Sony Ericsson W950i 

Sony Ericsson has taken a bold decision with its W950i model by omitting a feature many would regard as being compulsory.
Sony-Ericsson W950i mobile phone

Taking over the role of the flagship Walkman phone is the Sony Ericsson W950i.  With this particular model Sony Ericsson has taken the decision which may come as somewhat of a surprise.  Unlike all the other mobile phones I've look at, whether from Sony Ericsson or many other manufacturers, this is the first model that does NOT include any photographic features.  So it is a mobile phone that does not feature a camera.  Instead Sony Ericsson has concentrated on the music playing and business related aspects with the W950i.

This candy bar style phone, measuring 106 x 54 x 15mm and weighing 112g, is decked out in what is described as mystic purple with a silver strip running all the way round the body.  The familiar orange "W" logo decorates the front of the unit and the same colour is used to highlight the music player and cancel buttons that are situated on either side of the main keypad.  The main keys are flush to the body with a raised pimple alongside each one.  I found these keys to be rather too small for my taste and would have preferred a more raised arrangement.

Positioned above the keyboard is the unit's 262K colour 240 x 320 touch screen.  A stylus, for use with the screen, is located on the left side of the W950i which is also home to a jog wheel for scrolling between any song tracks.  On the opposite side is a rocker control for volume adjustment.

Based on a Symbian operating system which probably accounts for the slow response times, especially when powering up, the W950i comes with a generous 4GB of memory.  As standard you have the normal telephonic capabilities with a calendar; to-do list; conference calling features; calculator; phone book; alarm clock; RSS feed reader; push email; and note taking capabilities plus web browsing.  The touch screen is capable of accepting handwriting using the stylus and there is an option to turn this into normal text but this had limited success when faced with my attempts at using this graffiti-like feature.

Not unnaturally, this being a Sony Ericsson Walkman phone, the music playing features of the W950i are well to the fore.  You get dedicated music playing control buttons conveniently glowing orange for easy identification.  Track ID is supported so that you can access information regarding a song by recording a snippet and then uploading it to a server.  You can download tracks from the music store or from a computer.  The supplied 4GB of memory should be enough to store 4,000 tracks.  Also included are Music DJ; jog wheel scrolling; Mega Bass; support for album art; and FM radio with the supplied headset acting as an antenna.

As has become standard policy with Sony Ericsson phones, the W950i gives you a choice at power up of operating in phone or flight mode.  The latter restricts the device to just entertainment type activities when in phone-free zones.  Unlike other Sony Ericsson phones I have looked at, the W950i comes with a soft pouch presumable to protect the touch screen from possible damage.

The W950i does stand out from the pack but more due to the make-up of its feature list rather than its capabilities.  While the touch screen can be useful, although fingers will often replace the stylus for selecting items, many will find the omission of a camera as a turn off.  Pricing for the phone will depend upon the type of contract, for many it could be offered free of charge.  As a SIM-free phone, I have seen the W950i advertised at £179.99.

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