Arc-shaped buttons on the left and right of the D-pad give you access to Call and End features, the softmenus, Clear, and Sony Ericsson's all important Activity menu. I like this every time I come across it, because of the easy access it gives to running apps, user-defined shortcuts, alerts and Internet related features.
I do have to say that some of the front keys are a bit small and fiddly, and this is a pity as Sony Ericsson has plenty of front space on this phone to play with and so could have made some of the buttons larger.
Open the slide and Sony Ericsson proves it can do design and utility at the same time. The numberpad is very original without loosing its usability. Each key is individually shaped and raised from the surrounding fascia. Speed-texters should be fine with it.
For all its Walkman capability and branding, probably the flagship feature of this phone is its YouTube connection. You can view videos, which I found to be a pretty smooth and surprisingly workable experience. You can also upload video you've shot with the phone. Just beware of data charges.
Music is at the core of what this phone does and a key on the side of the casing drops you right into the Walkman software. It also doubles as the shake control key. Hold it down and you can shake left and right to switch tracks, up and down to change volume. Sony Ericsson should really ditch this feature. It isn't as accurate as using the easily accessible D-pad controls, and in my view you'll look demented while doing it.
SensMe, which has been around for a while on Sony Ericsson handsets, helps you choose music to match your mood. Memory runs to 40MB with a 2GB Memory Stick Micro also included.
Sony Ericsson simply can't get rid of its proprietary, side-mounted, headset connector, but in this case it ends in a chunky 3.5mm splitter. I'm getting images of lovey-dovey types sharing their favourite tracks on the train and people doubling up to listen to a podcast so they can share the laughter/information/whatever. It's sweet to think that Sony Ericsson cares so much, but you might find it annoying to carry bulk at the phone end and the 3.5mm end of your headset.