Sony Ericsson can fairly be said to be milking the Walkman brand for all it is worth, with Walkman phones aimed at different prices and targeting those who like different styles of phone. One such Walkman phone is the W705 – a slider aimed at the upper end of the mid-range scale. At a little under £300 SIM-free this phone is hardly a bargain buy so it has to offer plenty of goodness.
On the specifications front we have Wi-Fi – still something of a rarity for Sony Ericsson and a welcome addition here. The phone is a 3G handset with HSDPA and it has a front-facing camera for two-way video calling. There is no GPS though. A second iteration of this phone, the W715, which is exclusive to Vodafone in the UK, adds that particular feature in. The W705 will geotag photos, but like other handsets that offer this feature and lack a GPS antenna, it does so via mast triangulation, so the results aren’t perfect.
The last slider I looked at from Sony Ericsson was the C905 which I found somewhat chunky. The W705 is a welcome change. It feels neat and comfortable in the hand and for me it looks stunning.
The casing is a mix of silver, gold and brown and the combination looks a lot nicer than you might think. A significant amount of the front fascia is brushed aluminium, with gold trim around the navigation button, its central select button and the phone’s edges. The backplate is brown with a gold Walkman logo. Under the slide, the numberpad is also brown with two columns of small gold circles separating the keys. The only real design gripe I have as far as looks are concerned is Sony Ericsson’s apparent need to use the Walkman branding three times!
Sony Ericsson often falls down on usability for me but here the company triumphs. The numberpad is flat but its keys are slightly bevelled and respond well under the fingers. The front button design uses the circles concept that Sony Ericsson often brings into play. Some buttons are small but a combination of raising some (Call and End, and the navigation button) and making others concave (the softmenu/activity button/clear keys) works really well.
The screen, too, delivers well. It is a 320 x 240 pixel TFT LCD measuring 2.5in. It is just large enough for effective web browsing and the screen flips as you turn the phone when browsing too. It also does this in some other, but not all, applications.