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Sony Ericsson W550i review

Sony Ericsson W550i review
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W550i Walkman™ is a mobile phone for music lovers. FM radio, an advanced digital music player inside and everything you need to enjoy your music on the move. CD ripping software is included in the kit to get your favorite songs into your phone. Drag and drop using Disc2Phone™. Swivel-action W550i has a 1.8” color screen for best possible video viewing and gaming experience and dedicated gaming buttons for fast and action-packed 3D gaming on the go. When you want to catch some action, W550i is also an impressive 1.3 megapixel camera with video recording and digital camera menus.
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Review On : Sony Ericsson W550i
By Antal van Wijk
Translated by: Jonathan Cheah
Original review at
At a Glance : Build quality: 7/10
Applications: 8/10
Interface: 8/10
Value-for-money: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10
Cons : Internal antenna
Large memory
Walkman function
Pros: Horrid orange colour
No character meter

The Sony Ericsson W550i appears to be a handset aimed at the young, and this is readily apparent by the vibrant orange colour of the device. The phone doubles up as a Walkman and this certainly appeals to the young at heart, who can now listen to their choice of music wherever they go.

In the box
  • Handset Transceiver
  • Battery (standard battery)
  • Charger
  • Walkman headset
  • Data cable
  • Software CD-Rom
  • Manual
    Exterior
    The Sony Ericsson W550i is one of those swivel handsets where both halves of the phone are twisted open to reveal what is usually a screen on one of the halves of the phone and the keypad on the other halve.



    The Camera on the back of the W550 has no protection. The antenna of the W550 is apparently a curved one that is hidden at the lower part of the keyboard. The W550 has three speakers built into its body for the 3D sound effect.
    A walkman stereo headset is provided, as a result of which the W550i does very well as a music player. The headset is equivalent to that of the W800i and is compatible with similar ear-phones. The new connection to the lower part of W550i ensures that a data cable can be connected and that the W550i can be loaded with music directly from a PC.


    The Sony Ericsson W550i is a small phone with a small battery. The relatively large screen, Bluetooth, infra-red and the options for Multimedia does not permit a long battery life. The telephone takes about two or three days of average use. The ringing volume for the W550i is comparable to the K750i, and is audible even in loud surroundings.
    Buttons/Screen
    The handset closes with an audible snap, and there are two extra buttons above the screen. This is slightly different from the key layout found in other Sony Ericsson phones. It is possible that some people are already accustomed to the camera mode of S700i, K750i or W800i.


    The screen displays 260,000 colours and the phone supports pictorial caller ID and plays MIDI, WAV and MP3 ringtones. However, besides the camera, it is possible the W550i is has such a key layout to facilitate the user playing games or using other applications.
    Software/Messaging
    The menu can be accessed in one of two ways. On the middle of the navigation button or from the middle button of three located above the keyboard and under the navigation pad. The menu consists of 12 icons, each of which animate when selected. From here one can access the telephone book, bulletins, ringtones, the camera, the media player and the Internet.
    The list format of menu is introduced in the Sony Ericsson for the first time. Just like in a Symbian phone, one can now choose between the grid and the list layout types for the menu.
    The W550i supports SMS, EMS, MMS and e-mail. In the SMS section there is a new function where one can introduce characters, and in the MMS section one can combine pictures and sounds just as in other phones. The keyboard is a little small for the fingers here and the 160 character limit is a bit stifling.
    The W550i has an internal memory of no less than 256 MB. This seems little if one compares it with MP3 players. However most of the MP3 players use between 128 and 512 MBs of flash memory, and this makes the memory count of the W550i reasonable.
    The W550i is a multi-purpose handset and comes complete in the box with all kinds of programs for the user of using the handset. In the W550i is an agenda which is capable of synchronising with Microsoft Outlook, or with a Smartphone or PDA.
    There are two extra programs in the W550. A world alarm is included, as is a RSS news feed reader. The alarm clock is programmable, and one can set the working days and even program the alarm clock weekly.
    You can use the music player during sports activities, and surf the Internet with the built in WAP 2.0 browser. The MusicDJ application makes it possible to mix music samples with each other, to play and store. There is also a VideoDJ application built into the firmware.
    PIM
    The W550 uses the same telephone book as the K700i and its succeeding models. The phonebook shows the most used contacts at the top of the list. This seems strange but after some usage it appears to be a great idea. However, one can also choose to use the ordinary ABC format.
    At the contacts section one can add different information such as the work office number, mobile number, address, e-mail, web address, function and anniversary. All this can synchronise with both Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook. You can also send contacts by means of Bluetooth, infra-red, SMS and e-mail.
    Camera/Video
    The camera on the W550i may be considered as an accessory on this handset. The 1.3 megapixel camera is similar to that of the S700i, and even sports the same menu structure. One can choose from effects such as sepia or black blank. The user can also determine the size of the resolution and the quality of the photograph.
    You can take panorama photographs with the W550i. One takes the first photograph and stores it in the memory. Then one must make a second photograph. During the processing of the second photograph, the W550i appends the silhouette of the first photograph. This works in the same way with the third photograph but uses the silhouette of the second photograph. Once the third photograph is ready, you can then see the results on the screen.
    The videos shot by the video player are stored and viewed in the 3GP file format.
    Multimedia/Voice
    The W550i is the second handset from Sony Ericsson with the Walkman function after the W800i. The third is now starting to appear in shops and that would be the W900. It would appear that the ‘W’ range of devices for Sony Ericsson indicates that the phone is part of the Walkman phone series and an extra special attention ahs been paid to the sound output of the device.
    The radio is another good touch here. After a couple of cycles of pre-recorded music, it is at times refreshing to listen to something random, and this can be done by tuning into the local radio stations.
    Connectivity
    The W550i has nearly everything necessary for communication, and only WiFi and UMTS are lacking but for a general use handset is that not necessary. This tri-band handset boasts Bluetooth, infra-red and GPRS in addition to a data cable.
    The data cable can be used on most computers and uses the new Sony Ericsson system which first appeared on the K750i. Because of this it is also possible to load music while charging the W550i.
    The Bluetooth connection works well with other makes. Infra-red is also present on W550i however the target group of W550i will rapidly switch over to using Bluetooth. This raises the question of what the infrared is for. I guess that this is to permit the trade of data with those slightly older handsets from a year or two ago.
    Games
    The W550i has three games, namely Maggot, Snowboard and an adventure game. Maggot is the nicest game that can provide hours of fun while waiting for friends or appointments to show up. The extra gaming buttons come into use while playing the snowboard game. However, the Haunting adventure game does not really appeal to me.
    Editor's Opinion

    The W550 is aimed at the young, and we can only conclude that this is a rather fine device with medium-end specifications that do not put too high a price on the device, while catering to most of the general needs of the consumer.
    The device has a reasonable camera, walkman functions, sufficient but not lavish memory and you can change the covers on this handset.
    The inclusion of infrared is a surprise to the omnipresent Bluetooth. Most manufacturers have done away with the infrared function altogether. It is a fair product, but rather garish for use in a formal setting such as in an office. I would actually find it distracting if it was placed on the table during a serious conversation or discussion.



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