The Activity menu is a staple of Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones and with it you can view alerts such as missed calls, access web bookmarks, close or jump to running applications and access a bevy of user defined shortcuts.
This is all good stuff, and it makes getting around all that is built into the Sony Ericsson W850i a breeze if you are prepared to personalise things to your liking. It can, though, all seem a little complex at first.
If you are wondering about the camera at this point a button on the right side of the phone launches it and also shoots photos while the volume rocker on the same side doubles for zooming. The clear and bright 240 x 320 pixel screen pops into landscape mode while you are using the camera. There is a front facing camera for video calls.
The main camera has a maximum image resolution of two megapixels, and there is a maximum 2.5x digital zoom. A self portrait mirror and LED flash unit sit next to the camera lens on the back of the phone.
The camera took reasonable, though far from exceptional, images. My standard reference photo – the coloured dish, shot indoors under ordinary household overhead lighting looks rather washed out. Photos taken outdoors were generally more vibrant, and all round colour capture was good.
The cat’s apricot colouring did not fade to a pinkish hue as it often does with mobile phone cameras. In addition the camera managed to capture fairly good shots of a moving object – again the cat is my example.
Disconcertingly, immediately after pressing the shutter button, the on-screen ‘freeze frame’ images of her were often blurred, but when the screen resolved to show the image that had actually been saved, blurring was often minimal and sometimes non existent.
Battery life has to be great in any phone that claims to replace a separate music player. I’d say eleven hours and twenty minutes of continuous music from a full charge is pretty good for a mobile phone, but a separate dedicated music player will almost certainly better it.
When you tire of listening to music the built in FM radio can provide an alternative. You need to plug in Sony Ericsson’s headset to listen to the radio as it contains the FM antenna. The good news is that you don’t need to use Sony Ericsson’s earbuds. While these felt comfortable enough to wear, I found that by unplugging them from the 3.5mm jack just past the microphone, and using my own preferred stereo headphones I could improve sound quality.