Review: Sony Ericsson W760
At first glance, the W760's 240 x 320 pixel, 2.2-inch screen is so bright and its colors pop so vividly that at first I thought it was an OLED display. It's not – it's good ol' TFT LCD, just really well executed and easily readable inside or out, regardless of ambient light.
Most menus, apps and lists use bright colored fonts on a black background, a retro approach that makes everything on screen far more readable than the usual black-on-white approach.
Along the top are the usual five-bar signal strength meter, type of signal – H for HSDPA instead of 3G, message waiting, Bluetooth indicator and battery meter.
The W760 screen re-orients itself automatically when viewing photos, and the soft key controls re-orient with them.
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HSDPA signal strength on the W760 is as hardy as any 3G phone I've used. Compared side-by-side with the iPhone, it held its signal a hair longer but recovered it far quicker when going through and coming out of a long tunnel. Call signal was just as hardy. Dropouts were acceptably infrequent and connections remained relatively solid through a variety of street walking, elevator riding and sedentary indoor situations.
Not exactly landline, but the W760 sounds less cellphone-y than most, probably a result of AT&T's revamped 3G service. Out on the street and in noisy environments voices, however, ambient noise competed – and often won – versus voice. The W760 mic seemed to pick up every sound within hearing distance.
W760's speakerphone was better, with full duplex capabilities that never seemed to waver regardless of how much I and co-callers shouted at and over each other. Since the earpiece speaker is facing up, unlike some phones that have a separate speaker on the rear of the phone, both speakers could clearly be heard without any physical barriers blocking the flow of sound. The speaker also produced plenty of volume for both conversation and music, even if it is mono.
You can use any song you've got loaded into the W760 as a ringtone, which is a good thing because using your own tunes as a ringtone is free and because the only ringtones included in our test phone were electronic synthesized tones that aren't loud enough to hear if the phone is anywhere but near your ear. But as long as we picked a loud song ("Who Are You?" by The Who seemed appropriate), there was enough volume to alert us to callers even if the phone was in our pocket. It didn't hurt that the phone vibrated like an electric massager.
Don't believe the rated times, for better or for worse. In my unscientific tests, I consistently got around four and a quarter hours of talk time, even though the rated talk time in 3G was up to four hours (the rated GSM talk time is 9 hours). It's very rare for a manufacturer to understate its rated talk time.
Unusually, the screen stays on, albeit at a lowered brightness level, during the entire length of a call. Even stranger, I could not find a way to change the screen and backlighting duration.
While it's not listed on the spec sheet, I was told by a Sony Ericsson spokesperson the W760 had a music play time of 20 hours. We did two tests on this and got only 13 hours of consecutive music play. While this is a lot less than most music phones, its of more academic interest than a deal breaker.
Standby time using HSDPA is rated at 350 hours, which translates to 5.83 days; by comparison, the iPhone has a rated standby time of 300 hours.
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