Sony Ericsson W380i in-depth review -

Look and feel

Available in four vibrant colours, this clamshell is a tad heavier than it looks. And the shell feels a little plastic.

Features

A 1.3-megapixel camera, built-in music player and FM radio. The W380 also boasts the novel gesture control, PlayNow and TrackID.

Ease of use

The W380 sticks to the usual Sony Ericsson formula, with a simple hold of the back button returning you to the main screen. The gesture control works with a simple swipe of the hand above the motion sensor.

Performance

The 1.9-inch screen is a little small, especially in camera mode when the image is battling for space with menu icons. The music qualities are as expected, exemplary.

Battery life

The W380 offers a commendable battery life with 420 minutes' talktime and 300 hours' standby.

 Sony Ericsson W380i Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:52:07 PM

6

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

8

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

The OLED external screen gives the W380 a novel factor as does the Gesture control feature.

Cons:

The 1.9-inch screen is too miserly, particularly in camera mode when the image is jostling for space with other icons.

Mobile Choice takes its carbon footprint seriously. Manufacturers get brownie points when a phone arrives packaged in a sensibly sized box. So when the Sony Ericsson W380i arrived compactly packaged, the handset was already off to a good start, but did our opinion dwindle upon further inspection?

 

Sony Ericsson W380i – clamshell Walkman

Sony Ericsson has been shipping out Walkman phones left, right and centre in recent months, but it has been a couple of years since we’ve seen a clamshell version of the popular music phone range. Available in one of four colours, including the baffling black-orange, the W380i is a little heavier than it looks, with a degree of thumb pressure needed to flip the phone open.

 

Open the phone up to reveal the keypad and a small screen. All the usual Sony Ericsson controls are found here, including the navigation wheel, back button and cancel button. Under the navigation wheel is the internet key, the on/off button and the shortcuts menu. You may need a steady hand to hit these, but the rest of the keys are large and well spaced out.

 

Sony Ericsson W380i – OLED screen

While the W380i may not be the highest specced of the Walkman range, it does boast some decent features. We should also mention that on the front of the handset is an OLED screen that switches on and off depending if the handset is in use or not.

 

Underneath the display are three Braille-like symbols that act as the media player’s controls when the clamshell is closed. You can skip and pause tracks by pressing the relevant buttons, which will give a short vibration to acknowledge a response. The OLED screen displays the time as well as the radio frequency.

 

While Sony Ericsson has boxed the W380i with a pair of 3.5mm headphones, somewhat bizarrely, there is no 3.5mm jack port so you will need to use the supplied adapter. The radio can be played via loudspeaker, but the aforementioned adapter would still need to be plugged in to get reception. We were pleased with the quality of the radio even when the phone was in transit.

 

Sony Ericsson W380i – gesture control

Another novel feature of the W380i is its gesture control. Switch this feature on and you can silence incoming calls or snooze alarm clocks by passing the palm of your hand above the sensor, which is found just below the camera lens. It works a treat, although it’s difficult to justify that a simple silence key wouldn’t be more apt.

 

While we are fans of the W380i’s gimmicks, we found the 1.9-inch screen a hindrance when using the 1.3-megapixel camera. With icons at the top and bottom of the screen, the image you are capturing only fills around two thirds of the screen. The same issue arose when surfing the web, with limited content being shown at a time. For this reason we suggest using the full screen option.

 

Sony Ericsson W380i – the verdict

With the Sony Ericsson Walkman conveyor belt in full pelt, it’s refreshing to see the manufacturer keeping things new. With its gesture control, OLED screen and funky colour schemes, the W380i is likely to appeal more to a younger audience than the early adopter. The internal screen is a tad small but overall the Sony Ericsson W380i is no runt.