When it comes to Sony Ericsson phones, US users are often out of luck. US carriers don't offer many SE phones which means we have to pay very high prices for import models. But once in a while, AT&T picks up a new Sony Ericsson model and this time it's the W580i. The new Sony Ericsson Walkman W580i comes with the usual set of strong music tools including Disc2Phone, TrackID, FM radio and much more; plus built-in Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support. In addition to strong music features and a good 2 megapixel camera, the W580i also comes with great gaming capabilities, a 2" bright display and a Memory Stick Micro M2 slot.
The Sony Ericsson W580i slider is a quad band GSM world phone that's offered by AT&T in the US and has EDGE for data. Sony Ericsson also sells an unlock version in Sony style stores and online. There are some variations in the packaging and software bundles between the to units and we cover both versions in this review.
The unlocked Sony Ericsson currently comes in two colors: Style White and Urban Grey and is priced at $299.99 unlocked. The AT&T version currently comes in Style White and Boulevard Black colors and is priced at $79.99 with 2-year contract.
Design and Ergonomics
Sony Ericsson Walkman phones have a bit of Euro chic and they're never afraid of intense colors. The W580i however has a more modest slider design, though it does have a touch of style: the side of the phone is curved rather than straight. The slider form ensures that the 2" display, large d-pad and slide-out number pad can fit into a small phone that's shirt or jeans pocket-friendly.
Measuring in at 3.89 x 1.85 x 0.55 inches, the W580i feels just the right size in hand. Slide the display up to reveal the number pad (in stunning orange on the white and black models and gray on the Urban Gray model). All menu buttons and the number pad have backlighting which is bright enough to see in the dark (the white and black phones with orange keypad have white backlighting for the numbers and orange for the d-pad, while the gray phone with black keyboard has blue backlighting). The d-pad feel roomy when gaming and playing music. Like many Sony Ericsson phones, the W580i doesn't have dedicated call send and call end buttons. Instead you use the left and right selection keys to make and end a call. A dedicated Walkman key launches the music player with one touch, and on the AT&T version, you will also get a dedicated key to launch AT&T's Media Net (web portal). For those of your who aren't familiar with Sony Ericsson controls, use the Back Key on the left of the D-pad to go one step back (press once) and to quit out of an application you are currently in (press and hold). To turn T9 on and off, press and hold the * key.
Side buttons are minimal: the Sony Ericsson Fast Port charging/headset port is on the right, the volume rocker is on the left, and the Memory Stick Micro (M2) slot is on top along with the power button. Though the design in modern minimalist and might be called understated, Sony Ericsson isn't shy with colors: the back of the slider is brightly colored (orange in the White and Black versions and Blue in the Grey version) and the side LED light in green when the phone is slid open. The battery is located under a door on the back of the phone and you must remove the battery to access the SIM slot.
Phone Features and Reception
The Sony Ericsson W580i is a quad band GSM world phone that works anywhere in the world where GSM service is available and can operate on 850/900/1800/1900 MHz bands.
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