Sony Ericsson's music-oriented Walkman series and photography-centred Cybershot series have been drawing closer for a while now, as the camera phone's music player has improved and the music player's camera has got steadily better.
And it's quite possible that the two will disappear altogether next year following announcements from Japan that the company is planning to move away from the two sub-brands next year, instead focusing on providing similar quality levels of each function in specific phones
So if this is to be one of the last Walkman phones to appear, it's just as well then that it's the best one yet, with an 8.1 megapixel camera, an improved media syncing system (which few could deny it needed), HSDPA 3G, Wi-Fi and A-GPS, all wrapped up in a neat, if slightly bulky and button-heavy slider package.
The Sony Ericsson W995 is a slider, so you'd expect it to be on the chunky side. That said, they've kept it reasonably slim by keeping the top part to a svelte 4mm, delivering the vital statistics of 97x49x15mm and 113g. So it's still a fair old handful, but not bad at all considering what's inside.
But before we get to that, we have a wealth of buttons to get through, namely the six semicircles surrounded the circular D-pad on the front (call start and stop, plus two soft keys, cancel and the shortcuts menu), and the music controls on the right side, plus a volume/zoom rocker and camera shutter button.
On the left side there's Sony Ericsson's Fast Port power socket, a dedicated Walkman button and the Memory Stick Micro slot, though it's hidden under the back cover.
At the top there's a 3.5mm headphone jack (at last!) while on the back is the 8.1 megapixel lens (wot, no cover? For shame…), LED flash and a small metal flip stand so you can set it somewhere handy to watch video.
It's right at the end of the phone though and ours kept falling over until we realised it worked best with the slider open.
The W995's LCD screen might not match up to the OLED on Sony's recent X-series Walkman, but it's still very good with 240x320-pixel and 262,000 colours.
Our only complaint is that it's only 2.6in – fine for a phone, but not so clever for a media player, which is exactly what the W995 really wants to be. It's not bad, it's just that it suffers in comparison to many of the larger touch screen interfaces available from the iPhone or HTC Touch HD.
Strictly speaking, it's not a smart phone, which, while it might limit its abilities in some ways, also means that it's not cluttered up with functions you may not need, and it's easy and quick to find your way around the familiar icon-based menus.
Anyone who has used a standard Sony Ericsson mobile over the last few years will be right at home using the familiar interface.
Helpfully, Sony Ericsson includes a little bit of haptic feedback when you access menu items too.
The 8.1 megapixel camera is very similar to that found on Sony Ericsson's last Cybershot device, the C905.
The Xenon flash is downgraded to standard LED but most of the other Sony Ericsson features are there, including an image stabiliser and auto focus, as well as smile detection and the marvellous BestPic, which takes seven pics in quick succession, both before and after you press the shutter, to ensure you get the best snap.
There's also a 16x digital zoom, macro setting and panorama, though we found this didn't stitch the three images together as easily as some versions of this feature.
Pictures were great in comparison with lesser camphones, but not quite up to the top standard of the 8 megapixel brigade – close inspection revealed a modicum of blurring and a bit too much purple fringing on the edges. It didn't seem to handle bright light particularly well either.
(Review Page 1 of 1)