Sony Ericsson W300i

August 15th, 2006 Mobile Phones, Tech, The West Australian

$499

The first thing you’ll wonder about the Sony Ericsson W300i is how they fit it all in there.

At 9cm long and 5cm wide when closed, and weighing just under 100 grams, the most intriguing thing about it is that Sony Ericsson claims to have a full-featured mobile phone and a Walkman music player in the one device.

Many of us are from the days when a Walkman was at least the size of a magnetic music cassette, and even the modern equivalent — the MP3 player — will usually have some reassuring bulk to its body.

While a good hook to get consumers interested, it’s more a rebranding of an existing idea. Most mobiles have multimedia capabilities that allow you to listen to music and watch videos nowadays. Sony Ericsson just happens to have a household name to attach to theirs; the Walkman brand.

You can fit about 35-45 songs on the device, totalling somewhere around 150Mb. There’s a certain amount of mystique in putting a Walkman in your mobile, but the W300i manages it by little more than a comparatively large hard disk.

Setting up and transferring music files to the phone is simple with the PC-only software included. It took about ten minutes to transfer a full complement of music and the software is clever enough to tell you if they’ll all fit before you attempt the transfer.

You can also transfer not just music but all files via Bluetooth and directly in Windows Explorer if you like, but the native software for the device is a little more intuitive about where the files are supposed to live once they’re on the phone.

Then simply plug the earphone adapter into the phone’s power socket and enjoy. You can create playlists and browse tracks the same as you would on any other MP3 player. The headphones that come with the W300i are quite poor quality but after five years of ubiquity in digital music most of us have countless sets lying around — any stereo earphones are compatible with the adapter.

You access the Walkman feature by pushing a Walkman button, and you can use most other phone functions even while music is playing. If a call comes through while the Walkman is activated, the music simply cuts out and your normal ringtone sounds for you to take the call.

The phone itself is a very attractive and comfortable machine. The screen isn’t the biggest on the market so surfing and gaming won’t take up much of your time, but a lot of effort has gone into the product design. The buttons are pleasant to use and the body feels robust despite its lightweight chassis.

It takes more than the Walkman logo to stand out, so the W300i isn’t quite the definitive mp3-playing phone on the market Sony Ericsson would like you to believe. It takes good product design, ease of use and decent onboard data storage to truly call your phone a Walkman, and fortunately they’ve taken all that into account.


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