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Sony Ericsson W980 Review

 

Sony Ericsson W980 Review

 
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You also can use the Bluetooth feature as a remote control for other Bluetooth-equipped devices. But the W980 doesn't stop there. It also includes a number of offbeat applications like WalkMate (pedometer), AccuWeather.com and Music Mate 5, which takes advantage of the W760i's motion sensor. When you're not using the phone as a metronome, you can play a variety of percussion instruments by shaking the W980 in various directions.

The W980's Walkman player is not unlike other walkman phones. Settings include an equalizer, playlists, stereo widening, and shuffle and loop modes. The interface is minimalist, but functional. You can set visualizations and light effects, but the player supports album art, as well. Just keep in mind that it won't recognize every song it plays. In music mode, the W980's display will change orientation automatically as you rotate from portrait to landscape.

You also get an airplane mode, for listening to your tunes with the phone transmitter off. Like the W760, the W980 is integrated with the "shake control" application. By holding down the Walkman button when music is playing, you can advance to the next track by flicking your wrist. It works quite well and it's an attractive feature. You also get the standard FM radio, as well as a Music ID application for identifying likable tunes you can't name. Internal memory is a full 8GB of shared space. The W980 does not have an external memory-card slot.

Loading music on the phone is relatively easy. The needed USB cable and the PC Media Manager software are included, which means you're saved the pain of shelling out more money for a music kit. The Sony Ericsson software can be a bit clunky, so we're glad that you can also drag and drop music from your PC to the phone. You also can bypass the software and sync music with Windows Media Player. The software also offers a SensMe app that will analyze the acoustics and beat of a song to see where it fits on a four-point mood scale of "fast," "slow," "sad" and" happy." You then can compose playlists based on your mood and you can see tracks displayed on a graphical representation of the scale.

The W980's 3.2-megapixel camera shoots photos in four sizes and two quality settings. Other options include three color effects, a night mode, white balance and brightness adjustments, a digital zoom (usable only at the VGA resolution), 16 frames, and four shutter sounds, plus a silent option. There's also a self-timer, a multishot mode, and an option for taking panoramic shots. The camcorder takes clips with sound and offers a set of editing options similar to the still camera. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at 20 seconds; otherwise you can shoot for as long as the memory permits. The W980 comes with PhotoDJ and VideoDJ applications, and you can connect the phone directly to a photo printer and upload photos to a blog. Photo quality was just OK. Colors were natural and we had enough light, but smaller images were slightly blurry. And, as previously mentioned, we'd prefer to have a flash

You can personalize the W980 with a variety of themes, wallpaper, screensavers, and clock styles. Some of the themes also support control vibrations as you navigate menus. As always, you can purchase more options and ringtones from Sony Ericsson via the WAP 2.0 Web browser. Alternatively, the phone comes with a Music DJ application for composing your own ringtones. Gamers can enjoy seven Java (J2ME) titles, Sudoku, Need for Speed, and Lumines Block Challenge, with additional titles available for purchase.

Performance

We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Sony Ericsson W980 world phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was quite decent in most respects. The volume was loud and the signal and voice clarity was respectable. At times, the audio sounded a bit harsh on our end, but it wasn't too bothersome. We could hear well in noisy environments and the phone didn't pick up excessive background noise.

On their end, callers said we sounded fine. They could tell we were using a cell phone, but that's a common experience. A few had trouble hearing us when we were calling from a loud place but that could very well be a problem on their end. Automated calling systems could understand us most of the time.

Speakerphone calls were quite decent, thanks to the loud output of theW980's twin speakers.

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