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Last month I reviewed Sony Ericsson's W595 handset and I was quite impressed; it hit a lot of the right buttons for me. It was also announced at the same time as the W302 which is an altogether less inspiring handset.
When writing this review, Carphone Warehouse was offering the W302 on O2 for free on a £30 per month contract.
Dropping in at the lower end of what Sony Ericsson has on offer, this handset could bring the Sony Ericsson music experience to the masses, but it is a bit lacking in specifications.
On the other hand I do like the design. This is a simple candybar handset, light in the pocket and comfortable in the hand. It weighs just 78g making it one of the lightest mobiles I've ever seen. Indeed it begs the question ‘how light is too light?' since it has lost that reassuring weight and solid feel that some users might like.
It is ideal for those who want a phone to shove into a tiny pocket as it measures a mere 100mm tall, 46mm wide and 10.5mm thick. The ‘midnight black' fascia on my review sample, with its silver highlights, was not unappealing and there is also a ‘sparkling white' version.
The trade-off for the small size is a relatively little screen. At two inches, measured diagonally, it is adequate but there are plenty of phones with larger screens. Its 176 x 220 resolution mean that it lacks the definition I'm used to seeing from Sony Ericsson too.
The buttons are reasonable. The number keys are thin wide lozenges and they do look small. But they are raised from the fascia and give a reassuring click when pressed which helps a great deal with usability. I found them OK to use, though if you have broad fingertips you might have a problem.
Above the number keys and beneath the screen is an array of buttons. Sony Ericsson has adopted its familiar rounded design for these. So, to the far left and right are small Call and End buttons that are complete circles. These are embedded into partially circular rockers the top end of which accesses the softmenus and the bottom end of which is for Clear and Shortcuts features.