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Sony Ericsson Summer 2005

Intro W600 1 W600 2 Z520 Accessories Comments  28  

Although they are clearly playing up the music angle, the W600 is no one-trick pony. Sony Ericsson has managed to pack in an impressive array of serious features, while keeping the price to something they promise will be very reasonable. This is not a high-end phone, but you certainly wouldn't guess that from scanning the feature list.

Chief among the non-music features is the 1.3 megapixel camera. It's of the CMOS variety, although CMOS sensors for camera phones are rapidly improving in quality these days, so that's not necessarily a bad thing. The camera is assisted by an LED flash (although Sony Ericsson is careful to call it a "photo light" instead of a flash, to avoid getting anyone's expectations too high about the range an LED can actually provide.) Video capture is also supported, although it's fairly limited, with only a 10 fps frame rate (which means motion will be somewhat choppy) and a maximum clip length of under a minute.

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Just like the S710 and most recent Sony Ericsson camera phones, the W600 has a "dual-face" design with a great landscape camera mode with a capture button right on top so you can hold it just like a standalone digital camera.

Next on the feature list is the Java gaming. This is actually one of the most versatile gaming phones I've seen in recent times. Not only does it have a decent display, 3D graphics, and multiplayer capability via Bluetooth, but it also has an interesting variety of options for orientation and button layout.

Of course you can use it in the standard way, with the keypad either open or closed. But you can also use it in landscape (horizontal) mode, in which case you can take advantage of the two extra keys next to the speaker for a full wide-screen, two-handed gaming experience.

Of course, landscape mode isn't ideal for some types of games. So to accommodate games for the traditional vertical orientation and still provide a full two-handed mode, the W600 is designed to let you swing the keypad to a 90-degree position, as shown in the last photo above. And since the W600, well... swings both ways, lefties aren't left out.

Unfortunately, the hinge doesn't "click" at the 90-degree position. It's not really a problem since the hinge isn't loose - it will stay where you put it - it just seems awkward.

That was my only complaint about the build of the phone - otherwise it felt solid, with good ergonomics. The number keys are much easier use than they look; the keys are rounded so that you can easily feel each individual key. The music key is very narrow, but I didn't have any trouble using it. All of the other keys are excellent.

Other features of the phone include Bluetooth, EDGE high-speed data, and a NetFront browser that support browsing of full HTML web sites, as well as WAP sites, etc. The phone also supports serveral exotic content formats, including Flash, SVG, and RSS feeds.

Like the Z520, the W600 features user-changeable "Style-Up" covers. In fact, it may be the first swivel-style phone in the world (or at least the Western hemisphere) to have this feature. Speaking of the Z520....


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