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Welcome to the Sony Ericsson W300i mobile phone review. We liked the look of this phone so decided to do a review.

The W300i is classed as an entry level music phone. The W in front of the number indicates that this is a music phone. So you can expect the phone to work primarily as a music player as opposed to designed primarily for calls or SMS. In fact its got the Sony Walkman logo on the front cover!

It’s a light all plastic phone with features you wouldn’t expect in this price category. Aside from the bonus stuff standard functionality it really is quite complete although low-spec. Available in a variety of colours, we choice a pearl white one because we feel it’s the nicest colour.

We reckon its a great music phone for the price. But what about its phone functions?

Battery Life

The battery life of this phone is very good easily lasting 3 days with an estimated 8 hours of music and radio via headphones and speaker every so often, bluetooth file transfers and a few calls. Left on stand by you can expect at least 7-10 days but probably longer. So music fans can listen to music or radio all day and more without needing to recharge.

The phone can be charged via USB cable – which was an unexpected bous.

Speed

The phone is fast – scrolling through menus you not only get fast options but also fancy animated graphics that make you wonder why you need a super computer to make Windows Vista look any good and certainly makes the iPod interface very look old.

Construction.

The W300i is an all plastic phone that manages to look modern and more expensive than you would expect – on the outside. However when you hold the phone that image of expense disappears. Holding the phone reveals some creaking panels and opening the flip reveals cheaper but sturdy looking plastics.

The keypad has been designed for style rather than usability. Unlike higher range phones the keys move around in their slots. The numeric keys are circular round with a translucent clear/reflective silver with orange back lighting. The function keys are the standard Sony Ericsson configuration but are in Walkman style rather than the normal Z or K series. So it doesn’t have the usual green and red phone buttons. The menu key is recessed so you’ll often activate other features before pressing the correct key. The keys are on the small side for normal adults but teenagers would probably find it acceptable.

The clam design seems sturdy to look at but the display section on the flip reveals a bit of leeway and that it is either all open or all closed. Colours available are black or white with silver highlights. The white one looks better than the black we feel.

There is a bright orange multi-function button on the left and the infrared port is on the right, the earphone, multi-purpose including earphone connector is at the bottom. Currently available colors include shadow black, shimmering white. The memory card slot is hidden under the battery cover.

Overall it looks great but when finally getting your hands on it – it doesn’t feel as good at it looks.

Functionality

The W300i although the bias is to music functionality has all the essential features that you’d expect in a mobile phone in 2007. It has a usable web browser, calendar, camera, video, games, photo contacts, messaging and so forth. However none of the options are comprehensive compared to it music features.

That said, it also has quite a few unexpected but desirable features! For example if you’re a parent you can limit type and who the phone can call. It can also divert calls from people you don’t want to talk to directly to your voice mail. It has a phone software update service – so you don’t need to go to a shop to update. A voice dialling or voice answer, a voice recorder and so forth.

As for customisation you can change themes and background independently, use profiles, groups and navigation key short-cuts – all the usual stuff you would expect. The only complaint if that – is that there is no way to turn off the animations.

We discovered a bonus flashing light on the right when its low on batteries! When using the USB cable the memory phone can be used a an external storage drive – bonus.

Most of the functions are menu driven so lots of clicking and selecting required we did not bother trying to find out how many messages or appointments etc… although lots of ‘hidden’ options because it would have taken too long – besides its a music phone!

Connectivity

It has the complete set of options bluetooth, USB and infrared. Unfortunately the Sony Ericsson software needs to be installed on your PC before you can access all its features, including the drivers for USB.

On the phone itself there is the Remote Control Application which allows you to control other bluetooth devices like projectors, media players and PC. Although we didn’t try this function it clearly an unexpected bonus.

MP3 and video/sound

The W300i performs very well as a music player and as a radio. The Walkman features all the expected options on a modern player with playlists, sorting by album, artist, song name, file name, various repeats and so forth. Video options are limited though. It has various eq. settings like trade marked Mega Bass but the equaliser only works in ear phone mode. In loud speaker mode the sound quality is very average and almost flat.

The FM radio rates a mention as it has RDS capability. RDS – Radio Data System is used by various stations that either show the name of the station or perhaps the name of the song that is being played. Some radio stations use it to promote various shows. So when you use the W300i you get to see the name of the station or whatever else they decide to include. But that’s not all it also has AF (Alternate Frequency) which allows the radio to retune its self to any other frequency that the same station is being broadcasted on. Useful if you live in a marginal area and don’t want the same station.

The earphones that come the W300i are the same Sony Walkman series so they are very good quality. In fact these are the benchmark earphones we use in reviews! They sound great especially combined with the Mega Bass setting.

There are the extras:
VideoDJ to edit you videos on the phone.
PhotoDJ to edit your pictures on the phone
MusciDJ allows you to make your own music or tones.
All these extras are easy to use.

All up it’s excellent considering the price. It’s not perfect though and a few criticisms like the radio functionality should be included as part of the Walkman feature. The colours of the feature should be changeable with a visualiser of some sort on either external of internal screens. Lastly there needs to be a function on that allows you to change playlists and forth on the external screen when the phone is closed.

Web Browser

The included browser is a Sony Ericsson version and works OK. You can browse the internet using GPRS but it is slow compared to 3G offerings.

The camera/video recorder

What the phone excels in is music and accordingly the camera and video application is very poor. It offers a few high end features like timer and light settings but that’s it. Its not disappointing because it clearly not designed as a camera phone. However in 2007 we expect a full 1.3MP as the minimum.

In camera mode the highest resolution is 640×480. Video resolution on only covers a max of 176×144 pixels. Quality is output is expected poor. The specs say 4x zoom, but in reality it is only available on the smallest image setting. All of this was expected.

So don’t get this phone for its imaging performance.

The screens

The screens on the W300i look good in specifications but in reality very average. The external screen is a 2 colours – bright orange and dark orange. It is easy to read and large enough for most eyes. The internal screen although capable of many colours is not very high resolution. it compares to the Gameboy SP screen in look. We thought it was slightly disappointing but not something that counts heavily against it since it is a music phone.

Call quality and network reception

Voice call quality is very good with proper volume and clear. The sound though is a tad flat. It seems to be able to maintain a signal even in marginal areas better than say the Samsung mobiles.

Issues

Everything on the phone works and we did not experience and system crashes or freezes. As we said before the function to change playlists should be available on the external screen as well – being a music phone.

The W300i does not have a flight mode that you would expect, that is as a profile. What you have to do is turn off the phone and turn it back on selecting the Walkman only option. (Larger sites clearly don’t test their phones properly.) Certainly an odd way of doings things compared to other manufacturers.

Sony Ericsson software for Windows

The software that comes with the phone looks good. It includes the PC Suite, Quicktime, Adobe Photoshop Album SE and the Disc2Phone. The included USB cable is really handy. The installation of the software requires the latest .NET 1,1 stuff so rebooting your PC up to 3 times may be necessary.

One odd thing we noticed is when trying to move a file from the root directory to another folder – we couldn’t do it. It had be be done when the phone was in drive mode. We are used to being able to move files about without changing settings.

All up its a easy package to use if you just go with the flow. Trying to think about how to do things only makes it more complicated. Just press the buttons.

Network

You can buy the phone outright but it is currently tied to Optus and a pre-paid phone.

Summary

The Sony Ericsson W300i is a great music phone. Even its physical twin the Z510i is not as good. It looks cool and made reasonably well. It offers some great features unexpected in this price bracket but they are balanced out by the lack of other stuff eg. lower resolution screen.

The sales package included a all you need including a USB cable and 256MG M2 memory card and the Walkman headphones/wired hands free cables.

The W300i compared to an iPod Nano we feel the winner is still the the phone. Sound quality is just as good and it has more features than an iPod. So if you’ve been trying to decide whether to buy an iPod or a new mobile this is a good solution. Unless you plan on using iTunes…

Our recommendation? Great package and reasonably price – just remember it is primarily a music and entertainment phone. If you buy on that basis you’ll love it.

  • Network
    Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
    GPRS and EDGE Class 10
  • Design
    Clam Shell
    L90 x W47 x D24.5 mm
    Weight 94 grams
    Black/White
    Changeable covers
  • Display/s
    Internal: 256K TFT – 176 x 220 pixels
    External: Mono – 101 x 98 pixels
  • Camera/Video
    Single .3MP (640×320) Camera
    Interpolated to 1.3MP
    x2 digital zoom
    Video capable (QCIF) 176×144 or 128×96 pixels
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth, Infrared, USB
  • Memory
    20 MB internal memory
    Memory Stick Micro M2 memory – up to 1G
  • Ring tones
    MP3, ACC, MIDI, WAV, Vibration
  • Features
    SMS, MMS, IM, WAP, Email
    JAVA MIDP 2.0
    Web browser (NetFront)
    RSS reader
    Speaker Phone/Hands free
    Walkman series music player
    Walkman series headphones
    FM Radio with RDS
    Picture, Music, Video Player
    VideoDJ, PhotoDJ, MusciDJ
    *See below for more details.
  • Speed
    Vs Nokia 6230
    Navigation 9/10
  • Battery Life
    800mAh Li Ion
    Claimed operating times:
    Standby 400 hours
    Voice 9 hours

Best features

Music related features
Bluetooth, Infrared, USB
External media controls
Complete sales package
Able to charge battery via USB cable.

Could do better features (based on price range)

Integrated standard earphone connector.
More alarm clock options.
Better internal screen.

Worst features

Missing external playlist control.

Detailed features

Sync data with PC
Alarm Clock, Calendar, Notes, Stopwatch, Task list, Timer
Themes, Customisable backgrounds, Screensaver
Picture, Video viewer
Voice dialling – answer – recorder
Lots of dialled numbers
Lots of received calls
Lots of missed calls
Lots of Calendar
Lots of To Do
Lots of Memo
Lots of Secret Memo
Lots of SMS in phone
1000 Contacts in phone with pictures

Price history

$199 AUS PRE-PAID OPTUS 2007

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