The latest offering in the Walkman series, the Sony Ericsson W350a hit North America through AT&T stores this month. Does it live up to the rest of the lineup, or does it fall short? Is it worth the cost? After some time with this particular phone, here are my insights on this product.
Technically the W350 could be called a flip phone — but in reality, it’s a candybar phone with a plastic flip attached to it. The flip part feels so flimsy and plastic that I felt like it would get torn off any moment, even brand new. Indeed, the phone style reminds me of the Ericsson phones of a decade ago, or perhaps the Star Tac.
Of the lineup, the W350 is the smallest I’ve seen thus far. Very skinny and lightweight, it weighs only 2.8 ounces — it fits very well in your hands.
As with all Walkman phones, this particular model includes FM radio, Music ID, and full music player. In fact, the music player will show up any time the flip is closed. Personally I found this rather annoying – I would have preferred the ability to change the settings so the music player would only show up when I want it to, but alas there was no such luck for me on that.
For a Walkman, it sure doesn’t hold a lot of memory. A M2 memory stick will most certainly be a must, as there is only 14 MB internal memory available. It also is sans the “Shake Control” feature that’s ever-present in most new Walkman phones. Fortunately we do get an EQ and airplane mode.
Taking a look beyond the music features, what else can this phone do? It features a phone book capable of holding up to 1,000 contacts, stereo bluetooth, PC sync capability, and 1.3 MP camera. I was disappointed that the camera does not have a flash, however.
A nice touch is the handset lock switch on the top part of the phone’s exterior; this keeps you from accidentally activating the music player. Also on the sides are the volume controls and Walkman button. You will find external music player controls on the flip itself. While these look like real buttons, by pushing them you are actually pushing through the flip to the keypad.
Naturally, the most important part of the phone is the phone itself, which is average. Not great but not terrible. I was glad to find most calls sounded normal but every once in a while I experienced some static. Speakerphone was about the same.
Battery life is rated for seven hours talk time and 12.5 days standby time.
Overall the Sony Ericsson W350 is an average phone that comes with a few neat features, and is only worth getting because of the low price point. No huge complaints other than the flip mechanism it boasts and average call quality.
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