There is just 16MB of memory built in, which is paltry for any phone that has pretensions as a music player. But Sony Ericsson has included a 1GB Memory Stick Micro card. The slot is on the lower left edge of the phone but you can’t get to it when the headphones or mains power adaptor are plugged in. There is no FM radio this time around.
The W880i is a Tri-band GSM and 3G handset with a front facing camera for video calling. The back facing camera shoots stills at resolutions up to 2-megapixels, lacks flash, auto-focus and a self portrait mirror and I found it rather disappointing.
My standard reference photo of the coloured dish shot under ordinary household lighting, lacks brightness and definition and looks washed out. Outdoor shots also failed to give very good colour reproduction, and the camera didn’t seem able to capture much detail despite photos being taken at the Fine rather than Normal quality setting.
Photos look OK on the phone, though, and you can switch to showing them in landscape mode with a simple press of a soft-menu key, to take full advantage of the available screen size.
This is handy as while the screen displays 240 x 320 pixels, manages 262,000 colours and is vibrant and sharp, it is rather small at just 1.8 diagonal inches.
I took advantage of T-Mobile’s Web’n’walk service to test the Web browser. You can view pages full screen, send the screen to landscape format, and opt for text only as well as zooming. Bookmarks are automatically created and there is an RSS feed reader.
Zooming is particularly clever. Once you’ve chosen the zoom option from the right soft-menu you use the navigation button to zoom in an out of a page at 10 per cent increments. This is much more user friendly than choosing a text size from menus – it requires minimal buttons presses to get things just how you like them.
The rest of the software includes mobile email, sound recorder, alarm clock, calendar, calculator, contact manager, notes taker, stopwatch, task manager and timer. You get a USB data cable, PC synchronising software and Sony Ericsson’s Disc2Phone software for music transfer.
Battery life was rather disappointing for a phone that has pretensions to replace your mobile music player. It gave me five and a quarter hours of continuous music from a full charge, which is pretty poor. Equally bad, the low battery warning came just ten minutes before the battery died which doesn’t give you much time to find mains power.
I wanted to like the W880i because it looks so stunning. But in the end I think it’s too thin for its own good.