Sam Brown

Sony Ericsson W800i - My review & opinion

“I have been using the Sony-Ericsson W800i for the past few days now and here are some of my thoughts and opinions on this fantastic phone.”

In my previous post I had a short list of noticeable features that I liked about the W800i before I purchased the phone, copied straight from the SE website. Here is my list after getting and using the phone:

Sony Ericsson W800i

Things I like about the W800i

  • USB2.0 charging
  • Walkman only mode 1
  • 262K LCD colour screen at 176×220 pixels
  • Audio can be played through the loudspeaker
  • FM radio, auto-magically finding preset channels
  • 2.0megapixel camera 2
  • Can be used as a remote control for my laptop
1 In Depth: Walkman only mode

When you turn the phone on the screen displays the Start-up Menu, their are two choices: ‘Start phone’ or ‘Music only’. Start phone does preciously what it says, you are asked to put in your PIN number and away you go.

Music only mode however just launches the Walkman functionality and no other phone functions work. Essentially turning the mobile phone into an MP3 player that can be used on Airplanes or in Hospitals where mobile phones have to be turned off. The advantages of this.. mainly battery life. When using full phone functionality the playback life off the battery if you are listening to Music is only 15-hours (not to be confused with the 400 hours standby time). But when you are in Music only mode the playback time doubles to 30-hours.. look out Apple iPods, here comes Sony-Ericsson!

2 In Depth: Camera

The digital camera onboard the W800i is 2.0megapixel with digital zoom. Because of the high resolution of the lcd screen the viewfinder is huge, bigger than that on my 3.1megapixel Sony Cybershot! The Camera has loads of great features, a shutter on the back to cover the lens (nice, my T610 photos looked horrid because of the dirt and grease on my lens), a light that is ridiculously bright for a camera phone (that has an SOS mode), and you can even set the white balance.

Record video, change resolution of photos, change the shoot mode, macro photos, night photos, self timer, and effects, the list goes on! A fantastic all-round Camera phone, but remember… its just that, a camera phone. The kind of camera you wish you had when something happens and you want a quick snap of it to remember. Not the kind of camera that is going to be replacing a proper Digital Camera used for printing photos for example!


I have a couple of dislikes so far.. when in Music Only mode you can listen to music, great, but you cant listen to your FM radio! Presumably because of the antenna but it would be nice to have the choice when in Music Only mode to turn on the FM radio if you wish. A minor issue.

My only real issue with the phone thus far is the Memory Stick Duo port. Its covered by piece of rubber that folds out of the when inserting or removing the card, and when inserting the card it doesn’t click in. There is a spring inside the slot so you can easily remove the card when the rubber is moved out the way (the spring pushes the Memory Stick out a couple of mm’s), but if you catch the rubber on something, or if it gets loose I can see a lot of lost Memory Sticks being reported. Twice now I’ve caught the rubber flap on something and the card has popped out.. its not loose like it is going to fall out, it stays in place but I think this part of the phone wasn’t quite as well designed as the rest of it.


Lastly, I took the below picture with my W800i. It is an unedited picture of my SE T610 taken at full resolution on my new phone.

Overall Impression

I love the phone, it looks fantastic.. don’t let the orange on the TV or Internet put you off, its more of a Metallic orange than a fluro orange. The high resolution and colour screen is amazing, looking at the screen on my old phone (T610) really makes me cringe, the W800i is much clearer and crisp. The buttons and joystick are small and quiet, and the applications on the phone compliment the phone well. Everything from a File Manager, to Games, VideoDj, MusicDj, and PictureDj for editing them respectively, World Clocks, Organiser, Calendar, Alarms the whole shebang!

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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.