There are equaliser settings, though not many. A treble boost, setting for voice, while bass boost and mega bass augment the ‘normal’ setting. They did affect music playback, and you can make and save a single user setting, but there aren’t as many presets as I’d like.
SonyEricsson’s headset is two-piece, proprietary to the handset and with a 3.5mm connector about a third of the way along. My Sennheiser PX-200 headphones improved the audio quality over the bundled in-ear headphones. It’s a pity there are no playback controls on the proprietary half of the headset. I’d have thought a handset with music playback at its core would have these as a matter of course.
There is 20MB of on board memory, which simply isn’t enough for anyone who likes mobile music. Memory expansion is possible via Sony MemoryStick Duo cards and you get a 512MB card with the handset. That’s reasonably generous, though nowhere near the capacity of dedicated music players.
You can get tracks onto the handset by one of three methods. Copy them into the relevant folder of the MemoryStick Duo using a card reader, attach handset to PC and drag and drop, or use SonyEricsson’s Disc2Phone software, which can convert bit rates on the fly. I can’t help not liking the software very much, but it does its job well enough.
MP3 and AAC formats are both supported, but not WMA, not Ogg Vorbis and nothing that is DRM protected.
To round off the audio support there is an FM radio with RDS and 20 presets. I found this a very handy thing to have around during the testing period. Put simply, all mobiles should have an FM radio.
Overall as a music phone the W810i has some good points, such as all that memory and the ease with which you can access it, the dedicated Walkman button and playback controls, and the ability to turn the handset on without activating GSM – choosing either to ‘Start Phone’ or go into ‘Music only’ mode.
Good though these feature are, oversights like the absence of playback controls on the headset and an average range of equaliser settings pull this phone down.