trademark color of the Walkman series) The wire headset that・s shipped along with the phone (HPM-70) doesn・t sport a high quality and the Bluetooth one (DS-200) has Play and Stop controls only, this doesn・t help the device・s image much. Sticking to the well-established SE tradition, the interface slot also serving as the hack for the wire headset is of the trademark design and placed on the left edge of the phone V that・s not the first SE device to follow this principle. By trademark design we mean that traditional 3,5 mm standard is a no go here, unlike the recent products by Nokia which came on terms with the widely accepted standard, putting aside the grotesquely shaped designer slots.
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    The navigation block has nothing very special about it, but now it comes with dedicated call buttons which has been rarely seen before among SE products (until the release of K850i, to be more precise). Besides those, there・s also the navigation button with the OK label on it (and acting as the OK button as well), two touch buttons and the quick buttons with Menu and Cancel functions bound to them. On the right side the luminance sensor is found. The video call camera is placed above the screen, the back surface hosts the main 2 Mpix camera with a phone status indicator nearby. The bottom edge is completely deserted, and the left one hosts the above mentioned interface slot. The power and Walkman buttons are positioned at the top edge, the right edge has the volume control rocker button and a fully functional M2 slot of course with the hot swap capability and the single-positioned camera button, like most phones which have cameras without the auto-focusing capability
    Two photo buttons are placed above the screen. The right one calls the thumbnails, the left one opens the selected photo or clip. Considering the secondary status of the W910i camera (2 Mpix with no auto-focus capability), the actual practical advantage that comes with these two buttons is challengeable in a big way. The player button at the same time is somewhat less comfortable than one would expect from a purely musical phone, hidden at the upper edge of the handset along with the power button V fancy some SE engineers mixing things up end giving a Walkman the controls of a Cyber-shot. It stands to reason that it would be much better to have the dedicated player controls placed at a more reachable location while there・s no real necessity for any photo buttons with this model. We were really surprised seeing SE having settled the things in quite the opposite way.
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    The battery cover sports an improvised lock so it won・t be gone accidentally. The SIM card slot has a lot in common with similar slots found in other SE products, it・s a bit hard to get the SIM card out, the solution doesn・t look like it took a lot of thinking from the engineers・ part so here・s the result. Right in the vicinity of the battery cover lock rests the protective metal mesh that keeps the speaker out of the harm・s way. Despite the fact it・s placed on the back, the sound doesn ・t get muffled or distorted when the phone is lying on a desk or similar flat surface V a really huge practical improvement over the K850i model which failed in this aspect. Let's compare to Samsung E840:
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    Let's compare to Sony Ericsson W580i:
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    Communications
    Sony Ericsson W910i is designed to operate in GSM 850/900/1800/1900 and UMTS 850/1900/2100 frequency bands, it supports GPRS and EDGE. Similar to K850i it・s among the pioneer devices comprising 3G support and EDGE functionality. For instance, the W85 had a special focus on it. Instead of HSCSD like in K800i, HSDPA is supported. The W910i is deprived of an external antenna out (in a most unexplainable manner V all of the precursors had that socket)
    The wireless communications of W910i include Bluetooth 2.0 and EDR. It works quite all right, and also behaves nicely with the Bluetooth headset. We used the bundled DS-200 one, it worked like a dream. Sony Ericsson products sport the best A2DP implementation on the market. In addition to that, the following profiles are supported:
  • Basic Imaging
  • Dial-up Networking
  • File Transfer
  • Generic Access
  • Generic Object Exchange
  • Handsfree
  • Headset
  • HID
  • JSR-82 Java API
  • Object Push
  • Personal Area Networking
  • Serial Port
  • Synchronization
  • SyncML OBEX binding
  • Audio/Video Remote Control
  • Phonebook Access
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photos Bluetooth can now be used even in the Flight Mode which was out of the questions in the earlier models.
    The original trademark socket is used for plugging the cable V the manufacturer claims it・s pure USB 2.0 but in fact it works like it weren・t anywhere near 2.0 V the speed is much lower. Modem connection, Mass Storage and PictBridge modes are supported, you can select the mode in the appropriate menu. The Mass Storage connection worked quite all right for us, both storage arrays were correctly detected and available for data exchange V the user memory of the phone itself and the memory expansion card. The Sony Ericssson PC Suite software allows for phone-to-PC synchronization, the program comes on the bundled CD.
    An integrated FM tuner with track recognition functionality comes in handy, making use of the TrackID service. RDS is fully supported, up to 20 favorite frequencies can be bookmarked. The application interface is neat and easy to get along with. The signal quality stays on a irreproachable level. The sound volume of the speaker and the wire headset is quite good yet not as loud as in Nokia phones, while the Bluetooth headset is, on the other hand, louder.
    Memory
    Sony Ericsson W910i offers some 35 Mb of ROM which is a very modest value considering the musical orientation of the device, but a 1 Gb expansion card of the M2 type comes with the sales package. An M2-USB card reader is another accessory included in the price of the product that you will find bundled with the handset V this is the first time SE includes a thing like that, must be another try at advertising the well-known Memory Stick (in K850i that was combined with microSD). It・s hardly believable that the manufacturer will drop pushing forward their trademark stuff to let the customer audience yield a breath of relief, - since SE spent too much money and time into developing that kind of stuff, - but at least they are trying to make these features more user friendly and usable V for instance, the M2 capacity limit was raised to 4 GB for W910i so if you try to take maximum advantage out of this memory stick business, at least you won・t be faced with any compatibility issues.
    Display
    Sony Ericsson W910i comes with a TFT-powered display with a QVGA resolution of 320x240. It can display up to 262K colors, and the diagonal is as long as 2,2・・. The image in fact looks very appeasing V it・s all right about the contrast, brightness and color depth, let alone the very good view angles offering you a great liberty of glance V you can try looking at the screen from all imaginable spots and angles, in the majority of cases you do see the actual picture without any glaring or fading which you might expect. The mirror backing helps to do away with the nasty side effects when the screen is exposed to direct sunlight.
    User Interface
    Along with K850i, the device in question became one of the first models based off the A200 updated software platform. There aren・t any revolutionary changes, but a good deal of improvements won・t leave you untouched:
  • Media Gallery
  • Walkman player 3.0 + DRM 2.0
  • Smart Search
  • Java Platform 8 (JP-8)
  • Increased phonebook capacity (5000)
  • New Browser (NetFront 3.4)
  • ActiveSync and MTP Support (Media Transfer Protocol)
    A large number of minor improvements are just finishing touches over the whole panorama of SonyEricsson product evolution V the newer generation of devices, while offering a better functionality, still respects the heritage of the older platform. Nothing went upside down so SE fans can sleep peacefully.
    The user is offered a number of visual themes to choose from. Both stock and custom wallpapers can be used for each individual theme, the screensaver is also customizable V any .swf animation would fit. During standby, the screen is rich in information: the status line at the top of the screen displays icons indicating the signal level, battery charge, message and call notices, Bluetooth activation status and so on. The size of the screen clock is also customizable, there・s an appropriate menu item on the screen settings tab.
    The main menu looks in the traditional way of most SE products: a total of four rows of bright, neat looking animated icons which can be optionally replaced with a fascinating flash-theme with a lot of customizable aspects including the icon order, size, animation, color and so on. Moving the selection from one icon to another is accompanied with a slight vibration if the selected them has this feature turned on. Five themes come preinstalled on the device. The twelve icons make up the main menu:
  • PlayNow
  • Internet
  • Entertainment
  • Camera
  • Messaging
  • Media
  • Radio
  • Contacts
  • Walkman
  • Calls
  • Organizer
  • Settings
    The menu can be navigated through by pressing the numeric buttons in a desired sequence, each key corresponding to a menu item with the same number that should be activated. Besides the vertically arranged menu items, some menus contain horizontal sub-tabs, e.g. the File manager of Call log menus, such tabs can be opened or minimized by pressing the navigation button left or right.
    The menu enjoys a sound implementation, the only drawback being the lack of an option to customize the order in which the menu items follow V Nokia and Motorola have been offering such functionality for quite a while by now. For instance, there・s the PlayNow 4.0 service icon, giving quick access to games, ringtones and music catalogues by Sony BMG. This feature is scarcely handy in everyday usage, and most users would gladly replace it with something more close to life, e.g. a profiles menu shortcut or something of the kind but not with this model, alas!
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    There・s also a quick menu with four tabs:
  • New Events
  • Running apps
  • My shortcuts
  • Internet
    The first one lists all the events: reminders, calls and messages. The second one shows the list of currently running applications, in fact it・s a task manager that allows switching between currently running Java tasks. This, for instance, allows playing your favorite game and talking to people over ICQ at the same time with no need to interrupt either process. This feature is one of the cornerstones of the platform. The third tab of the quick menu stores user shortcuts. The fourth is for keeping bookmarks and links to frequently used resources.
    Call Service
    The phonebook can store up to 5000 records (in contrary to the old value of 1000), up to 7 numbers associated with each record (the number was five in earlier models), namely being home number, three types of mobile numbers V common, personal and work, the work number, fax and a misc number. Upon adding a new number to an existing record the user is asked to specify the type of the number, duplicate types are not allowed V only one number per type is the rule, e.g. you can・t store three home numbers or two work numbers associated assigned to the same phonebook record. You don・t to open a record each time you want to list all the numbers since you can browse through them by pressing the navigation button sideways right in the contact list. Any of the numbers associated with a contact record can be selected as the default one (it will be automatically dialed, if not purposely specified otherwise, each time you call that person).
    Miscellaneous field of a phonebook record include e-mail address, IM number, Web address, regular mail address, work position, company, home and work addresses and the date of birth, which is synchronized with the corresponding calendar event.
    Contact records can be distributed between various user groups however you can・t distinguish a group by giving it a unique icon or ringtone V which for sure is a sad thing. Though that doesn・t keep you from giving unique ringtone and icon to each individual record V you can even select one of your voice records for that.
    The contact list is split between the people whose records are stored in the phone memory and those unlucky outcasts who happened to reside on the SIM card V the thing is that in full accordance with the weird SE tradition you can・t put the both kinds on the same list V the only option that is left to the user is switching between the phone and SIM contact lists. Also you can specify which one will be used as the default phonebook. You can also check an option that would automatically save all the new phonebook records to the SIM card, not quite sure what・s the trick here and why one would want to use the SIM card as their primary phonebook. But the most important option is the one that makes a backup of the whole contact book and writes it to the memory expansion card. Unfortunately, SonyEricsson didn・t provide us with any blacklisting functionality (e.g. similar to the Samsung blacklisting option) so you either have to drop unwanted calls or look for a 3rd party Java application that would add blacklisting to the rest of vanilla features. You can only sort records either by first name or by last name, there・s no option to use other fields as search criteria.
    Smart Search is a phone number filter that pretends to be smart. If you begin typing a number in standby, the phone reacts by displaying a pop-up with all the numbers beginning with the initial digits you just typed put on a list to pick the one whom you want to call or send a message. The system is practically identical with the same stuff found with Samsung and WM-based phones.
    The number of voice marks you can leave for further usage with the voice dial option is limited to 40 V that・s an outdated system they・re using, no changes can be traced from the days of T610i, we wouldn・t say it・s too comfortable (well, telling the truth, it in fact isn・t). Motorola phones for instance sport a much better realization of this feature.
    PhotoID and VideoID services are well-implemented, the image used as the call icon is large enough. The font in which the phone numbers are displayed during dialup is big enough to see from a distance. Numeric keys from 2 to 9 can be used as quick dial shortcuts, the only thing you need is to associate a phone number with a particular keypad button.
    The call log shares a common SE design V received, dialed and missed calls are shown on the same list, each call type distinguished with a corresponding icon, but you can also switch between separate logs for each specific call type by pressing the navigation button left and right.
    Messaging
    Sony Ericsson are known for the efficiency of the messaging system they・re putting in their phones V up to 1000 SMS can be stored in the user memory (plus the SIM card SMS storage), the MMS service also enjoys on the best implementations ever. Besides you can read RSS feeds, just specify the address and title of the feed and you・re done, no specific settings are required for that. Messages can be categorized, but seemingly no other differences from the traditional messaging system widely found with other SE devices. Upon creating a new message the user is prompted to select one of the following types: Text message, Picture message, Voice message or E-mail.
    A fast symbol line prompts when to expect the needed symbol while you・re typing - s very helpful aid to those who seldom compose messages. The maximum message length is limited to 1900, up to eight lines of text fall into the field of view simultaneously. The Copy & Paste function is a very helpful addition that allows either for the whole text or for selected fragments of it to be copied. Besides a limited number of Nokia models, no analogous functionality is known to exist on the market. The function can be called through the context menu, then you have to mark the beginning and the ending of the fragment you want to select. Additional messaging features include T9 input, emoticons, chat support.
    You can select one of the 7 stock signals for the incoming message sound or choose a custom audio file. Options include the so-called .reading notice・ V if activated, the recipient of the message will be asked for a acknowledgement that the message was read that he can confirm V it really makes sense for messages of extreme urgency when it・s vital to know that the message was read by the recipient.
    The E-Mail client is not bad yet it could use a little bit more functionality. Attachments are supported, they can be saved to ROM no matter if it can be correctly recognized by the application. There・s no support for viewing Office files. E-mail messages can be sorted by size, date and time or by the content of the message itself. Three font sizes are available for the messages: small, medium and large. The message can be displayed in fullscreen mode, the copy/paste functionality is supported.
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    The following coding tables are supported:
  • ISO: ISO-8859-1, ISO-8859-2, ISO-8859-5, ISO-8859-7, ISO-8859-9.ISO-8859-10
  • Windows: Windows-1251, Windows-1252, Windows-1254, Windows-1255, Windows-1258
  • US-ASCII
  • Unicode: UTF-7, UTF-8, UTF-16
  • Japanese: Shift.JIS, ISO-2022-JP
  • Cyrillic: KOI8-R
  • Simplified Chinese: GB2312, GB18030
  • Traditional Chinese: Big5
  • Thai TIS - 60
    Thanks to the updated A200 platform and its enhanced Multimedia support, all the latest SE devices have a fine set of MMS features. You use multimedia files as attachments, choosing a file from File Manager, Contacts, Calendar, Task, Note, Browser (vBookmark) or right from the camera. The following formats are supported:
    Audio:
  • AAC, AMR, MPEG Layer 3, Real 8, AWB, WAV, MP4, MIDI, iMelody, 3GPP, XMF, M4A, RHZ, WMA
  • Video: MPG4, 3GPP, SDP, Real8, WMV
  • graphics: JPEG, GIF87, GIF89A, PNG, SVG, WBMP, BMP
    As we see, the list is quite impressive for a non-smartphone device. The image attachment can either keep the original size or be resized to one of the following resolutions: 640x480, 320x240 or 120x160. Message options include message auto-loading, delivery and reading notices, message composition mode (where you select from strict size limit / size warning if exceeds)
    PIM
    The calendar can be viewed by month or by week, the latter case features daily and hourly scheduling, a quick jump to a specified year, month or day is always possible. Each reminder can be given a specific type, duration, location and a preliminary notice. If the appropriate option is activated, the reminders will work even while the phone is turned off. A full-blown support is given to recurring and expiring events (older than a day or a weak), also there・s the very handy search function for looking things up in notices, reminders and other events.
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    Each day can be associated with a meeting (you need to specify a subject, the start and end times, the interval of repetition at which the reminder will occur and a general description). The tasklist has a very modest realization: either the task label or the phone call label, just these two event types to select from.
    The birthday field found with every contact in your phonebook is synchronized with the PIM so you won・t miss your grandma・s birthday V you will be warned beforehand so you get a good chance of coming in time and with a gorgeous present. (Please don・ t think I・m so keen on grannies V you see, the guy who writes the original Russian articles is fond of ugly language stamps and awkward phrases, and this grandmother business mentioned every time when it comes to the PIM and the calendar has gotten on my nerves just as much as on yours, - you are sure to have read the same rubbish in the reviews for several times before, so please be prepared for seeing the same hackneyed grandmother tale for a thousand more times, sorry messieurs and mesdames - I can・t be bothered with rewriting articles from scratch since in essence I・m a translator and not a journalist, and besides I want you all to witness the fact that being a huge cell phone expert doesn・t mean having a huge talent in the way of belles-lettres; I・m sick and tired of wading through miles of poorly composed Russian text trying to give to all this rant a more or less human face before rendering it into English, maybe some day they・ll hire a professional journalist to help our hardware experts out since the experts・ native Russian sucks up to the point where the very crappy essence of its lameness manages to make it even into the English translations no matter how hard I・m trying to filter stuff, be it known to you that you were all overly blessed by not being able to read the original Russian texts which feel like a mixture of cheap trailer trash phrases and cold war rhetoric, mind the hammer btw lolz - Neurotically yours, the translator guy)
    The alarm clock can be set either to be activated once or following a preset weekly schedule, that・s just more than enough. Any song can be set as the signal.
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    Notes, timer, stopwatch and calculator V all this stuff is quite standard, the only interesting thing here is the simple yet handy password manager. You・re right to guess that its used for storing all kinds of user passwords.
    Multimedia
    The products of Sony-Ericsson Company are traditionally not bad in this sphere, especially in terms of format compatibility. The phone supports MP4 (AAC, AAC+, eAAC+), MP3 (officially it supports bitrates up to 192kbit/sec, but in our tests the device was able to handle even higher bitrates), MP4, 3GP (video: MPEG4 or H.263, H.264; sound: 3gp, AAC or AMR) , RealVideo 8, WMV, ASF; graphics: JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, SVG, WBMP. In other words, it supports all popular formats.
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    Let・s start with the Media graphics viewer. As a matter of fact it is just a viewer, but a very peculiar one - with an interface like Sony PSP and a motion sensor which changes the display orientation. To judge the latter, it・s all solely up to the person・s liking, to put it mildly, because some would find it comfortable and the others surely wouldn・t. As for the shake controls, it supports the left turn only, if the phone rotates to the right or turns upside down, nothing happens. But should you happen, for instance, to browse through the gallery lying on the left side, the phone would change the screen orientation automatically without any action required from the user. If this feature annoys you, you can always switch it off.
    Sony Ericsson weren・t the first developers who had committed a fault implementing this option. One of the latest solutions at last free of the issue is a Samsung handset, whose older relatives suffered from the same quirk. Besides controlling the screen orientation, this feature is only used in a few applications like the MarbleMadness game. Getting back to the media gallery options, let・s see what functions are available to the user. The menu items are: Photo, Music, Video, TV, Settings. The functionality of each is described below:
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    Photo. It is a key point of the new Cyber-shot flagship, which lets you browse your photo gallery in the thumbnail mode and view selected picture, it also has a sorting feature and grants access to subfolders. It also has a slide-show feature and the whole functionality of the gallery application appears to be better, for instance, than Samsung G600, but on the other hand in Nokia N95 the gallery still has more features.
    Music. Grants access to audio content where you can sort songs by performer, album, track name, etc. The audio player application itself is sufficient for all the basic needs but little else. We・ll give it a detailed examination a little bit further in the article.
    Video This is a video player, video clips catalogue and subcasts.
    TV. This is digital television, which is currently not in a high demand because the device doesn・t support Wi-Fi. Waiting for 3GK
    Settings. Miscellaneous settings so far include only one category V the motion sensor. It is possible to configure portrait or landscape settings manually or activate auto-rotation.
    The Walkman player was updated to v3. The navigation went through some changes, DRM 2.0 support appeared along with some other minor updates. For example, Digital Right Manager (DRM) is used to describe technologies, which provide music access control. Is it really so important?
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    Some time ago Open Mobile Alliance organization prepared a packet of research documents describing methods of digital content distribution, interaction protocols for mobile phones and other DRM devices. OMA DRM standard provides the ability to control mobile content usage. This occurs by means of adding special copyright signatures to the distributed content. The signatures define the end user usage policy, which may include time limits or a fixed number of launches, and other kinds of protection . Different combinations of these parameters are also available.
    What does the second revision of the platform bring on? Back in 2001, methods like Forward Lock, Combined Delivery, Separate Delivery were on the OMA DRM 1.0 specifications list. In comparison with it, the newer specifications also define a set of functional extensions, such as Domains, combined object rights etc. V something like logical continuation, but nothing else. The player controls are very comfortable, settings like track repeat, play random, sorting by performer, genre, extended stereo (but this option really does not affect the sound quality) are included. There is also the progressive track rewinding. The info on the currently playing song is on the phone screen.
    The controls are very comfortable, settings include repeat, reshuffle, random song autoselect, sorting by performer, genre and extended stereo (though the latter option has almost no perceptible effect on the quality of sound). Progressive rewind is quite expectedly supported. The current song info tab has an eye catching, nice design.
    The lack of player skins looks rather lame in comparison with Nokia products of the latest generation. The built-in shake control function provides you to control the player through shaking the device. The function dubbed :SensMe; allows you to choose the music according to your current mood. Now you can search the compositions and make playlist based on music style and tempo, not only by album or artist, as it used to be. Unique visualization effects allow you to display the tracks as matrix bitmaps, lying closer of farther from horizontal and vertical axes, symbolizing the song genre. So you can compose a playlist perfectly corresponding to your mood. Not a bad replacement for the ordinary sorting function.
    The headsets included in the sales package sport a high quality yet lack extended playback controls. The sound volume is sufficient for most environments yet it・s lower in comparison with the competing solutions. The sound quality is quite good, it can even beat the latest Nokia phones and almost reaches Samsung models.
    The TrackID service is fully operational. With it・s help you can record a part of a composition, then it is sent to the web. The information about the song title and performer name, if available, is forwarded to you in a message. This also means that the track is in the database and, of course, you can purchase it immediately. The service could be interesting to a large number of users, mostly the youth. This feature is also useful with an FM tuner.
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    The integrated editors include PhotoDJ for handling images, the VideoDJ and MusicDJ respectively deal with video and music. The photo editor allows for all the basic imaging functions:
  • Rotate
  • Auto levels
  • Brightness
  • Auto light balance
  • Contrast
  • Remove Red Eye
  • Apply Effect (Negative, Cartoon, Frosted glass, Painting)
  • Add Item (Frame, Clipart, Text)
    The other two are less interesting, the edition of music tracks in midi format, the creation of short video clips with standard effects. The need is nominal.
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    The voice recorder allows to record phone talks as well, but you have to go to the appropriate menu to turn it on. The record length is only limited by the remaining memory space.
    Preinstalled software
    Besides multimedia applications, as we have already mentioned, the phone also has a set of pre-installed software, such as NetFront browser supporting SmartFit technology, which can show you standard pages in a single column. There are also an option for saving pictures from the web to the phone, landscape mode display, page zoom. But for those who are keen on Internet, OperaMini remains the best choice.
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    Java implementation is simply brilliant:
  • Java 2, Micro Edition (J2ME)
  • CLDC1.1(JSR139)
  • MIDP2.0(JSR118)
  • Wireless Messaging API (JSR 120/205)
  • Mobile Media API (JSR 135)
  • Java Technology for the Wireless Industry (JSR 185)
  • Java API for Bluetooth (JSR 82)
  • PDA Optional Packages for J2ME? Platform (JSR 75)
  • Web Services (JSR 172)
  • Advanced Multimedia Supplements API (Cam?era Capabilities of JSR-234)
  • Java 3D
  • Mascot Capsule Micro3D Version 3
  • Mobile 3D Graphics API for J2ME (JSR 184)
  • Java Platform 8 (JP-8)
    Java Platform 8 (JP8) is especially remarkable. W910i (on the same level with the other A200-based novelties) had become the first mobile phone with a functionality like this. Putting aside the details, this instrument is a programmer・s paradise because it provides instant messaging and chats, money transactions and safe identification and much more.
    Java Performance will be examined later.
    Among the pre-installed games we would like to mention the well-made Tennis Multiplay V a classic sports entertainment with 3D graphics. Also there is Marble Madness 3D, which makes use of the motion sensor. The remote control application allows to operate a remote PC provided that it has a special program installed on it; that program is included in the software CD that comes with the phone. The last two memorable things are FaceWarp and HP Print.
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    A quite simple file manager with basic functionality is also provided. And there, in contrast with the contacts book, it is possible to show the content from user memory and memory expansion card either separately or on a single list.
    Installing new software takes almost no time and never brings any trouble, sending the jar file via Bluetooth is the only thing you need to install an application. Similar to other devices by this manufacturer, you can run several Java applications simultaneously. The performance of the Java virtual machine is enough even for a large number of applications run at the same time. An active application can be minimized without interrupting the process. The list of currently running applications is shown on the corresponding tab of the Activity menu. Applications can be closed, switched between, everything is user-friendly to the limit.
    Settings
    Traditionally there are five tab pages with settings:
  • General
  • Sounds & alerts
  • Display
  • Calls
  • Connectivity
    On the first tab you can select the profile (Normal, Meeting, In car, Outdoors, Handsfree, Home, Office), but you cannot create a new profile, though customizing an existing profile is allowed.
    Date/Time adjustment, language selection is done in the same menu; update service voice control settings are held at the same place. To dial a number using only your voice you would have to record your own marks, there is no functionality like in the latest generation of Nokia or Motorola phones. You can also answer a call with your voice, listen to the name of the caller, set the so-called :magic word; V a voice command enabling voice control when an accessory like handsfree or automobile speakerphone is connected.
    The way you are given notices is also customizable: a pop-up window or a reminder on the Events list.
    The :flight mode; option is available but this model is still unable to work without a SIM card, which is a major drawback in comparison with competitive products by Nokia.
    On the second tab you can choose the ringtone and set the volume, activate the XXX ring, vibration, set up keyboard sounds, light effects etc.
    On the third tab you it is possible to select a theme or a custom wallpaper, the welcome message, the screensaver, its brightness (default 100%), screen clock size (small or large)
    On the fourth all call stats functions (Speed dial, Time & cost, Show/hide my no.), and Smart Search are list.
    The last tab allows you to configure Bluetooth and USB, synchronization, Internet access, data transfer modes, etc.
    Camera
    The camera is a typical mid-end solution, but for the price of W910i it is quite a poor offering V an inexpensive 2 Mpix module with no autofocus. Camera is located at the top edge of the slider; it is exposed to physical damage, scratching and dust even while the slider is closed. The flashlight and the self-portrait mirror aren・t included, though neither was the model recommended as a camera phone.
    The photos are taken in the landscape orientation. The maximum resolution is 1600x1200 for photos and 176x144 (15 fps) for video. So the video quality is just low as it sounds. The interface is quite all right. The best thing about the gallery is that clip thumbnails aren・t static, they start playing when selected. Playback is well done, the best resolution for watching videos is 320x240 pixels, the standard framerate is 30 fps.
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    Zoom is done by pressing the sound volume button, to control brightness you have to use the horizontal extremities of the navigation button. During the photo mode the display is moderately informative: there is a frame counter, the shooting mode switch, a number of preferences and settings along with the return function, and also the folder where the photos are saved. Switching between photo and video is done by pressing the navigation button right or left.
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    Sony Ericsson W910i Photo Settings:
    Shoot modesNormal, Panorama, Frames, Burst
    Picture size2 MP (1600x1200)
    1 MP (1280x960)
    VGA (640x480)
    Night Mode On, Off
    Self-timer On, Off
    Effects Off, Black & white, Negative, Sepia
    White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent
    Picture quality Normal, Fine
    Shutter sounds On, Off
    Turn on time and date Adds a timestap to the image
    Save to user memory, memory expansion card
    Sony Ericsson W910i Camera settings:
    Video size
    QCIF (176x144)
    Shoot modes For picture message, High quality video
    Night Mode On, Off
    Effects Off, Black & white, Negative, Sepia
    White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent
    Turn on/off microphone Yes
    Save to memory user memory, memory expansion card

    Image quality is somewhere a bit below the middle judging by the modern standards. More or less comprehensible photos can be achieved only with an ideal light setting, in the rest of the cases the pictures taken with this phone look in a way disappointing. It・s more than evident that camera is not the priority.
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    There are two picture resolutions available for video calls: QCIF (176X144) and SQCIF (128X96). Zoom, as it used to be, is 2x digital (3x for the main camera). The brightness is adjustable, but the white balance has only a single setting, :auto;. There is also a nighttime mode available.
    Performance
    As usual, the Java implementation is on a high level. W910i supports 3D profiles and sending midlets via Bluetooth.
    Jbenchmark 1.0.1 Score 7222
    Text 1964
    2D Shapes 1983
    3D Shapes 873
    Fill Rate 667
    Animation 1735
    Jbenchmark 2.0.1 Score 978
    Image Manipulations 321
    Text 657
    Sprites 505
    3D Transform 662
    User Interface 12617
    Jbenchmark 3D HQ 371
    Jbenchmark 3D LQ 424
    Triangles ps 30619
    KTexels ps 1517
    Jbenchmark HD Gaming Score 151 (5.0 fps)
    Smooth triangles 28641
    Textured triangles 24299
    Fill rate, KTexels 1972

    The device has passed all the tests successfully.
    Market perspectives
    The new flagship model from the Walkman series appears to be in many ways interesting, but seriously overrated. Of course, we took full consideration of the rich sales package and the unique specifications. But even with all this stuff on hands, the device is grossly overpriced. As expected, W910i will begin selling by the end of October. The closest possible (and by the way, significantly more successful) replacement claiming the same niche as part of its market coverage is Nokia N81, which is going to in November V by the time when Sony Ericsson・s candidate will be available in full supply worldwide. Let・s guess:
    SonyEricsson W910i Nokia N81
    Dimensions: 99.5 x 50 x 12.5 mm 102 x 50 x 17.9 mm
    Weight: 86 g 140 g
    Storage: 35 Mb + M2 (1 Gb) 12 Mb + microSD (2 Gb)
    Display:2,4; , QVGA, 262K 2,4; , QVGA, 16M
    Wireless protocols: Bluetooth 2.0 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0
    Camera: 2 Mpix, no autofocus 2 Mpix, no autofocus
    EDGE: + +
    FM-tuner: + +
    Battery: 930 mAh 1050 mAh

    As we can see, the Finnish try at making a music slider proved more successful and less expensive. Don・t forget that this is a fully functional Symbian smartphone based off the S60 platform, while W910i is just an ordinary mobile phone. N81 also possesses powerful a powerful gaming component, it fully supports the new N-Gage gaming technology, includes a larger memory card in the sales package, and offers a full Wi-Fi support. Finally there is the beefed up, slightly more expensive version with 8 Gb of user memory (but lacking the memory expansion slot) W910i just has a thinner body and there・s nothing more on the advantage list. Enhancements like Shake Control and SenseMe, and the quality Bluetooth headset make this device advantageous in a way but still it・s a controversial niche product oriented only at a certain part of the music-listening audience. The Nokia solution covers a larger audience and thus is more successful and profitable for its creators. The market success of Nokia N81 is also owed to a lower price which is the most vital criteria for the consumer majority, and the difference from W910i is quite great V obviously, to the better side. A serious rival quite capable of challenging the both will be officially announced soon - Samsung F330. Look forward to the upcoming review devoted to the Korean novelty.
    opinion
    Sony Ericsson W910i, upon a second glance at the price label, is quite a disputable offering, which will be fully suitable only for the brand・s most devoted fans. The specialty of the new phone, - in other words the part which deals with the music, - sports a high functionality, but hardly anything else in this model deserves the same words. It clearly needs a 3.5 mm jack, some dedicated player controls and a higher sound volume. Besides this, the shake control and SenseMe features look interesting but don・t help the cause much, and won・t be needed by the majority. TrackID is just a complementary feature as well and doesn・t matter as much as SonyEricsson would think themselves. At last, the Bluetooth headset is very useful, but isn・t that much of an innovation since this kind of accessories can be purchased separately at a very acceptable price of about a50. All in all, the W910i model isn・t a revolution on the market of music phones.
    Looking outside the music sphere, the device has a rather plain set of features. A 2 mpx camera without autofocusing looks archaic placed in a model from the top price range, the M2 expansion slot isn・t as practical as you・d wish even considering the bundled card reader. Traditionally the software platform is what makes a phone popular, and now it is even more functional than before. The user interface of this model is really one of the most successful solutions available on the market, but when it comes to the music player, the latest Nokia phones based off S40 5th revision have a richer functionality, e.g. the option to switch player skins. W910i is jack of all trades but master of none, - well, save for the music maybe but still it makes no heroic deeds on this field as well, - pick it only if you・re looking for a music phone with lots of extras from all the imaginable spheresK yet no matter how hard it tried, the model wouldn・t make a decent smartphone V save for the price, maybe.
    Originally posted at Smape


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