posted by Eugenia Loli on Mon 3rd Jul 2006 17:31 UTC

"W810i, Page 2/2"
Calls came through very clear, but the speakerphone is so loud that while it sounded good on my end it created a lot of noise in the other side. Nevertheless, voice and reception proved outstanding when connected. We had two instances of our call not going through (the other end was getting nothing after pickup and we were getting static) while GPRS was not always connecting (all these might be a problem of the Cingular tower, though I believe it was the phone's fault). Where I get 2-3 bars with my Windows Mobile phone, I got 4-5 bars with the W810i. GPRS with EDGE worked perfectly too. Where the W810i truly excels though is in its battery life. It managed over 6 hours of GSM talk, and over 15 hours of mp3 playback. Few phones in the market can argue that can do that too. Sony Ericsson also claims 350 hours of standby.

Netfront Vs Native SE browser

To add music and video files to the phone you can either use Sony Ericsson's software, or simply connect your phone via USB 2.0 to your desktop OS and have it get mounted as FAT32. Both the internal memory and the MSProDuo card get mounted as external drives. You just drag n drop your files in the designated folders and off you go. Except the default 512 MB flash card the phone comes with I also tried successfully a Sandisk 2 GB card. It was a bit slow to copy too many songs via the phone though so I used a USB flash reader instead which proved way faster. Speaking about USB, it would have been nice to have a standard mini-USB port and a normal 2.5" headphone jack instead of the Fast Port. Additionally, it would have been great if there was a third option to the "connection" menu you get when you connect to the USB cable. In addition to the "file exchange" and "modem functionality", a "charging only" option would be most welcome.

When in Walkman software you can manage playlists, view mpeg4/3gp videos in fullscreen or listen songs by artist/albums or by song. There is also the ability to use an equalizer which includes some presets, but also lets you set it up manually. I must commend Sony Ericsson for the great sound quality produced by this little machine. I used my high quality 3.5" Sony headphones (which I usually use with my iPod Mini) and there was a clear distinction between the sound quality in the iPod and in this Walkman phone. The sound of the W810i was far more clear. There was more tremble too. I am left highly impressed. I am seriously thinking of using this phone in "flight" mode as an mp3 player only, simply because of its outstanding battery life and sound quality.

Regarding the 2MP camera, the phone comes with an updated camera UI. It goes to landscape mode immediately after you turn on the camera and there you can select from various options: panorama, burst mode, macro, night mode, self timer, b&w/negative/sepia/solarize effects, white balance options and more. The autofocus truly helps the user take better pictures. A very nice feature indeed. Similar options exist for the video capture mode. The W810i captures video at 176x144 and 128x96 in 3GP format.

The "true" downsides of the phone in my opinion are only the following:
- Netfront 3.3 runs out of memory very easily. It seems that Sony Ericsson did not pre-allocate enough memory for the browser, so usually, Netfront runs out of memory before it has downloaded 30 KBs of data! This means that "real world" web sites are virtually unrendered with this phone. Additionally, Netfront uses a fixed size big font. There is no bold, neither "small size" font sizes supported (there is "zoom" support but during a normal rendering of a site the browser does not utilize different font sizes). The old native browser used in the previous Sony Ericsson phones could do bold and use the system's variable-size fonts. With the move to Netfront we got JS and CSS support, but these are useless features if the browser runs out of memory so easily (the older browser was liter in terms of memory requirements). On the upside, when Netfront didn't run out of memory, it rendered the requested pages really fast.
- There is no A2DP/AVRCP Bluetooth profile support. For a walkman phone, this feature is a must-have. We learned that these profiles were not ready when the phone shipped, but are included on all newer SE phones.
- The screen resolution is low for such a cool phone. A QVGA screen would have been much welcomed.
- The internal email client could not read MIME-encoded emails sent via Outlook Express (this is the default setting in OE). It read Uuencoded just fine though, and emails from Gmail and Hotmail also worked fine.

In conclusion, the W810i is one of the best consumer cellphones in the market today. It builds in the legacy of the K750 and W800 and goes beyond its predecessors. If you are into music and you love convergence, this is the phone to get, as its price is right (below $350) and the Memory Stick Pro Duo cards it supports are cheaper and easier to find than the new Memory Stick Micro M2 format found in the new Sony Ericsson phones. Additionally, you will get new firmware upgrades via Sony Ericsson's SEUS free service, which adds to the convenience of the user. A thumbs up!

Pros:
* Outstanding battery life
* Excellent Walkman software
* Superb, loud & clear audio
* Quad-band GSM with EDGE
* Good 2MP camera with flash
* RSS reader and other extra apps
* Fast browser rendering

Cons:
* Low resolution screen
* No A2DP/AVRCP support
* Netfront runs out of memory all too easily
* Can't read Outlook Express' MIME-encoded emails

Overall Rating: 8/10

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