The last handset I looked at from Sony Ericsson was the W880i. Hailed as an ultra small, ultra thin mobile, my main problem with it was that the number dialling buttons were simply too small to use comfortably. This problem marred what was otherwise for me a rather nice little phone.
So, into my hands comes the Sony Ericsson W610i. As I write it is available on O2, Orange and Vodafone and with each operator you can get it at prices from free upwards. It is a quad-band handset with GPRS and EDGE and comes in two colour schemes. My review sample had a black frontage with silver and orange highlights and a superbly brash bright orange back. A version with a white front and black back is also available.
At 93g the W610i weighs about 20g more than the W880i. It is also a heck of a lot thicker – 14mm compared to 9.4mm. It is just a single millimetre shorter and narrower at 102mm tall and 46mm wide. The single millimetre variations are so little as to be insignificant if you are comparing the two handsets.
What matters more in a straight comparison is the size of the number keys. Sony Ericsson has gone for similar keys to the W880i but I found the W610i’s number keys a little easier to use thanks to a small amount of extra width. However, if you do a lot of texting, you really should try them out for use at speed before plumping for this mobile.
If you decide you can live with the small number keys, then the rest of the buttons probably won’t give you any trouble. The navigation button is a thin silver circle raised a fair way from the fascia. To its left and right are two incomplete circles similarly designed. Their upper edges can be pressed for the softmenu functions, their lower edges for Back and Clear.
There are buttons in the centre of each of the circles on the left and right. The one on the left is the Walkman key, the central one is a pause/play button, which doubles as a select button when you are not listening to music. The one on the right calls up the Activity Menu. There is another pause/play button on the left edge of the handset and a volume rocker on the right edge.