Sony Ericsson W760i review

4 stars
Having dominated the mobile music scene, the Walkman clan is now turning its hand to navigation with this new GPS-packing slider

Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phones have clearly realised that they can’t keep dining out on their music reputation alone. The new 5megapixel W902 delivered a sack of new toys for its owner to play with, and now the W760 brings a Sony Ericsson first: full-fat GPS.

Compared to the sleek W890i and W910i, the HSDPA-packing W760’s design looks a bit workaday on first impressions, but its slider mechanism is easily the best Sony Ericsson has engineered. It’s snappy but firm, and nicely compliments the solid torso. And with thumb-friendly keys all round alongside the intuitive Sony Ericsson UI, this music phone is pleasing to handle and operate.

Sat-nav struggle

As the first Walkman blower to harbour an integrated GPS receiver, it makes a decent fist of navigating you from A to B. Sadly, unlike its Nokia Nseries rivals, our W760i struggled to lock onto a GPS signal from a cold start and occasionally lost it in ‘urban canyon’ areas. But, once connected, its performance was generally very steady.

Google Maps are onboard for basic location-based features, while a three month trial to the highly proficient Wayfinder Navigator 7 is poised for those who like their navigation with features such a turn-by-turn voice instructions (subscriptions for UK and Ireland regions cost £40 for 12 months or £48 for three).

The Walkman’s range’s photographic skills have always taken a back seat to music but, even by their standards, the W760 disappoints with its lack of attention to detail. While it harbours a competent 3.2megapixel snapper, it’s still bereft of the mods – namely autofocus and any kind of flash – needed to make it a serious camphone contender.

Sound of music

Although the iPhone has usurped the Walkman clan as the best sounding music phone, their audio performance is still fantastically dynamic. However, Sony Ericsson still insists on bundling a 3.5mm headphone adapter instead of integrating the socket, so you’re in danger of garrotting yourself with a tangle of wires.

And, like the W580i and W910i before it, this Walkman flirts with those gimmicky and perhaps superfluous shake music controls.

These accelerometer sensors work far better in a gaming context with the embedded 3D Need for Speed Pro Street game letting you control the car by using the phone in landscape mode just like a steering wheel. It’s actually highly playable and good fun with the sensors surprisingly responsive and accurate to your movements, no matter how slight.

Despite the sometime flaky GPS performance, the W760i right now ranks as the one of the most feature-rich handsets in the Walkman family. But it’s still not accomplished enough to prise the gorgeously slim W890 from our pockets.

 

says

Sony Ericsson W760i

Solid rather than spectacular, this Walkman slider is a fine all-rounder in search of an identity
4 stars
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