Sony Ericsson's latest Walkman phone matches smart looks with improved sound. Can it outdo the classic W890i?
While flagship Walkman phones like the W995 are busy packing in features like A-GPS, an 8MP camera and, whisper it, a 3.5mm headphone jack, their mid-range siblings are focusing instead on improving their ‘look’.
A good example of this is the W705. While far from an all-out fashion phone, its steel facia and fetching gold trim looks smart in the vein of the excellent W890i.
Fake plastic keys
Its slider action is robust and spring loaded, but sadly the overly plasticky keypad does let the side down. It’s perfectly fine to use but just feels incredibly tacky under the thumb.
Still, with the latest generation 3.0 player and Clear Audio Experience audio technology installed, the Walkman range has never sounded better.
We’ve already heard it in action with the W980 and W902 and the new streamlined but dynamic audio sounds impressively measured and lucid for a music phone, even through the above average supplied earphones.
Of course it’s going to sound even better with your quality cans hooked up and while there’s no integrated 3.5 headphone socket, an adapter is on hand to accommodate your own pair.
A 4GB Memory Stick Micro is also bundled to stockpile around 1,000 average-sized MP3 tunes but it’s a shame Sony Ericsson couldn’t stretch to an 8GB card, which is especially handy if you like your music encoded at higher bit rates.
The W702 also comes with the usual quirky Walkman accoutrements like ‘Shake control’ to shuffle and skip tracks, SensMe mood playlist creation and the excellent TrackID music recognition.
Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) is also on the menu for adventures in wireless streaming while a capable FM radio completes its comprehensive line-up of music mods.
After seeing the W902 hit the 5MP mark and give the Walkman series a Cyber-shot sheen, the W702’s fixed focus 3.2MP camera feels like a kick in the teeth. The disappointment is fuelled further by a poor LED light and, with no built-in GPS, you’re beholden to ballpark Cell-ID to geotag your photos.
On a positive note, the W705 surprisingly features Wi-Fi so web browsing skips along if you fall outside an HSDPA signal. The W705 has also been fitted with an above average sized 2.4in QVGA-quality display, so web surfing is manageable.
It’s hard not to be distracted by the incoming W995, but the W705 is a superb Walkman phone thanks to its stylish design and added Wi-Fi wings. And despite some feature shortfalls we think it’ll be as popular as the ubiquitous W910 and W890.
Sony Ericsson W705 review
A stylish, highly accomplished and great-sounding music phone. Just don’t expect it to take great photos