capsule review

Sony Ericsson W810

At a Glance
  • Sony Ericsson W810 Cell Phone (GSM, Bluetooth, 2MP, 20MB, Memory Stick PRO)

    PCWorld Rating

While it's no iPod, Sony Ericsson's W810 does a more-than-adequate job as both a cell phone and a multimedia player.

The W810 is a candy bar-style standard cell phone, and at first glance its dimensions of 3.9 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches make it look somewhat boxy. It works well in light use, offering adequate voice quality and volume, but it can be uncomfortable during long conversations. It offers impressive talk-time battery life, as it lasted 10 hours in our lab tests (the maximum amount of time we test).

The W810 is the latest addition to Sony Ericsson's Walkman line of phones, and its impressive roots are on display--its music and multimedia features, including an FM radio, really set it apart. When you start up the phone, you're given the choice between launching just the Walkman functions or all of the phone's features. The W810 also automatically pauses songs when you receive an incoming call, and resumes them when you hang up.

The W810 comes with its own PC software for transferring songs onto the included 512MB Memory Stick Duo card. The software is simple to use, though unfortunately it does not let you create playlists on your PC--you can do that on the phone, but it isn't as easy as it could be. A 2-megapixel camera and Memory Stick Duo slot round out the features.

I have one minor complaint about the W810, regarding its navigation controls. Sony packs a lot of features--including the music player controls--into a small space. The controls are tiny, and the limited real estate leaves no room for dedicated send and end phone buttons. I adjusted to the controls quickly, and I was able to scroll through my music collection in no time, but the device's layout left me longing for the minimalist look of my iPod.

The W810 doesn't come cheap; an unlocked handset will cost you $500. (We tested a handset from Cingular; the carrier is expected to offer the phone by September for the same price.) But if you're in the market for a cell phone that doubles as a digital music player, the W810 is worth a look.

Liane Cassavoy

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Sony draws on its Walkman roots to create this impressive cell phone/music player hybrid device.

    Pros

    • Works very well as a music player
    • Includes a 2-megapixel camera

    Cons

    • Can be uncomfortable to use as a phone
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