Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My W910i Review after 10-months of use

Bottomline: Love the phone!
Ever since the iPhone was released, I was looking forward to upgrading my phone as I wanted to have one perfect stylish, unique, and well built phone for listening to music which has some cool features to occasionally browse web to check out sports scores and maybe a little browsing. iPhone had everything I looked for and was so tempted to own it. But, I just couldn't accept the size of it and the fact that it can't be used freely with other carriers without hacking it. For me, it's too wide to be a comfortable phone PLUS I love to have keys to interact with the phone/Walkman. So, I was looking for candy-bar type slider phone with decent screen size.

Before I bought W910i, I considered Nokia's N-95 and N81, Sony's W580i, and W500i, and few Samsung's, Windows Mobile Phones, etc. I saw most of the phones I considered except N81. I've been a long time Nokia user including their 770 Tablet. I wanted to stay away from Nokia for now as I had screen problems with couple of their devices. After owning W580i for one day, I decided to go with SE phone as I loved the interface in W580i. It only lacked exceptional build quality which I was looking for. Especially, the slider mechanism had to be rigid unlike some Samsungs and even W580i that felt little loose(wobbling or rattling).

I decided to buy W910i based on the fact that it will be Sony's flag-ship Walkman slider phone. After using it for over 10-months, I am glad I have no buyer remorse for owning W910i without waiting for user reviews or price drops to happen. I happened to be one of the first owners among Howard Forums members. Which might as well mean one of the first in USA. I purchased mine from Hong Kong and it was shipped the day it was released by SE and I had it the next day.

I feel it's almost the perfect phone for people who are looking for Walkman based phone with huge screen, great build quality, and perfect slider mechanism. I am hoping it stays like that even after extensive use.

Build Quality
It's a solid feeling phone that is perfect fit in hand. It feels solid as the side casing is metal. Back side is a hard rubberized material which looks very stylish and at the same time is scratch resistant. Front top and middle slider top is hard plastic which is finished to look like metal. I am thinking this material might be better option for a silent operation of slider mechanism for long time to come. The keypad has a smoother plastic buttons and feels very smooth like human skin. The battery cover is very easy to open and close unlike W580i which was ridiculously designed.

This is going to be the highlight of this phone. It's of perfect size for basic browsing (scores, stocks), picture viewing, youtube videos, etc. Picture looks very sharp and colors are very vibrant and the themes the phone came with really help showing of the screen quality. Download Sony Ericsson Theme Maker to create your own themes.

Speaker & Headset
I am actually able to enjoy listening to music on phone speaker unlike few other phones I tried before. I can't say it's perfect as I prefer to have stereo feel to music I listen. So, I would just say, it stands up to its size. The clarity through Headset is as good as standalone MP3 players. I haven't tested to audiophile standards. I used Zen, iPOD, Sony VGF-AP1L before and I seem to have enjoyed it as much as I did on those. I didn't get to listen to them side by side as I no longer have any of those. I compared with Z300 and W910 is in a different league, both with built-in speaker and headset.

Walkman & Menu Interface
The basic Menu functionality is similar to other Walkman phones from SE but the screen makes it feel all different. The Walkman interface is all new to the phone. Phone comes with some Flast-Lite based themes which give PS3/PSP like interface to the phone menu. It comes with 5 great looking themes installed. The Shake Control and Screen Auto Orientation for Media applications is very cool. In some games you get to choose the orientation. Also with recent update to the phone the Picture viewer is pretty cool. You can flip through pictures with a pop feel. You feel like you are flipping through an album.

Accessibility & Functionality
All the features can be accessed without having to open slider. Except to enter data, I was able to manage every function just from the top and side buttons. I was able to turn off sound in games and listen to my own music and still play games. Also, when I am on call I was able to play games(sound will be disabled for the game). All buttons and keys are very well laid out and easily accessible while operating with one hand.

So far, I am very surprised at it's strength. I haven't used any of my previous phones for listening to music. So, I was expecting the battery to drain faster as I am listening to lot of music. But, it's holding the battery strength well. I played music for hours on speaker and the battery was holding very well. I am used to charging phone every night. I think I will be very happy with this phone battery even if I miss charging some nights.

Call clarity & Phone features
It is very clear and loud enough. It's much louder than my Nokia 6230. So, I am a happy about it. The phone features like logs, profiles, vibrate mode, etc all seem great. Various themes help enhance the look of these features.

It's still a camera phone. 2MP is history. Fortunately, I am not expecting to have a good camera in my phone. It still does a good job to handle some surprise and fun photography needs or to post to a blog. If anyone is looking for a serious camera in a phone, this is not for you. And I doubt if there is a great camera phone out there! The fact that the camera has no flash means, it's almost useless to take pictures in dark situations.

Things I didn't expect
1. Five very good themes included. Maybe the screen is making them look even better.
2. Three very nice games and motion control works with one Marble game.
3. Wii like motion sensor working in games and PSP like menus.
4. The easiness in making your own themes with free tools.
5. RSS ticker on Main Screen.
6. Availability of 100s of free themes, and games for download.
7. The ease with which you can Sync your Google, Outlook Calendars.

Things that could have made this even a cooler phone
1. A flash to use with camera
2. Standard headphone jack for people who prefer not to carry two cable sets to use their own headphone set
3. Auto Screen orientation at all times. The auto orientations works automatically only in Media applications like Walkman, Pictures, Video, etc. For browsing, and games you have to choose from Menu.
4. Didn't find Sleep mode clock which some of the older Ericsson phones have (Maybe, it's there but I didn't look hard enough.
5. Ability to tag a track I am listening to pre-defined mood (This again might be something that is already there but couldn't figure it out as it's not mentioned in manual).

Features I couldn't test
1. Video calls as the AT&T version of 3G is not supported by this phone.

Who should buy this phone?
Anyone looking to have a stylish, well built, candy bar type slider phone, with excellent Walkman features and a HUGE screen. I love the SenseMe Music Moods feature. I never thought about using that but now, that's the way I am listening to my music. I let the Media Manager do the moods recognition for my collection and it did a fair good job.


PocketChalker said...

I just got my new W910i and I have to say...I'm in love....well, was.... recently I started getting the all famous "operation fail" when playing a few mp3's. The java games haven't gone crazy, but have a challenge with an mp3 or 2. Anyways, the reason I'm making comment is you mention syncing Google calendar...How? Any words of wisdom?


Anonymous said...

Hi Nice Blog .If you fast forward through your play list, Ipod batteries will need to fill its cache more frequently, thus accessing the hard drive more often and using more power. This will decrease overall battery life.

Krishna said...

Sorry for not responding earlier. I sync my Google calendar with Outlook and then use Sony Ericsson PC Suite to sync Outlook calendar to W910. Another way to sync Google calendar directly to W910 is to use open source calendar sync tools. Check out GCALSYNC. Since I need to sync my office and Personal calendar at Google with my phone, I went with the outlook solution mentioned above.