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Sony Ericsson W995 review



  • Recommended by TR
Sony Ericsson W995


Our Score


User Score


  • Great camera
  • Good connectivity, built-in iPlayer
  • 3.5mm headphone jack


  • Not a full smartphone - proprietary OS
  • Lacks dynamism

Review Price free/subscription

Key Features: 2.6-inch 240x320 pixel screen; 8.1-megapixel camera with LED flash; 3G/WiFi connectivity; Slider form factor; Dedicated music buttons

Manufacturer: Sony Ericsson

I've been saying for a long while now that Sony Ericsson should drop its W-for-Walkman and C-for-Cyber-shot branding and instead concentrate on producing all-rounders for different levels of the market. With the recent launch of the Aino Satio and Yari it looks like Sony Ericsson has decided this would be a good idea too.

In the mean time, though, we have another entrant to the W range, in the shape of the quad-band GSM, 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS toting W995 - a slider which could be one of the very last to bear the 'W' moniker. Interestingly enough, Sony Ericsson has decided to include an 8.1-megapixel camera, more usually the domain of Cyber-shot handsets.

I've sometimes found Sony Ericsson's phones a bit difficult to handle, but this mobile is an example of great, rather than grisly physical design. The build materials and general design are lovely. A solid black and silver colour scheme adorned my review sample. This being Sony Ericsson it has the grand name of 'progressive black'. There are also 'cosmic silver' and 'energetic red' versions.

There is a stand on the back of the casing, which is beautiful in its simplicity. It's a silver flip-out loop that enables the phone to stand either horizontally or vertically. When flush to the handset it provides protection for the backplate's locking clasp.

The screen measures 2.6in diagonally and its 240 x 320 pixels are difficult to fault for sharpness and clarity. This is a comfy phone for the hand and pocket. It measures 97mm tall with the slide closed, 49mm wide, 15mm thick and it weighs 113g. With the slide up, I measured it at 125mm.

The slide action is very smooth, and the numberpad beneath it is nicely designed. The lozenge shaped keys are barely raised from the backplate, but they are very well spaced and feel comfortable under the fingers. Texting at my top speed was no problem.

With the numberpad out of sight, there are plenty of buttons on the front and sides to keep you happy. Two softkeys, Clear and Activity Menu keys, and Call and End keys sit on the front. The Activity Menu opens up access to tabbed windows that let you get to notifications, running apps, shortcuts (including those you add), and Internet features.

When you are playing music, the front navigation pad doubles up to provide playback control. There are side buttons that perform this function too, along with volume control, so you can fiddle with tunes when the phone has other stuff on its screen. I have to say I really like this old-fashioned button-based approach to music playback. It's so much easier to find the controls while the phone is in your pocket than it is when using a touchscreen.

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June 12, 2009, 12:09 pm

>>Sony Ericsson has finally decided to show us it knows what a 3.5mm headset jack is

And there was much rejoicing!

Shame that we still need to use that horrible clunky proprietary connector if we want to do more than just listen. I've lost count of the number of times it's gotten stuck on something in my pocket.


June 12, 2009, 2:33 pm

How is the longevity on this model?

The last 3 SE phones I've had (including my current W910i) seem to have the same problem after 9-12 months of use. Every so often the screen goes black, backlight and vibration switch on and a red led glows on the casing (position varies by phone). Only way to solve is to remove the battery (although on the K800i did this and the phone died completely).

This is a shame as I generally prefer the SE phones to the other offerings on the market.


June 12, 2009, 6:28 pm

@Blademrk: The stability of my W910i was greatly improved by installing the latest firmware. If you haven't already, download it using the update feature on the phone or download the update utility on your PC.

Tim Sutton

June 13, 2009, 2:01 am

Hmm. I wasn't convinced about touchscreens, but I've had my i8510 for a while now, and I could never go back to a keypad.

I mention this because to my eyes now this phone looks so old fashioned I wouldn't even consider it, whereas when I was choosing my last handset the S-E offerings were top of my list, and only the larger screen persuaded me to go for the Samsung.

Sandra, I agree with you! Time for S-E to retire this whole line.

Tim Sutton

June 13, 2009, 3:05 am

My previous was really badly phrased, I meant to say that when last I upgraded a touchscreen wasn't an issue.. when next I upgrade, it'll be a must.


June 14, 2009, 8:55 pm

If I might ask, does this phone have a quick and easy way to skip through long mp3's? Or do you have to hold the fast forward for quite a long time?

Dan Healy

July 22, 2009, 3:26 pm

I was with my friend just the other day when his touchscreen phone completely failed on him - an example of over engineered, over the top technology (just because we can) actually downgrading what should be a simple piece of equipment - the phone was now totally useless and as an employee for a betting company who has to place bets for pundits, it was an obvious disaster. Good on SE for not joining the naieve touchscreen bandwagon.


August 8, 2009, 6:39 am

does anyone know how well the buttons have been made?

the last SE phone i had was the W580 and these buttons weren't designed well and kept breaking, i also am aware that the newer W595 buttons done the same. so im wondering if the buttons on the W995 are the same or if SE have changed the design? as this is one of the things that put me off buying the w595 and also put me off purchasing the w995.

Andrew H

October 14, 2009, 5:45 pm

The SE W995 is a beautifully made phone, the music player in my opinion is the best there is, it has some excellent function such BBC i player and you tube, GPS, Wi Fi and 3G, a dedicate headphone socket and a decent camera so why does it come with a battery that barely last a day before it needs charging, and that’s if you only make or answer a couple of calls. If you were to use any of its impressive function like the i player you will be lucky to get a couple of hours out of the battery before it needs to be recharged.

I could spend days listening to the Walkman on my old W890i , now I need an in car charger a power monkey and the standard house charger if I am going away for the weekend. Its so ridicules that I rang up Orange my provider and the gentleman on the other end of the line said ‘yes I’ve got one of those and the battery life is rubbish’ so that was not very helpful, he suggested that I contact SE and complain.

Anyway good phone apart from the battery, has anyone else had battery problems? Or have I genuinely got a duff battery.


February 14, 2010, 4:53 pm

this will be my next phone. used one in an o2 shop recently seemed very good. I currently have an HTC diamond touch. Battery life is awful, touchscreen is terribly slow for texting and it crashes all the time. Hopefully the W995 will be better (not difficult)

Ala Miah

July 2, 2010, 2:37 pm

I have fall out of love with touchscreen phones and esp the iphone. its nothing more than a fancy gagdet that gets boring after a while.

I'm thinking of downgrading to this.


July 11, 2010, 2:49 am

I love my w995, do any touchscreen fanatics not miss those tactile buttons?

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