Review: Sony Ericsson W600
It's difficult to discuss the W600 without comparing it to Sony Ericsson's first spinner, the S710a. The W600 is significantly smaller than the S710, but it is not much thinner. This small footprint concentrates the thickness over such a small area that it makes the phone very uncomfortable in tight pockets.
The W600 is narrow and short enough that it is very easy to wrap your hand around it, but that makes the phone difficult to hold when talking on it for an extended period of time - unless the phone is opened. When opened, the phone is significantly more comfortable to hold. With time, you learn to hold the phone closed so that it is almost as comfortable to talk into that way - at least for short conversations.
The phone is so small that the only way to describe its weight is dense. The W600 weighs quite a bit considering its small footprint. This is more obvious with the spinner closed than open. Once open, the phone has excellent weight and balance.
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Although the numeric keypad looks like it has flat, awkwardly spaced keys, it is surprisingly usable. Each key has a barely discernible hump to it that provides tactile reassurance you're hitting the right key. And the large vertical columns between the keys space them out so that travel between keys is a comfortable distance. Once you adapt to the size and position of the keys, texting is actually quite speedy.
The navigation buttons on the face and side of the phone each jut out pretty significantly from the phone body. This makes using the menus and common functions easy to do with a minimum amount of watching your fingers. The D-Pad looks awkward, but features raised humps at each of the four primary directions that make it almost as easy to use as the tiny joystick on Sony Ericsson candybar models. The center select button is now a separate flat button instead of the joystick look-alike from the S710a. The thumb naturally gravitates towards its large smooth concave surface, acting as a homing device for no-look navigation.
The only two buttons that are difficult two press are the gaming controls above the screen. They sit flush with the phone's body and are not used for any phone operation. However all W600 games are designed to be used horizontally, in which case the D-pad sits under the left thumb and the two game buttons under your right work like A and B on the Gameboy.
The W600 includes a keylock slide switch just like the S700 series spinners. It is great for preventing you from making unwanted calls while the phone is bouncing around your pocket or purse. They have also improved the user-friendliness of this by automatically unlocking the keys if you spin the phone open. It is very convenient.
Sony Ericsson Summer 2005
Report from the launch of the new Sony Ericsson W600 and Z520. Hands-on report and photos from the launch event in New York City.
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