Sony hasn't exactly been forthcoming in embracing the digital music era, but that's all set to change, with its latest digital players now carrying the Walkman brand. The latest product in this line is the W800i, the first phone to come with an integrated Walkman music player.

In theory it's a great idea - no need to carry a separate MP3 player and mobile (or indeed camera). In practice, however, it falls short in a couple of areas.

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The supplied headphones are actually pretty good, but if you want to buy some new ones you might run into tangles. The supplied set come with a short cable that plugs into the microphone on the hands-free attachment. Replace them with your own and you'll have masses of cable to deal with.

The attachment for the hands-free kit is rather bulky and connects to the bottom of the phone, making it not particularly pocket-friendly. It would be nicer to have the option to simply plug your existing headphones directly into the unit - admittedly sacrificing the ability to answer calls - somewhere near the top.
On startup you're given the option of activating just the music player or the full phone - supposedly so you can listen to music when phones aren't allowed, such as on planes. The chances of in-flight crews allowing this, however, are slim.

Getting music on to the phone is simple enough, using the bundled Disc2Phone software. The player is fairly basic, and easy to operate. The dedicated playback buttons are a welcome addition. The W800i also includes a 2Mp (megapixel) camera, which produces reasonable shots, and a photolight for illuminating dark environments.

Phone-wise, it's your standard Sony Ericsson fare.

W800i: Specs

  • Tri-band (900/1,800/1,900MHz) GPRS/GSM phone
  • 34MB memory
  • IrDA
  • Bluetooth
  • 176x220-pixel 260K-colour display
  • Memory Stick Duo slot (512MB card supplied)
  • 2Mp integral digital camera
  • 400 hours of standby time
  • 9 hours of talk time
  • 46x100x21mm
  • 99g
  • Tri-band (900/1,800/1,900MHz) GPRS/GSM phone
  • 34MB memory
  • IrDA
  • Bluetooth
  • 176x220-pixel 260K-colour display
  • Memory Stick Duo slot (512MB card supplied)
  • 2Mp integral digital camera
  • 400 hours of standby time
  • 9 hours of talk time
  • 46x100x21mm
  • 99g

OUR VERDICT

The W800i is definitely the phone to be seen with, but it's lacking in a couple of areas. It's a great idea, but not spectacularly executed - given the hype, you'd expect better. Prices will depend on contract, but it's likely to be towards the higher end of the market.

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