Out toddle Sony Ericsson, LG, Nokia and Motorola.
With this in mind there is little other place we can start than Sony Ericsson. Sadly, we’ve already brought you news of everything that was displayed pre-CeBIT but I couldn’t resist the chance for a bit of a grope.
Easily the biggest talking point was the W950i. First unveiled at 3GSM last month, I can confirm that it looks every bit as good in the flesh as it did in the publicity shots. The outer casing is completely smooth and while some buttons depress like a typical handset others are touch sensitive like the iPod scroll wheel.
Navigation is snappy either via the keypad or touchscreen and sound quality is superb with the 4GB of integrated flash memory really putting it forward as a genuine nano beater. If I have a gripe it is Sony Ericsson’s confusing decision not to include a digital camera and a representative I spoke with said numerous other visitors had quizzed him on this very issue. “It’s still only a prototype, a lot could change before release” he said hopefully but without any real sense of commitment.
Also making a much vaunted public appearance was the W810i, the ever so slightly tweaked version of the company’s uber popular W800i. Again we first got sight of this before CeBIT back in January and, like its forebear, it feels a high quality product. The screen resolution (176 x 220) feels a little low compared to all the fantastic 320 x 240 and 620 x 240 displays doing the rounds but this is a phone due on the market any moment, not in six months time.
Now if the W950i has a spiritual brother it most certainly is the M600i. The focus here may be towards business but the format, touchscreen and smooth finishes were certainly conceived together and both lack integrated cameras.
Again this was a lovely phone to navigate, the 320 x 240 screen being a particular highlight. I’m not overly sold on the two way rocker keys, however, as they seem rather fiddly. Typing this ‘hello how are you’ message took about five times longer than with traditional T9 text input and though I’m sure speed will increase greatly with practice it may have been better to simply make smaller dedicated buttons for each letter.
It was also worth taking a peak at the feature packed P990i. I previewed this back in October but it was still causing quite a stir on the booth. Surprisingly, it felt much more portable in hand than I had expected and the build quality of the keypad flap is much better than on previous editions.
The monster 2.8in QVGA screen is also a delight and, though clearly targeted at the modern business user a two megapixel cameraphone has made it into the mix. Lighter solutions may be in the pipeline (such as Motorola’s Q and Samsung’s SGH-i320 but neither of these models were anywhere to be seen at CeBIT which suggests an extreme wait before arrival. If you need an all-in-one solution to do the job now, this should be it.