Sony’s w810i. The perfect gadget?

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When it comes to slagging off Sony I’m usually first in the queue, so to redress the balance I’m returning to the w810i WalkMan phone. After a few days playing with it, I’m convinced that it’s a genius product.

For me, the main attraction is convenience: instead of carrying around my iPod mini, phone and camera the w810i is all three in a single, small case. As I’ve already mentioned the sound quality is superb (and there’s a graphic equalizer! Woo!), and despite my reservations about the interface there are some nice touches such as one-key muting, the ability to boot into a music-only mode for plane travel, and really good T9 predictive text input. I like the way you can press and hold a number key to get to the right part of the phone book too.

Downsides? To compete with an iPod mini or nano means a memory card, so expect to pay £80ish for a decent 4GB Memory Stick Pro Duo (and if you’re sensible, a USB 2.0 card reader for speedy file transfer) on top of the £179-odd you pay for the phone. There’s a noticable lag between choosing a song and it starting to play, although it doesn’t interrupt the previous song while it gets the new one, and while the supplied headphones are excellent the teeny-tiny wee wires don’t inspire much confidence (I’ve had several sets of Sony headphones over the last few years, and they’ve all died due to weak cable connections). Camera performance isn’t great at night either, although you’d expect that from a cameraphone, and the shutter lag can be irritating too. Oh, and the supplied USB cable doesn’t seem to work with my Mac, although the bluetooth sync is flawless.

Upsides? It’s great. I’d definitely buy one, if I hadn’t already.

15 thoughts on “Sony’s w810i. The perfect gadget?

  1. tm says:

    I think david said before that the cable is only USB 1.1 or something – is it just too damn old for your mac?

    I like my one. it has the first non-nokia predictive text system that i’ve used that didn’t completely suck. The OS is actually pretty decent once you get used to it. I’ve never ever got around to putting music on it and it’s still probably the best phone I’ve owned.

  2. david says:

    >>Update the firmware

    I’m using the newest firmware and I still get shutter lag. According to SEUS anyway. Officially, the W810i supports up to 4gb but not the new 8Gb cards.

  3. Squander Two says:

    OK, I’ve played with it some more now, and it is the most sodding amazing phone in history. One or two features I’d add, but that’s only ’cause I’ve got used to a 9500 so have rather high expectations. That being said, in most ways, it is even better than the 9500. And a lot smaller, obviously.

    Main problem is Nokia’s insistence on building MP3 players into their phones but giving them their bloody proprietory pop-port nonsense instead of a jack plug, hence making them completely useless as MP3 players. Someone at Nokia needs to be sacked for that. But I’ve just found this solution to that problem.

  4. Gary says:

    Sony’s got a similarly proprietary approach, although at least their one has a standard jack plug at the end so you can use any headphones you want (if you don’t mind the LONGEST CABLE EVER). The plug bit that goes into the phone is awfully easy to dislodge, though.

  5. Tony Kiernan says:

    >>I’m using the newest firmware and I still get shutter lag.

    It definitely sorted mine. That said, since i had my phone replaced I’ve not been able to get the update to run for it.

  6. Ms Mac says:

    Quite by accident I was talked into getting one of these (free! All I had to do was sign my life away for two years!) by my phone guy today! How thrilled I am to find it has the Gary Marshall stamp of approval. Now if only I could work out how to make the most of it.

  7. Tony Kiernan says:

    I realise this is quite late, but, this is the latest firmware you should have (and a list of the changes in it)

    R1BC002
    – Released on SEUS for the K750 on 9/3/06.
    – Released on SEUS for the W800 on 18/3/06
    – Free memory is now listed in MB instead of KB.
    – Photos are now taken as soon as the shutter sound is heard.
    – Slight increase in speaker and headphone volume.
    – Slight increase in phone responsiveness.
    – Prevent IMEI changes through third party tools.
    – FIX: Background noise during lower volume calls (‘hissing bug’) now fixed.
    – FIX: All USB transfer issues now fixed.
    – FIX: Increased stability in PhotoDJ and VideoDJ applcations.
    – BUG: m4a tags are not read with this firmware.
    – JBenchmark 3D LQ: 202
    – JBenchmark 3D HQ: 126
    – JBenchmark 2: 340
    – JBenchmark 1: 3889
    – Software versions:
    LCD 0
    Camera 4.5

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