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.