That 8.1-megapixel camera brings this Walkman phone up to the best of what the Cyber-shot range currently has on offer. The camera here suffers from having only an LED flash and not a Xenon one, but other than that, there are plenty of features including smile detection, face detection, and BestPic. This is a camera to be taken seriously, then.
Image quality is very good. The coloured dish photographed indoors under normal household lighting is sharp and bright. The chair was photographed on a very gloomy day, its detailing is good. The poppy shows off the camera’s macro mode very nicely, and colour reproduction is accurate. There is also a front camera for two-way video-calling.
The multimedia and other extras are plentiful. I’ve already noted that both Wi-Fi and GPS are built in, but there’s also the BBC iPlayer, which offers both catchup TV and live streaming. Watching this or video over the YouTube client isn’t always great on the small screen as rendering is often blocky and not entirely smooth, and you can’t read captions such as those on the BBC’s news channel. But if you are in a fix it’s nice to have the options here. An accelerometer caters for automatic screen rotation in some applications including the iPlayer.
There is an FM radio, Sony Ericsson’s TrackID, PhotoDJ, VideoDJ and MusicDJ, sound recorder, messaging including email, alarms, calendar, tasks manager, notes taker, timer, stopwatch, and calculator. There’s also a range of services that take advantage of the built-in GPS including Google Maps; Tracker for recording routes travelled, for example during training; NearMe, which will find various venues and resources near your current location, and Wayfinder point-to-point navigation.
Yes, I’ve seen it all before – well except that welcome 3.5mm headphone jack, but I can’t help liking the W995. It is not exactly a revolution, but with GPS, Wi-Fi, excellent music playback and control, and a decent camera, it’s certainly a feature-rich handset – one that’s also well-built and relatively easy-to-use. The screen is a little on the small size to take full advantage of the available video streaming services, but its quality is good. Just remains to be seen if the W995 is a good place for the ‘W’ branding to take its final bow.