Moto ROKR E8 Sony Ericsson
Sony Ericsson got an early jump on the show announcing its new phones before anyone else got a chance. The W760 is the most notable among them by far. With this phone, we see Sony Ericsson was merely dipping their toe in the water with the K850. Now they're wading into the pool, with a much more, shall we say traditional, looking slider.
The W760 fits in the hand well and slides open and closed nicely. The navigation controls are on the face of the phone so they are accessible when the phone is closed. These are dominated by a huge D-pad in the center, with a fairly large number of keys surrounding it, including send and end keys - which are strange to see on a Sony Ericsson phone. In fact I was so dumbfounded that I kept pressing them instead of the soft keys when trying to use the phone. Sliding the W760 open reveals a very nice numeric keypad. The keys are large, have good feedback, and are very easy to text with.
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The W760 has so many tricks up its sleeve that Sony Ericsson could not work them all out in time for it's premiere. However the phone's accelerometer was working and will automatically rotate the screen when you are using the Walkman interface, playing games, and in a few other instances. The GPS, SenseMe and other noteworthy features weren't as ready for prime time yet. The phone was working well enough for us to learn that although the camera is 3 MP, it is not autofocus nor does it have a flash.
Here is a video preview tour of the W760:
After the W760, it's difficult to be impressed by the W350, but it's not fair to demand as much from a mid-range phone. Everything old is new again as Sony Ericsson brings back the flip phone - both Sony and Ericsson's original form factor of choice. Although it makes me nostalgic for my first phone, which was an Ericsson flip, it also reminds me how much more we do with our phones now. The W350 has thousand more features and is 1/10th as thick as that old Ericsson.
But unfortunately the flip style was designed back when we didn't do much other than make phone calls, and modern tasks like typing out texts or even using the D-pad are far more difficult with the flip obstructing your normal grasp of the phone. It doesn't help the the D-pad is fairly small, though the 2 soft keys, back and clear key surrounding it are plenty larger. However with the flip closed, it is easy to control your music with the dedicated playback keys.
The small 176 x 220 screen helps to keep the W350 svelte, unfortunately it feels really small, especially compared to the QVGA model on the W580.
Here is a video preview tour of the W350:
The Z555 has the same 176 x 220 screen as the W350, which looks positively minuscule floating in the center of the Z555's large plastic face.
The large body may make the screen look small, but it assures that the keys are large, and they are very easy to use. Though we still liked typing on the W760 better.
This clamshell has a monochrome OLED screen hidden beneath it's faceted cover. It looks quite stylish when lit up, even if it's just displaying the time.
Here is a video preview tour of the Z555: