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Sony Ericsson W890i - Sony Ericsson W890i

By Sandra Vogel



Our Score:


The W890i certainly has a lot going on in the features department. It is a quad-band 3G mobile with GPRS, EDGE and HSDPA. It has a front-facing camera for two-way video calling. There is a meagre 28MB of built in memory, but the phone supports Memory Stick Micro and a 2GB card is provided.

Music playback is superb as you'd expect, and the front mounted controls and solid on-screen design make nipping around tracks and playlists straightforward. There is an FM radio on hand when required.

The web browser is pretty good too. You can flick into landscape mode which can help with viewing more complex sites, and zooming is achieved in 10 per cent increments using the navigation button.

The main camera shoots stills at resolutions up to 3.2-megapixels. It lacks flash, autofocus and self-portrait mirror. There are a few pre-sets for different lighting conditions: fluorescent, incandescent, daylight and cloudy, but as usual I left the phone on its auto settings to fend for itself.

The coloured dish, shot as usual indoors under normal household lighting, is a little lacking in lustre but not bad. Outdoors the chair's white is uniformly represented and detail is reasonable for a 3.2-megapixel sensor. The blossom was shot against a bright blue spring sky and I am not surprised the camera had difficulty giving enough depth of colour to its pink hues. But again I'd say it fared quite well.

Battery life was reasonable but not as good as I've seen from some Sony Ericsson handsets. Playing music from the internal memory off a full battery charge gave me seven and a half hours of listening time, which should be enough to see all but the most die-hard music fan through a day.

The phone is bulked out with lots of software extras which this time around include Google Maps, RSS reader, calendar, task manager, voice memo, and various games and multimedia related apps.


This is probably the best handset I've seen in Sony Ericsson's Walkman range. I'd like a bigger screen now that 3.5G web browsing is a reality, but I don't want the buttons compromised to get it. And on the camera front - well, maybe it is time for Sony Ericsson to bring its CyberShot and Walkman ranges together?

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September 17, 2008, 12:27 am

Good phone with decent call reception. Save battery life by switching to Edge/GSM service instead of 3G. Almost the size of the original nano which may be why this phone is so small, so as to grab as many iPod users and lure them to SE phones!

Can use BST-40 largery capacity battery to increase usage time instead of BST-33 battery.

Proprietary plug port is all-too-common complaint above SE phones. SE should use 3.5mm port with separate phone adapter instead.

Walman Media player isn't that bad but not that good either. Phone will NEVER replace the iPod as the controls are Still Too TINY!!

The media player software is Crap and doesn't work in some computers. I must use Drag-n-drop method of files into the media card but MUST create playlists in phone so it will play or else it won't!! Terrible interface and not very user-friendly when I did get it to work in 1 of 4 computers!! Creating playlists are terrible and CD ripping is limited to 256kbps max.!!!

The keypad is OK when making phone calls but too tiny for texting. In fact, the texting feature stinks!! Very difficult to add symbols, if any, and very easy to mistype since the keypads are too small!!

Camera isn't that bad but is ONLY meant to be used in sunny conditions and for close up shots since there's no autofocus or zoom (except in VGA mode) and no flash!! The pictures are crisp and clear when taken but, again, only in sunny conditions. The camera is absolutely useless in dark conditions such as night shots. Why put a camera in a phone without AF or flash?! What's the point??

No wifi? Why?! Let owners use their phones via Wifi without paying the extra phone charges for internet connection. It's absolutely useless (at least for me)!

Price: Still pricey for a good looking phone with decent features but not the best phone by Sony Ericsson. As usual, be willing to pay a premium for the "looks" of a SE phone but not much in features!

Tech support: Not bad but not friendly especially phone support reps. Make sure you keep the purchase receipt available for warranty service.

Rating: 5/10

Ben Lowery

October 8, 2008, 7:35 pm

I really don't know what phone the person who wrote this review was using but it certainly wasn't the W890i! Since day one I have had nothing but trouble with this phone. Like other SE mobiles it seems to enjoy 'rebooting' itself on a regular basis however the W890i I have reboots itself up to 30 times a day! When I'm sending texts, using the GPRS, making calls, even when I went to get the IMEI number it rebooted! So I rang Orange and they told me there was a known fault with this handset and they could not replace it until the issue is resolved! I then rang SE who said they were not aware of any fault whatsoever!!! I have now been forced to bin this phone even though it is less than 2 months old and buy, at considerable cost, a replacement. And I haven't event mentioned the pathetic camera and the Media Manager software that keeps closing down minutes after it lauches making it impossible to transfer music... well unless you use Windows Media!

Be warned... buy this phone at your own peril!


November 2, 2008, 7:53 pm

I find it irritating that the only people who share their views on a product, tend to be those who have had problems. I have had the W890i for just over two weeks and am very happy with my purchase. My previous phone was the K810i, which is still servicing me faithfully as my spare. Now, a lot has been made of the lack of Xenon/LED flash or auto focus on the W890i. If this is important to you then naturally this isn't the phone for you. Then again, if photography is your passion, perhaps a dedicated camera would be in order. One advantage of not having a flash or auto focus, is that this is truly a point and click affair, with minimal lag between pushing the button and the picture being taken. I consider the addition of this camera as a bonus on a dedicated phone, rather than a hindrance. The build quality of the W890i is far superior to that of the K810i, which itself was far from shabby. It feels solid in the hand and has a pleasant, cool touch to it. The silver brushed metal case is very attractive, and has minor gold detailing which gives the phone an enigmatic, understated look. The rear cover has two locking clips, one at either side, which keeps the cover secure in place when sliding the phone out of a tight pocket (one minor gripe with the K810i). Another bonus is the location of the memory stick. This is situated under the rear cover, but unobstructed by the battery which allows for hot swapping. The Sony Ericsson logo on the rear cover is slightly raised, which may cause scratches if slid across a wooden surface, but that is really nit-picking. The overall size of the phone is a major selling point. It is only a tiny bit larger than the W880i, but is around half the depth of the K810i and also benefits from having rounded edges on each corner. This makes it easier to pocket, but the sound of the internal speaker does lose a little grunt and sounds a little 'tinny'. The best way to hear music is naturally by dedicated headphones, and this brings me to a well known gripe with Sony Ericsson phones. They are still insisting on using their bespoke connectors, rather than provide a 3.5mm port (this connector on the side is the only dent in this phones looks). This means that you are unable to use your own standard headphones, though naturally, the quality of bluetooth headphones are improving, and are also becoming more affordable. The provided headphones are comfortable in the ear, and the quality of sound produced is very rich and warm, perhaps not to a dedicated iPod standard, but as near to it that I have experienced to date. The PC software provided isn't the best, though I haven't had as many problems with it as other reviews (on other sites) have reported. I would hope that this software indifference will be addressed by Sony Ericsson in the near future. Now onto the main reason why I bought the W890i, its use as a phone. I have been very impressed by the quality of reception provided by this phone. The clarity of sound during a call is better than any other phone that I have used to date, and I am as yet to experience not being heard clearly by anyone. I would also like to add that this phone doesn't seem to get overly hot during very long conversations. Battery life seems to be good, though perhaps not spectacular. Though I must add that compared to all of the touch screen phone swamping the market at the moment, the battery life is excellent. A previous reviewer has mentioned that the W890i will accept the BST-40 larger capacity battery which should provide better performance over the standard BST-33, and I will definitely be looking into this. The lack of wifi will upset some, but as I only use my phone when on the move, it hasn't influenced my judgement. The speed of internet access I find is reliant on the sites visited, but over all is very respectable. Many of the so called 'missing' features - wifi, flash, auto focus, 3.5mm port - would almost certainly have increased the size of this phone, and for me, that would have been a shame. For its size, I'm really impressed at how good this phone is.

Verdict: An excellent 'phone', good 'music player', and average 'camera'. Its very attractive and has great build quality. I fully recommend the W890i.


January 14, 2009, 9:07 pm

if you are just looking for a normal phone + good music player then I think this is good product for you.

BUT, if you want a good camera, responsive album viewing, good loud speaker quality, then this phone is definitely OUT.

And also, the phone is not very stable. Always get reset by itself once in a while. At first, this looks like a "Wow" phone to ppl, have tried to pass it to few ppl to test and at the end, nobody want it and have to sell it away....

Danni Painter

February 5, 2009, 10:52 pm

Like Ben, my W890i has reboots. But now its got to the stage where it happens every 5 minutes. I found that if I updated my phone software it would stop for a while. You can do this by downloading the program off the sony erricson website or there is an update service under the general tab in the settings. This only helped for a short period and I recommend you back up your files or write down your contacts first if you do this because it will delete them. Also, I am very annoyed at the music quality of the phone because it is quiet and tinny compared to other walkman phones. Another problem I have is when i take pictures, I find because the phone is so small and thin that when i take a picture the phone moves slightly and the picture will be slightly blurry, and this is annoying for me as i use my phone as a camera a lot because I can't afford a digital camera (I'm 15 btw, too busy with school to get a job!). I am considering getting a new phone because this is just getting to annoying that i want to throw it out of the window, luckily my boyfriend is willing to give me his old phone, also sony erricson, and hopefully I won't have any problems with it!! Hopefully what I have said has been use to some people, but unless you don't mind your phone rebooting every 10 minutes, I suggest you don't get this phone, but of course go for another phone in the SE range because i have had them for about 5 years and I think they are the best phones around and very easy to use! Lots of love, Danni xxxx


February 25, 2009, 11:36 pm

I had the exact same problem with my W8901 where i was getting the emergency calls only message. When i put my chip in my old phone that worked fine! The ironic thing was when emergency calls were trying to get through to me, my phone would go straight to answer phone then when i tried to retrieve the message i couldn't! It was so frustrating! When i contacted Sony they told me the phone needed a software update. I didn't want to get into that, so took it back to the shop where i bought it from. Luckily the phone was under warranty with them for a year. After it was sent off to be repaired twice and was returned to me with the same problem they gave me a new phone, a W910i. Touch wood its worked fine up until now but it’s been a horrible first experience with a Sony Ericsson, think I’ll stick to Nokia's after this!

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