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Review: Sony Ericsson W580i

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Like all the Walkman phones released in the states, the W580i does not have a 3.5mm jack. Instead it only has a proprietary port which has a 3.5mm jack as well as a mic and answer key for taking calls while using headphones. Unfortunately the port is on the side of the phone, making it awkward (and sometimes uncomfortable) to put the phone back in your pocket with headphones connected.

A touch of the Walkman button launches the music player. If you were playing a track before, the music player opens right where you left off, even if you've turned the phone off. If you haven't played any music yet, the player opens to the first track it can find, which is usually something from the ringtone library.

To add music to the player, you simply go to the track list and the phone scans for any tracks it can play and adds them to your library. The library is organized according to ID3 tags and navigating through it is as simple as moving around on the D-pad. It uses the same navigation style as the PSP or PS3. Unlike most other music players on phones, the Walkman player recognizes track numbers and will play albums in order.

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Once music is playing you can minimize the player either from the menu or by pressing the Walkman key again and use any other function on the phone. Unfortunately once the player is minimized, there is no way to control it. Although the D-pad is marked with track control shortcuts, these only work when the Walkman player is on screen. The answer key on the remote does not control the music either (except to pause it when taking a call).

The W580 supports listening to music over stereo headphones, and will control the music using the keys on those, but only after multiple presses.

The player sounds excellent. Music quality is top notch, and loud too. The Walkman application also includes an equalizer and stereo widening if you want to fine tune how it sounds.

The W580 is supposed to include "shake control" that lets you skip forward or back a track by shaking the phone left or right. I was never able to get this feature to work.


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