Review: Sony Ericsson W810
The screen on the W810 appears to be Sony Ericsson's brightest so far. This is one of the first phones we've been able to take pictures with, even when the bright California sun is at our backs - the screen barely even fades in the direct sunlight. Color on the screen is quite rich, as it has been on most recent Sony Ericsson models, and the screen is sharp. There is no fault with this screen at all, but in this age where most high end phones have a QVGA screen, it is a shame the W810 does not have one. Sony Ericsson clearly recognized this and has upgraded their next flagship, the K790 to a QVGA model.
The W810 cannot defy dreaded dead zones or even breach them further than its predecessors. But when the phone can get a signal, even a weak one, it provides a crystal clear call. Calls made from our a underground vault were indistinguishable from those made with full signal strength. The W810 is also much faster at re-acquiring a signal after leaving a dead zone than the W600 we tested. We re-joined the network almost instantly.
Oddly, when the signal was at its strongest and the W810 showed full bars, the phone would mysteriously drop calls when on the T-Mobile network. The same was not true when using other handsets on T-Mobile during the same time, indicating there is a problem with the W810. We contacted Sony Ericsson about this problem and they've indicated that they are aware of it and it will be corrected by the time the phone launches in the US.
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As a side note, we have been told that improvements have been made to the W600's software so it is equally responsive now.
The W810 could stand to be louder. Unlike Sony Ericsson's spinners, the ringing and alert volume on the w810 is nowhere near deafening. We needed to turn the volume up to 7 out of 8 just to hear the phone ring in a pocket outdoors. When setting it this loud, the phone displays a warning that such loud volumes could damage hearing. This is a standard warning across all SE models, for some of which this holds true, but in this case the ringer is barely loud enough to be heard, let alone cause hearing damage. Speakerphone suffers from the same low volume as the ringer, but as with the ringer, it can be heard once the volume is set louder. Though the speaker falls a bit short, the vibrating alert is quite forceful, and a significant improvement over the spinner models.
The earpiece volume was also soft, but could be heard well at a lower volume setting than the speaker. As we said in the signal section, sound quality was excellent, in part due to reception, and in part due to the crystal clear sound produced by the earpiece. The microphone is also rather effective, cutting out a great deal of wind noise. It is much better than on the W600.
Even using the camera often and keeping Bluetooth on, we got over three days of battery life, usually four. The battery icon now waits until the charge is at 25% or less to fade to yellow, and 10% to shift to red. (On previous Sony Ericsson models, it used to go yellow closer to 40%.) It is also worth noting that on both the W600 and W810, Sony Ericsson has brought back information on the exact amount of charge remaining to the status menu.
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