\The Sony Ericsson W995a 3G handset, announced today, is among the select few in the U.S. to offer an 8.1-megapixel digital camera. This $600 unlocked quad-band GSM/tri-band UMTS multimedia handset will come in black, silver, and red, and is now available for pre-orders; it will ship July 6. (See our Top 10 Cell Phones.)
This 4-ounce slider phone's camera includes a flash, as is becoming increasingly common. The digital camera offers standalone-camera features such as a 16X digital zoom, face detection technology, geo-tagging, autofocus, image stabilization, and video recording. You can even hold the handset horizontally like a standard digital camera. The screen has an accelerometer, and autorotates as needed.
The unit also has a 2.6-inch display, Bluetooth 2.0 stereo support, a Wi-Fi adapter, and a GPS receiver. As part of the Walkman line of phones, this model also has a healthy set of music-friendly features: Walkman 3.0 digital music/video player software with dedicated playback buttons; stereo FM radio with presets; Sony's Clear Bass technology for bolstering bass response; and Clear Stereo technology, for minimizing audio leakage between the right and left channels.
The W995a also comes with an 8GB Sony Memory Stick Micro for extra storage (the phone's onboard memory is negligible). The phone, previously available overseas, continues to use Memory Stick Micro, although Sony Ericsson has already announced plans to bail on the memory format.
An interesting design point: If you actually want to make calls, a standard dialpad with rectangular buttons slides down from the casing. Sony Ericsson says the unit offers up to nine hours of talk time, more than two weeks of standby time, and 20 hours of music playback per charge.