Beneath the scroll wheel is a superb back button. Short presses cycle back through screens, a long press takes you straight back to the home screen.
On screen tappable icons are often simply too tiny to hit accurately with a finger. Just one example are the three buttons for quick access to the repeat, shuffle, and equaliser features on the main screen of the music player. You need fingernail precision or the provided stylus to hit any of these accurately. The real annoyance is that there is room within the screen design to have made all three much larger.
Some icons are lodged so far into the corners of the screen that I almost wonder if Sony Ericsson is having some kind of a joke at my expense, or, a less paranoid thought, if they had done much usability testing.
I’ve not yet come across a phone that can replace my Sansa e280 (Gordon reviewed the very similar but lower specced e260) and had wondered if the W950i might be it. It isn’t.
Nor, I think, is it likely to wow existing fans of Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones. This leaves smartphone fans wanting good music playback as a possible target. Smartphone fans can be demanding customers, and the difficult user interface, poor battery life for music playback and fiddly number pad may do the W950i no favours in meeting their needs.
This is all a bit of a shame. I am in no doubt that UIQ is a strong operating system. If you are prepared to put the effort in and learn how all the little twiddles work, then the W950i is a capable, competent and ultimately useful phone. However, there are a lot of irritations and I just don’t think many people will be prepared to put in the effort.
The W950i’s 4GB hard drive is a lure but it is overly complicated by a poor user interface, which won’t satisfy either music or smartphone fans.
Score in detail
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