In terms of sound quality, music playback is very good, and there is plenty of volume from the built-in speakers. The greatest joy of this handset, though, has to be the fact that Sony Ericsson has finally decided to show us it knows what a 3.5mm headset jack is. There is one on the top edge of the casing.
What I don’t really understand is that the provided headset is Sony Ericsson’s usual two-piece affair that shares the same connector as mains power. Yes, this is awkwardly side-mounted, but at least there’s a through-port on the mains power adaptor so you can both charge and use the headset at the same time.
The two-piece headset has a 3.5mm connector just past the microphone so you can use your own set of headphones either in the microphone section or, of course, in the phone’s top-mounted jack. However, if you want to use just the supplied headphone part of the headset you might find things a little short. It gives you only 34cm of cable to the shortest bud, 66cm to the longest, so unless your top pocket is right on your shoulder this simply isn’t going to work. And even if it does, you can’t make hands-free calls without the microphone section.
Overall, then, this feels too much like a fudge for me to give it much praise. And considering the SIM-free price of this phone, a full set of inline music controls would have been nice too.
The dreaded ‘make myself look silly’ shake control is here too. You have to hold the Walkman button on the left edge of the handset then shake the phone towards or away from you to manage volume, and to the left and right to go forwards and back between tracks. I’ve never liked this system and don’t like it any more for seeing it yet again. With side buttons for these tasks, it seems totally redundant to me.
There is only 118MB of built-in memory, but Sony Ericsson provides an 8GB Memory Stick Micro card to boost that.