A small country on the south of Europe. In the shops there is no V800i. There is no Z800i. There is no K750i. But there is W800i for two days now.That is Croatia.
I have been using an imported K750i for the past month now and I had thought that it was my perfect phone. I was pretty sure that the W800i would not be of any great interest to me considering that I had a K750i. I was wrong! Since picking it up yesteday I haven't let go of it!
This isn't going to be a typical mobile phone review, this handset is basically the same as the K750i. I had one of the first K750i's so there should be no difference in camera quality between the two, assuming that the CCD rumours are true of course! The build quality is better than that of the K750i and the software is both fast and stable (my handset has version R1L002). I know many of you will not agree with me when I say that SE have the most stable software, in terms of non-smartphones, with the K750/W800, but I hold to that view. I made objective comparisons between these handsets using terms such as speed, stability, visual impression, battery usage, functionality and more, but I couldn't find any real competitor.
But I digress, back to the W800! The packaging is very cool, not quite so tempting as the special promotion being run in Singapore, which you can see here, but still good enough for me. It is the standard package: handset, charger, MSDP 512 Mb, headphones, manual, etc. I was surprised to discover that the MSDP was by Sandisk and not Sony (perhaps even SE find Sony memorysticks overpriced!?). Although I have never considered there to be any great difference between Sony and Sandisk MSDP I was still surprised. It is a standard MSDP in all other respects, a full size adapter comes in a little orange box. It isn't one of the latest high speed MSDP, but perfectly adequate for use in the W800.
The first thing I noticed about the handset itself is how it is actually 'SE-NSED UP' (TM). The white plastic feels very smooth and the orange sides look absolutely fabulous. After I had powered the handset up the orange backlit keys made me fall in love with the W800. The only thing I missed was the Activity menu featured on the K750. The Activity button has been replaced, and logicaly so, by a Walkman button. I prefer the Activity menu, especially for events e.g. missed calles, messages, etc. I would like to suggest to SE's developers to add this feature for when there are missed events so that one still has easy access to them (and in normal use it would stay WALKMAN key). There is also posibility to add MORE SHORTCUTS Shortcut which then acts like MY SHORTCUTS in Activity Menu of K750
I found the keys on the W800 to be better than those on the K750, it is easier to type and to browse menus. In this firmware version menus and all operations are very smooth and fast and I didn't notice any bugs or annoyances in this area. As I said before, everything else is known from older SE handsets and I don't see the need to tread over old ground here. The one thing I do miss in SE handset is the ability to add a SMS to the Calendar ...
I'm not going to comment on the picture quality too much since I don't feel qualified enough to offer any great technical opinion on the matter and I am actually looking for a mobile without a camera! Personally I don't actually notice much difference between the picture quality of the K750 and that of the W800. If the K750 CCD rumour is correct then it may be interesting to compare those.
click on the pic to compare K750 and W800 pic quality
some more pics taken with W800 - click for full size
At last, the music capabilities! The K750 is a good music player, but the W800 is amazing. The handset can be started in one of two modes; normal phone mode and music player mode only. It's a great feature if you are on a plane or just taking a break from calls and texts. The thing that made me go 'WOW' in front of dozens of people was the headphones. WOW!!! Like a well lubricated earstick! They just slip into your ears, isolate you from the world around and get you moving. I can tell you that I felt that Mega Bass through my body. The organisation of the files is great too, like iTunes or WMP. You can create playlists; browse through different artists, albums folders, etc ... really easy to use.
The bundled CD comes with the Disk2Phone application, which is really straightforward to use. Basically just select and click. I tested it and had no problems at all. Of course you can still use your favourite encoder and just move the music to the MSDP. Personally I prefer AAC over mp3 so I use iTunes to convert my CDs to .m4a and then just copy it to the removable disk (just as with the K750 one needs to install the drivers from the CD to be able to use the MSDP as a removable disk).
There is also the Play Now menu, which takes you to a page where you can download content. I was only able to download a few free ringtones, which were locked (MagicGate). Locked (protected) files do not appear on the removable disk when you connect the handset to your computer.
Have I forgotten anything? There is no update service yet for the W800, but I am sure that as soon as it is officially launched on the 12th it will be available.
I will conclude this small review with a word of relief that all the rumours about SE downgrading the quality of parts used in the W800 were not true (except perhaps for the Sandisk MSDP :o) ... The handset is well built; the screen is the same as that in the K750 and the overall quality and feel is superb.
The only thing I regret with this handset is that it will become so popular that everyone will have it! The price tag, in Croatia, is amazing: 400 Euros for a SIM free handset! It is cheaper than the Nokia 6230i, Samsung D500, etc ... which aren't real competitors anyway, but it is interesting to note the price difference.
On my scale this phone is AA and there are only a few things missing that meant that I didn't give it AA+. Having said that, the missing features are things, which would probably be unimportant to many e.g. EDGE, Activity menu, SMS to Calendar, etc.
All in all a superb handset, which is well worth the money and won't dissapoint!
This review was provided by SE-NSE.com