Sony Ericsson w810i review

January 23, 2007 – 6:04 pm by Adnan Hodzic

Even though I’ve bought W810i some 6-7months ago, and didn’t really think about writing a review for it, recent email changed that opinion.
Nico dell Castillo contacted me. Here’s some part of the first email I got from him:

“I’m reaching out to you on behalf of Sony Ericsson and M80 regarding the W810i Sony Ericsson Walkman phone. Since you blogged about Walkman, I thought that you might be interested in posting the press release or an in-depth product review of the phone on your blog? You seem like a reputable influencer, so I think you’d be a big help to us. For your review, I would be happy to send you a W810i model to check out, or if you already have the phone, a set of external speakers as well as a Walkman T-shirt. Or maybe all three?”

Now, the good stuff Wink

Sony Ericsson technical specs:

General Network: GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900
Announced 2006, 1Q
Status: Available
Size Dimensions : 100 x 46 x 19.5 mm
Weight : 99 g
Display Type : TFT, 256K colors
Size: 176 x 220 pixels, 28 x 35 mm
– Wallpapers, screensavers
Ringtones Type : Polyphonic (40 channels), MP3
Customization Composer, download, order now
Vibration : Yes
Memory Phonebook 1000 x 24 fields, Photo call
Call records : 30 received, dialed and missed calls
Card slot Memory Stick Duo Pro (up to 2GB), 512 MB card included
– 20 MB shared memory
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
HSCSD : Yes
EDGE : Class 10, 236.8 kbps
3G : No
WLAN: No
Bluetooth: Yes, v2.0
Infrared port: Yes
USB: Yes, v2.0
Features Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging
Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML (NetFront)
Games : Yes + downloadable, special offer
Colors : Satin Black, Fusion White
Camera: 2 MP, 1632×1224 pixels, autofocus, video, flash
– MP3/AAC/MPEG4 player
– Video player
– Java
– T9
– FM radio with RDS
– Image viewer
– Picture editor
– Organiser
– Voice memo
– SyncML
– Built-in handsfree
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion
Stand-by Up to 350 h
Talk time Up to 8 h

Note: In China W810i is named W810c

W810 vs iPod

I was actually thinking of buying an iPod, I thought it over and w810 Walkman series won. This was my way of thinking about it all. With W810 I can talk, SMS, surf the net, take high quality pictures/videos, and listen to my music.

With iPod, all I can do is play games, listen to music, view pictures/videos, and be cool? To make one thing clear, in my opinion (and many others said the same thing) W810i looks amazing, and definitely cool. I still have a “classic” Sony Walkman laying around somewhere, and it still works, and trust me, it went through hell and back with me. So I thought Phone + Walkman wont be a bad decision.

Before that, I was emulating “walkman” on my K750 by installing W800 software, but it was too much for it. Phone would often crash and freeze, in the end it was like you installed BMW engine into your VW Rabbit Smile

Start Phone

First thing you’ll notice when you turn on your phone is the dialog you see below:

You have an option to Start phone or Music only. Main difference between “Start phone” and “Music only” is great, “Music only” starts walkman without phone, battery lasts longer, and main advantage is that this way you can use it in airplanes, hospitals and such.

Durability

W810 is an awesome peace of hardware, not even as I moved around the block from the store I bought it in I drop it, fell on the ground, picked it up, hard rock solid did not even leave a mark on it.

To this date, I’ve dropped it so many times, that I stopped counting a long time ago. As you can see in the pictures, phone survived everything without a single mark.

What I also like about it’s casing is the way SIM card is packed. It’s all incredibly simple but yet very powerful and easy/hard to open. Only thing I don’t like about its outside design is that the display is made of a plastic that likes to have your fingerprints on it. So if you hate seeing your fingerprints on your display you’ll spend a lot of time rubbing your display with your shirt Smile

Walkman

Walkman is done the way any regular Sony mp3 player would be done, and to the point you can also tweak your equalizer.

What’s even better is that, you can easily access by pressing the “W button”, can easily stop playing music by pressing a single “Play/Pause” button, which is on phones side. Also not to forget, for the first time you’ll be able to experience “multitasking” with your cell phone. While listening to your music, you can easily do all you’re doing regularly. (SMS, internet, games, camera)

In case you’re listening to your music and your phone rings, walkman will pause song you’re on and ring your regular ringtone, once you’re done with the call, walkman will continue the song where it paused it. Same goes with video camera, it’ll pause, once you’re done “filming” it’ll continue where it stopped. Walkman can also be used for playing your videos, and is better then regular video viewer. With walkman you can view your video in a full screen mode with is more then excellent.

Fullscreen mode is also enabled when viewing your pictures, fullscreen is so great that it goes to the point, that sometimes you wish you could handle your phone while viewing/controlling it horizontally.

With your phone you get Sony Ericsson headphones with it. Which may seem weird when you first see them. They’ll enter your ear completely, now when you play your walkman, it’ll change your world completely. It changed my world, I even used to plug them into my computer to listen to my music.

These are the best headphones ever. Music just sounds the way you have never experienced it before. Listening to the music via your phone has just got a new meaning and is also a new definition of fun.

Talking about headphones, there’s a great new addition to it. They come out of two pieces, one that connects to your phone, and leads to a 3.5 jack extension … um what does that mean? That means that if you’re going to someones party, host doesn’t have music, you’re literally a walking jukebox. You can connect you phone/walkman with their speakers and play your own music Smile

However there’s a little glitch. To transfer music from your computer to your phone, you’ll use Sony Ericsson’s “disc2phone“, you’ll transfer your music with via USB cable you got with your phone. Then what is it? What’s wrong with “disc2phone”?

Nothing, except that it’s made for Windows XP and Windows 2000. Disc2phone is not compatible with other Windows versions, what’s even worse it’s not compatible with most multimedia oriented made computer … Mac. Now, me being the Linux user, this hit me hard. I tried emulating disc2phone over CrossOver Office, wine, etc … nothing worked.

Cant you use your memory card and add music to your phone without disc2phone?
Yes. But I wouldn’t recommend it. This will definitely lead to massive amounts of anger.

I even contacted Sony Ericsson regarding this problem, and they said they don’t plan on releasing disc2phone under Linux. So what I suggest is to have a VMware or separate “box” with Windows XP/2000 on it. This is just I guess their policy or similiar, since I saw some of their mp3 walkmans had to use similar (if not the same) software.

Disc2phone as itself, is pretty ok program.
Plus (+): Option is that you can change songs bit rate.
Minus (-): Transferring big number of media can take awhile.

This in my opinion is the greatest minus.

More on software

Other then that, software on phone is amazing. Extremely rare crashes or freezes, you’re even able to update/upgrade it via your phone, by connecting to internet, getting updates, restarting your phone (to apply changes) and viola.

Phone also comes with great tools like classical Music DJ (first seen on Sony Ericsson T610) and now it also comes with VideoDJ which is just great for making your own movies! Besides that it comes with a lot of other really great applications.

Camera

2.0 Mega Pixel camera. It doesn’t sound much with the fact that there are 5.0 Mega Pixel cameras on cell phones nowdays, but don’t forget this is a walkman besides your phone, so the camera works just great. Below you can see some of the samples of how pictures taken with this phone look like:



Put simple way, picture quality? it’s just as you bought a new digital camera, few years ago. Also taking picture in the dark/night, was one of the phone camera biggest problem. Now that problem seems somewhat solved.

And if that wasn’t enough, W810i, comes with a great “light” tool. Which you can turn on when snapping a picture, or filming a video, or if you just want to light your way around. Very powerful light.

Battery

Battery lasts for a really long time. Things that consume the battery the most are filming a video and walkman. However, in many occasions I’ve went around 600km (read whole day) listening my walkman, and again in the end I would have enough of battery life to go out in the night time without having to charge my battery.

So battery will last a whole day with you listening to your music, and filming something along the way. Usually in my case with optimal use, battery lasts around a week (7 days), which is definitely thumbs up. I’ve never tested “walkman only” mode, but I’m sure it’s up to days.

In my prediction, most the battery would go without charging it, and any multimedia use is up to even 2.5-3 weeks.



Memory

Phone comes with only 20MB of its own memory. Which is ok, since you’re also getting a memory card of 512MB. 512MB is … solid, but I’d recommend getting a 1GB card, then you’ll feel a great ease.

Also, you can use this memory card as a “memory stick” but the down side is that the transfer rate is really slow. So copying a ~700MB movie (.avi) to your card might take up to even 20-25minuts.

Conclusion

I’ve had many phones in my life and W810i is a best one so far. At least for what I want from a phone. It leaves iPod far behind, it even beats iPhone. W810 is just the new cool. Very good price, at the time I got it (some 6-7 months ago) it was somewhat less then 500euros. Now it should be around even up to 150 euros, unless some special deal (phone company).

I also never had a phone for more then 6 months and that I didn’t want anything new. So far, I’m really happy with this phone, and carefully watching if Sony Ericsson comes up with something new. So far they have, but it really isn’t worth of what W810 will provide you with.

Two thumbs up, get it, today Smile

Related:

Question of making it your walkman work on Linux without disc2phone.

After you transfer you music to phones memory card, make sure you “Safely Remove” it (umount). After you have safely removed it, you should wait for some time, (around 1min) and then disconnect your phone from USB.
This might work, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.

How to I recently wrote, making it work on Linux (slackware)

If you have any additional questions, comment, I’d be happy to answer them Smile

  • Anonymous

    is there a way to change the music on your phone to ringtones?

  • AbsintheSyringe

    I wouldn’t call it a way. Making your mp3 (music) a ringtone is simple a “normal” ringtone.

    Put simple, there’s no such thing as ringtones anymore, your music is your ringtones Smile

  • Vernon Hands

    just bought the phone and was browsing to see if i could get some software to convert some of my avi’s to mpeg4’s to watch on the go.
    (i did also splash out on a 2gb memory card).

    the phone seems top notch so far, found plenty of games and themes no hassle.

    mp3s play really well. and yes you can use any of your mp3’s as your ringtone and or txt alert.

    my only gripe so far is that you need the earphone connector plugged in to listen to the radio and cant just put it on loudspeaker like you can with any of your mp3’s. (apparently the connector also acts as an antenna)

  • AbsintheSyringe

    I have to agree. But since it’s all in one, and I’m really not a radio fan, I can get passed by it.

    Except, if you play it on your speaker, and detach the headphones, radio will still play. Wireless connection from phone to the headphones? Didnt go that far to find out …

  • CapacityPaully

    I was wondering how do u use your mp3’s as your ringtone…whenever i go into my phone card it shows the folder for the music but when i open it there is no files yet the music still plays… please contact me at paultheman2004@hotmail.com if u have any information…oh and is there a way to transfer videos onto your phone?

  • AbsintheSyringe

    I’m sorry but I wont contact you, I dont work for Sony Ericsson or their support dept. So …

    Just type “Sony Ericsson” in the search blog field, and you’ll find many interesting things.

  • Sebastien

    Hi I’ve got a Sony Ericsson W810i and would like to know if there is a way to refuse messages from some contacts when they bother you?

  • Anonymous

    I know this has been asked but I am trying to us my mp3’s as ringtones and my phone says it cannot use the file as a ring tone. How do I unlock it so that I can or how do you use mp3’s as ring tones because I have tried it with other music to.

  • Tia

    hello my name is Tia, i have had my sony ericsson for just over a year now.. its been fine but just reecently it keep’s crashing. Just a minute ago i plugged it in to put some pics on the laptop it wouldnt work so i unplugged it and turned my phone off and then back on, i got to the password bit and so i typed in my password then my phone froze/crashed… i waited and just left it then my screen on my phone went black,now it keeps on going from black to white coloured screens. Can any one help me or give me any info why it is doing this please?

  • Tia,

    I’d just advise you to flash your phone; if you’re uncertain about this step just give it to “phone guys” which will do it for you for ~10 euros

    If you want to do it yourself, Google “xs++ w810”

    http://www.akshayy.com/sonyericsson/tutorials/flash-firmwaredebrand-with-xs/

    http://forums.se-nse.net/index.php?showtopic=7330

  • Preman

    One important lacuna I find in sony ericsson cell phones is it lacks the ‘pause’ facility while recording voice notes/memo and while playing also.
    It is a very useful feature because many a times we cannot record a memo at a stretch. In such circumstances we have to apply ‘pause’ while recording. The same applies in the play mode also. As we cannot write down all details while hearing the recordings we have to apply ‘pause’ for taking all the details in the recording clip. When this facility is not there we have to replay the entire file from the begining to note down important things from a recording file.
    Preman.