Sony Ericsson W890i Review

I love my iPhone, there is no denying that. To compliment it, I was really looking for an ultra-thin mobile phone with loads of features. One essential feature on my list is Skype, as I am a bug user of this application. The latest mobile in my hands is a Sony Ericsson W890i, purchased from Hutchison 3G or 'three' as they are better known. The cost to me is £15 per month for 300 minutes/texts, plus 300 bonus 3-to-3 minutes. The handset was an additional £3 per month, so a total of £18 per month.

It was important that my second mobile phone had to be very slim and pocketable. At just 104x47mm and 10mm thin, this certainly meets my requirements. With battery installed it is just over 80g in weight, so very light. The casing has a metal finish and feels very luxurious, no fingerprints show and it is a nice size to hold in the hand.

The back of the unit sports a 3.2 megapixel camera and in my tests this performs OK. You activate it using a dedicated camera button on the right hand edge of the case. This side of the case also has the zoom in/out buttons (which double as volume when using as a phone). No optical zoom here, just 3x digital zoom. No flash either, so poor low light performance, but very good outdoors. So not a camera phone, but OK for the occasional snap.

The front of the unit sports the second front facing camera for video calls... not that I plan to make many of them. The screen, whilst a little on the small side, measures about 2-inches on the diagonal. It is nice and clear, with very vibrant colours. When you are playing a video back, or viewing a photo, you can set the screen to landscape mode, so it makes it pretty decent for viewing your multimedia files.

Under the screen you have the control keys. These consist of call start and end buttons on the left and right. These are surrounded by a funny shape key, where the top edge of this key are the soft keys for using in the menus. The bottom edge of the keys are for shortcuts and the 'c' button for clearing entries. In the centre you have a play/stop button, which also acts as an OK button. This is surrounded by another weird shape key for going up/down/left/right in menus or for skipping back and forth in music tracks. This configuration is a little fiddly and not the best design, but you get used to it.

The numeric keypad is pretty good. The previous W880 had tiny keys. This new model has larger keys, they are just the right size. My only complaint is they are plastic.

The menu is beautifully set out. Navigating around the menu gives you some vibrating feedback, so you know when you have moved the cursor or selected something. This is nice for some things, but when your cursor moves, you know it anyway, so why vibrate? There are a tonne of features though and everything is very easily configured, it all just makes sense.

The 'w' designates this as a Walkman phone. As such the music playback is very good. The user interface is clear and easy to understand. When playing a track back it displays mini album artwork, track title and artist. It displays the track length, time left and an animated progress bar. The speaker is pretty darn good too. Even if you are not happy with the sound, you can delve into equalisation settings and stereo widening, which both work quite well.

Wow, this phone really should have that 'w' at the beginning of the model number for 'w'ow or 'w'onderful or 'w'ealth of features. On top of all the built in stuff, three offers some truly awesome applications. Google search, Messenger, Youtube and ebay are amongst the choices. For my first application download I chose Skype. This allows me to call other Skype users free of charge, right on my mobile, how cool is that.

Before I sign off, other positives include the excellent call quality, superb selection of ringtones and excellent email management. On the negative front, the power adapter has an awful connector, so difficult to remove from the handset. To end on a positive... how many hours will this battery last... 48 hours of testing and quite heavy use and it is still showing half full... 'w'ow!

Product: Sony Ericsson W890i
Price: £18 per month minimum on three
Supplied by: Hutchison 3G
Contact: 0800 358 1410