Amidst the slew of new mobiles being launched by Sony Ericsson is the W960i Walkman mobile phone. Glowing in a stylish black with white trimmings, the W960i has a relatively huge screen, promising lots of stylus tapping moments.
So far, only the LG Prada and LG Viewty come close to competing with the much hyped touch based Apple iPhone. Now you can add the W960i to this shortlist and even then, they are not fully touch screen like the iPhone. In our opinion, for a touch screen interface to succeed, screen 'real estate' is crucial and Sony Ericsson got off to a good start here by having a relatively large 2.6-inch TFT screen capable of displaying vibrant and sharp images.
The next point to consider is the actual user interface. The one on the W960i is quite intuitive and easy to master, but that's only half the solution. The other aspect, the responsiveness of the touch screen can be spotty at times. It is further exacerbated by the packed layout of the icons. For instance, the icons for the main menu screen were all lined up closely one after another, giving little leeway for us to 'poke' the right icons. And this is despite the handy stylus included by Sony Ericsson for input and navigation.
In fact, so frustrating was the accuracy of the touch interface that even though the W960i has a rather cluttered and flat keypad that's not really friendly to our fingers, we still preferred it over the touch screen version. If not for the physical buttons to fall back on, text messaging would have been a real nuisance.
Hence, we had this nagging feeling that Sony Ericsson incorporated a stylus (at the top left corner) for the W960i mobile because they knew how difficult it would be to peck at its cramped icons with bare fingers. After all, the W960i is not a PDA or Pocket PC where a stylus is a must.
Being part of the Walkman series, the W960i has up to 8GB of onboard memory to carry around your favorite audio and video files. That's more than sufficient storage for the average user and reflecting its multimedia bent, the W960i has dedicated touch keys for music playback, like play/stop and fast-forward. The availability of a jog dial on the left edge of this phone also enables consumers to scroll through tracks and playlists quickly.
Battery life was quite decent as we were able to pack in close to 2 days worth of text messaging, audio enjoyment and a couple of phone calls before we got the low battery life warning. When we tried the mobile in different surroundings, call quality was excellent with little to no interference. In addition, a variety of connectivity options are offered, including 3G, GPRS and Bluetooth.
Only available at the moment in Vinyl Black, the Sony Ericsson W960i is really a jack of all trades that has its fair share of drawbacks as mentioned here. Sony Ericsson has constantly strived for innovative industrial designs and it has largely succeeded with the good looking W960i. We just aren't too sure about its touch interface yet, especially compared to the alternatives. With its solid, candy bar design and host of features, we believe that it should appeal to image obsessed executives who have laser pointer like accuracy when it comes to manipulating a stylus.