The slide mechanism isn't as smooth as some, though, and it does need a bit of a kickstart to get it going, which inevitably meant that while testing this phone I often either dabbed a greasy finger on the screen or on the buttons beneath it. In the latter case, there was the irritation of making selections I didn't want. All just reminders of why I can find the slider format a bit of a pain. On the plus side, the number pad is large and dabbing at keys for texting was fast and efficient.
The screen measures 2.2 inches across diagonal corners and its 240 x 320 pixels and 262 thousand colours are specs I've come to expect from Sony Ericsson. The TFT is sharp and bright.
Beneath the screen sits a fairly large area containing plenty of buttons. A flat plate contains the softmenu keys, one for Sony Ericsson's superb Activity menu and a clear key.
Real buttons provide the Call and End functions, and centrally there is a large D-pad. This is marked with music control functions - pause/play, back, forwards - and with a little GPS icon that calls up the various navigation options on board.
The antenna is supplemented by Google Maps, a three-month trial of Wayfinder navigator for point-to-point route planning, and, for runners, an application called Tracker, which will monitor your distance, speed of travel, and energy burned.
You can activate the Walkman software via a side button and then use the D-pad and softmenu keys to get around, making choosing music and controlling playback fast and easy.
When music is playing you can use shake control. You need to hold down the left side-mounted Walkman key then shake once to the right to move forward a track, once to the left to move back a track. Shaking it all about shuffles tracks, while moving the phone towards you raises the volume, away from you lowers it. Shakes need to be quite vigorous, and provided you don't mind looking like a numpty, it works.
Playlists can be created by mood, though to do this you have to use Sony Ericsson's Media Manager to transfer tracks as this assigns the mood tags. There is 40MB of built in memory and a Memory Stick Micro slot on the top edge of the casing. My review sample came with a 1GB card.