Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sony Ericsson W810i Review

After months of hearing how great the K750i/W800i camera phones are, I was really eager to get my hands on an 850 version of the phone. Rogers quickly picked up the phone after its general release so I've recently switched my main phone to a Rogers branded Sony Ericsson W810i. The firmware on it is R4CE012. The box contains the phone, CST-60 charger, HPM-70 stereo headset, 512 MB Sandisk Memory Stick Duo, Sony MSAC-M2 Memory Stick Duo Adapter, DCU-60 USB data cable, and SE CD with utilities and programs.

 
Quick facts:

 
Name: Sony Ericsson W810i
Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Weight: 99 g
Dimensions: 100 x 46 x 20 mm
Battery life (stand by): 350 hours
Battery life (talk): 480 minutes

 
My phone was manufactured in: (your phone's country of manufacture could vary) China

 

 
The W810i is a bit wider and shorter than the Nokia 6230. The W810i is light coming from a 6682. The W810i case does creak but feels more solid than both the 6230 and 6682. But the T616 still feels much more solid than this phone.

 


Aesthetics

 
The first thing I noticed about this phone is the keypad - they look exactly like the T616 I had. They feel a bit flusher with the phone now. I was concerned with the 3-button clusters surrounding the D-pad - it looked a felt small, two characteristics that lead me to think I'll be making a lot of keystroke mistakes.

The silver d-pad really catches the most attention when the display is off.

 
The phone does not smudge except for the screen, camera lens, orange and silver keys in the 3-button cluster, and shutter button. The build construction on the phone is very solid but you can still hear creaking if you push on the body around the screen.

 
The keypad light is very weak and having the lighting orange coloured doesn't help. You may have problems seeing all the keys in a dark place. I think there is a light sensor at the top right of the phone but it didn't make much of an impact on the keypad lighting since it was so weak already.

 

I didn't like the SIM mechanism in the V3 but I don't like W810i's SIM slot even more. You have to slip your SIM card between the 2 metal slits. Because the SIM card drops into groved area, pushing the SIM card out of that grooved area is hard. I found that I needed to be pushing the SIM card from the back while slipping my nails under the front of the SIM card. If you're one to change phones a lot, this may be a concern as this will wear out your SIM card faster than other phones.

 
 Display

 
The screen resolution is 176 x 220 and can display up to 262,144 colors. The light sensor didn't seem to vary the brightness of the screen. The bad part is that it dims after only 20 seconds. There's no way to adjust this.

Small but the quality is amazing. Now I have an idea how users of the S700i must've felt.

 

My 6682 pales in comparison.

 

Keypad

 
My initial impression was the 3-button clusters surrounding the D-pad were going to give me trouble. They were stiff in the beginning and made it difficult to use the soft keys but I quickly got use to the keys. You will rarely hit the wrong key (i.e. the back button instead of the left soft key).

The D-pad is smooth and accurate. The centre OK key on the D-pad, although sticking out from the centre, did not feel awkward to use at all.

 

The number keypad resembles the T616 but slightly different. The keys are wider, flatter surface, and much flusher with the body. I didn't make any mistakes hitting keys on the keypad and I could figure what key I was pressing without looking.

 

So how is the W810i keypad for gaming? I can comfortably play Splintered Cell and Tetris. Any fast paced games requiring you to use the D-pad and keypad at the same time will be difficult as the D-pad is very close to the number pad. From a phone perspective, you can easily use the W810i with one hand.

 

External Memory

 
The memory card is hot swappable so you can take it out while the phone is on. I haven't tried removing it while the phone was reading from the memory card (i.e. removing the card while the Walkman player was playing an MP3 on it) since I didn't want to damage the card. The W810i does not behave the same way the 6682 does so it doesn't prompt or alert you that the memory card is being removed when you open the rubber protector. The rubber cover is sturdy on my phone but I don't recommend playing with it as I think it will wear out quickly and become loose.

 

Menu setup

 
Bug: Power cycling will occasionally lose your D-pad shortcuts. Set the shortcuts a couple times and it'll stay.

 
Phonebook & scrolling speed

 
The W810i is fast. It quickly scrolls through the contacts. If you hold on the up or down key D-pad, it will start to scroll at a faster rate. The search function is very quick pulling up matching names instantaneously. Unlike Windows Mobile phones it will not match phone numbers - just the names, and just the first name at that.

 
Also worth noting, you can set up different default numbers for calling, texting, MMS, and e-mail address for each contact.

Profiles

 
The standard profiles included: Normal, Meeting, In Car, Handsfree, Home, Office, Outdoors, and TTY Accessory.

 
For each profile you can set Ring volume, Silent Mode, Increasing Ring, Vibrating Alert, Key sound, Forward Calls, Accept Calls, and Answering Mode.

 
call listings

 
You have the option of looking at All Calls, Dialed Calls, Answered Calls, and Missed Calls. I really like the All Calls list.

 
File manager

 
You can browse both the phone contents and memory card contents through the Gallery. The Gallery organizes files into categories based on where they are placed in the phone. These are Pictures, Videos, Ringtunes, Themes, Web Pages, Games, Applications, and Other. The built-in Gallery is adequate for casual users. It will not reveal system directories. If you browse the phone via bluetooth FTP, you will see the directory structure of the phone is a whole lot different than what the Gallery presents you.

Themes

 
The Rogers W810i firmware has Flash themes disabled. I got my Flash desktop themes enabled at Bongo Wireless.

 
The standard themes will change your wallpaper, text colours, and background colours. With Flash desktop themes enabled, the main menu can also be customized. Here are some examples of Flash themes that come with the W810i:

 
Emerge:


 

Equalizer:

 

Orbit:

 

Included Office tools

 
Standard SE tools are included.

 
  • Alarms - you can set a one time alarm or have it repeat.
  • Calendar - calendar to find out today's date and important bdays
  • Tasks - remind yourself to do something (like remember to buy the bday present for important bday to noted in the calendar)
  • Notes - write down some information. It's dated too!
  • Sync - Allows server or PC synchronization. I didn't figure out how to use either. The server sync asks you to contact your service provider
  • Calculator - just a basic calculator
  • Stop Watch - split and lap timing
  • Timer
  • Light - turns on the camera light or SOS signal
  • Code Memo - allows you to save passwords and such on the W810i behind a protected area requiring a password
  • VideoDJ - mix your own videos
  • MusicDJ - mix your own ringtones
  • PhotoDJ - simple image editor
  • Remote Control - You need to install SE PC Suite to the computer. Includes: Presenter, MediaPlayer, Desktop
  • Record Sound - sound recorder, limited by memory

Standby Clock

 
The T616 had a really dim standby clock that you could see if you tilted the screen. The W810i just goes black. You can light up the screen and show the clock by clicking on the volume keys

  Offline Mode

 
I travel a lot so I'm on the plane for a number of hours. This mode becomes important to me as I can't be using my phone with transmitting on. When you turn on the phone you are prompted in the Startup Menu for Start Phone or Music Only. Music Only is the offline mode so you won't be transmitting. In this mode you can only access the Walkman application. I miss the offline mode on my 6682. You can quickly go back to the Startup Menu by clicking the Back button. In Phone mode, you can't easily get to the Music Only mode unless you re-start the phone.

 
You can enable the Startup Menu by going to Settings > General > Startup Menu > Show

  
Connectivity

 
You can connect the W810i to your computer using Bluetooth, infrared, or data cable. You can install SE PC Suite to synchronize the W810i with your computer. You do not need to install SE PC Suite to install any Java applications/games onto the W810i. The e-mail client handles some attachments, MMS.

 
Bluetooth

 
You can pair devices, you can send images/files/ringtones/themes and virtually any content via bluetooth to another device. You can receive Java applications and allow W810i to install it but you cannot send installed Java applications. SE is the king of bluetooth and it shows from the multitude of bluetooth profiles provided. If your BT is off you can still send media, the phone prompts you to turn on BT and it'll automatically turn it off after transfer.

 
Transfers occur in the foreground and you can't multi-task during this time. The W810i supports Bluetooth 1.2 so transfers should be fast. Too bad I don't have any Bluetooth 1.2 enabled devices so transfers are slow for me.

 


 
Pairing the W810i with a PC gives you these features in the included Java profiles:

 
  • Dial up networking
  • HS Audio gateway
  • Mouse & Keyboard
  • NAP service
  • OBEX Object Push
  • OBEX File Transfer
  • OBEX IrMC Sync Server
  • Serial Port

 
Synchronizing
Better than previous SE suites but still needs some work.


 
Reception

There are rumours circulating HoFo about the W810i dropping calls. I haven't had that happen to me. I find reception to be on par to my 6682.

 

Sound Quality
The phone sounds good. It's much louder than the 6682.

 
Speakerphone
The Speakerphone works well on the W810i. Voices come out clear. Louder than the 6682.

 
Headset use
I haven't tested this.

 
Multimedia Features

Camera
The camera user interface (UI) in the W810i mimicks the Sony CyberShot UI. This makes the camera UI look completely different from the rest of the phone. The UI is the same as other SE phones made after the S700i so you can refer to any SE review.

 
Bug: In some instances with the quality set to Fine, camera application will close when you push the shutter. This isn't consistent though. Changing the quality to Normal seemed to avoid the problem.

 
This is the best camera on a phone that I have in my collection. This will become my new reference camera for future phones, unless I'm reviewing another VGA camera where I'll use the Nokia 6230b again. Night mode requires you to have a fairly still hand to make the shots effective. The W810i stores pictures taken in the Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) format. EXIF is a variation on the JPEG that includes extra interchange information such as shutter speed, focal length, and lens aperture. The W810i provides: Width, Height, Horizontal Resolution, Vertical Resolution, Bit Depth, Frame Count, Equipment Make, Camera Model, Creation Software (firmware), F-Number, Exposure Time, ISO Speed, Metering Mode, Light Source, Exposure Compensation, Date Picture Taken, Flash Mode, and Color Representation.

 


 
Shoot mode
Allows normal, panorama, frames, and burst.

 
A normal shot dependant on other settings of the phone. The sequence mode will take 6 quick shots and the self-timer allows a shot to be taken a couple seconds after setting it.

 
There are 3 pic sizes
Large 1632 * 1224
Medium 640 * 480
Small 160 * 120

 
There are 2 quality settings for each pic size
Normal
Fine

 
self timer
Self descriptive, it allows you to set up a timer and get into the shot

 
White Balance
Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent
Allows you to adjust the brightness of the image being taken by pushing left or right in the camera mode.

 
Shutter Sound
There are 4 different shutter sounds to select from. In the Rogers firmware, you cannot silent the shutter sound or the autofocus sound even if you switch to Silent mode in Profiles. I had my shutter sound and autofocus sound removed at Bongo Wireless.

 
Turn on Time and Date
Places the date and time at the bottom right corner of the picture

 
Normal mode

W810i


 
6682

 


 
W810i

 


 
6682

 

The W810i takes slightly clearer pictures, most likely from the higher pixel count.

 
Night Mode

 
There's a night mode as well, but it's fairly hard to use as it requires you to be completely still. These pictures were taken with very little external light.

 
W810i

 


 
6682

 


 
The W810i produces much more grainy pictures than the 6682.

 
Turn On Light

 
Bright and only illuminates a short distance. The light does not behave as a regular flash as it can only be turned ON or OFF. However, when you press the shutter, the light does brighten like a flash. If you leave it ON for a while, it will start to blink. If you use night mode, the light will be brighter.

 
W810i

 


 
6682

 


 
Not much difference with such a close up flash. From actual use, the W810i flash shines a bit further than the 6682. Since the light on the W810i remains on, it helps you auto focus but its drawback is looking odd with such a bright light on in a dark place.

 
Macro Mode
I take a lot of close up pictures so this mode is very important to me. This is where auto focus helps the most.

 
W810i without Macro

 


 
W810i with Macro

 


 
6682

 


 
The macro mode and auto focus combination on the W810i kills the camera on the 6682.

 
Video

 
The phone also does Video, which is your standard QCIF 174 x 144 pixels or Sub-QCIF 128 x 96 pixel sizing. Nothing special but you can record directly to the memory card.

 
Applications

 
Multitasking
Coming from a 6682, I'm spoiled by true multitasking but even that didn't allow opening multiple instances of the same application.

 
The W810i supports semi multi-tasking.

 
At any one time you can run:
- One Walkman instance
- One Java application
- One basic phone function (like calendar) if it's in the foreground

 
Java
I tried Splintered Cell 3D, VRally 3D, Worms Fort 3D, and Sonic. All played at a good rate. I also played 2-player VRally over Bluetooth and it worked well. The cars lagged a bit, enough for the game to register both cars as winners if they finished at around the same time, but not enough to affect game play since the other player is represented as a ghost car.

 
I also tried vNES for J2EE on the W810i. There is some file size limit so games like Super Mario Bros 3 did not work with it. I think the ROM size limit is around 500KB. I did get Super Mario Bros running on it but the lag was unbearable. You hit jump and Mario jumps after a split second.

 
Since games that run on the K750i and W800i run on the W810i there are plenty of games available. The W810i comes with two games and two applications: JC Does TEXAS (sort of like Yetti games), QuadraPop (like Gem Jam), Music Mate, and News Reader.

 
Music Player
Bug: While playing a song, if you go into the Equalizer and keep scrolling between Voice, Treble Boost, and Mega Bass, the audio will crap out and play a high pitched sound. Just don't do this and you can avoid the bug.

 
The phone has 20MB of internal phone memory so that's best left for ringtones and apps. The memory stick DUO can support up to 2GB. The W810i can use stereo headsets. Sound quality from the headset is good, better than any headsets included with any phone. The Music Player supports playlists and you can make play lists on the phone. When you upload an MP3 on to your phone, it will immediately appear in the Walkman app.

 
Play modes supported: Shuffle, Loop
Equalizer: Normal, Bass, Mega Bass, Voice, and Treble Boost

 
Battery
It uses the same battery as the Sony Ericsson Z520i and J220a (BST-37: 900 mAh). On light call usage and mild usage with bluetooth, Java games, and camera, the W810i easily lasted 4 days. Charging from a 20% battery to full took over 5h.

 
Rogers Firmware

 
* Removal of data counter
* Auto focus and shutter sounds cannot be disabled with silent mode (i got mine disabled at Bongo Wireless).
* Flash theme support disabled (i got mine enabled at Bongo Wireless).
* Cannot change Rogers data account. But you can change the Rogers Internet account and set Internet Profile to Rogers Internet.
* Cannot customize the Left or Right soft keys on the standby page. Yes, the Mall button annoys me as well. And like everyone knows, the Mall button initially pulls a static page stored in the firmware so you're not charged yet.

 
Ratings:
Performance...........9
Build quality...........9
Keypad...................9
Connectivity...............9
Features for $.........6
Software................9
Camera..................10
Battery life.............8
 
Overall.....................9

 
PROS:
*Strong RF
*Excellent build quality
*Camera - macro mode and auto focus is great
*class 10 EDGE
*Great sound/clarity
*Amazing phonebook organization
*traditional phone design
*support for large 2GB memory cards
*really fast navigating menus
*lots of existing Java apps/games

CONS:
*Rogers disabling features (i.e. Flash themes support)
*exposed camera lens
*small screen
*expensive on Rogers, outside of the 2MP camera, there isn't really anything special
*no active standby to display my calendar for the day like on recent Nokia phones

Thanks to Treatz for lending me his stylz for this review

3 comments:

Charlie said...

in this model FM can be or not ... if yes then tell me its result of sound ,,, Thanks

Wayne said...

Yes - It does play FM - Brilliant quality.

raj kumar said...

The given information is really very good, i really like this all. The Sony Ericsson W810i is another from Sony Ericsson's Walkman phones. This mobile is mostly famous for its music and sound quality.
Sony Ericsson W810i Price